Transgender Patients Should Be Welcomed in Ob-Gyn Practices

December 21, 2011

Obstetricians and gynecologists (ob-gyns) should be prepared to offer transgender patients routine screening and treatment, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College). A significant number of transgender people experience social harassment, discrimination, and rejection from family and society in general.

Obstetricians and gynecologists (ob-gyns) should be prepared to offer transgender patients routine screening and treatment, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College).1 A significant number of transgender people experience social harassment, discrimination, and rejection from family and society in general. The College is opposed to gender identity discrimination and fully supports both public and private health care coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder.1
    
Transgender persons are at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and physical abuse. There are also a significant number of transgender persons who are homeless, especially teenagers. Because the transgender community in general lacks access to health care, the health outcomes for this group are typically poor.
    
“Services that ob-gyns should be able to offer transgender patients include preventive care, Pap tests, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings, and hysterectomy for standard indications like heavy bleeding or pain,” says Eliza Buyers, MD, former member of The College’s Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women.1

The College suggests that ob-gyns can make their offices welcoming to transgender patients by asking patients their preferred name and pronoun, posting nondiscrimination policies, ensuring confidentiality, and offering sensitivity training for staff. The College believes these practices are indicators of acceptance and let patients know that they will be treated with dignity.

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References:

Reference
1. Committee opinion no. 512: health care for transgender individuals. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;118:1454.