For Many Trans People, Telemedicine Is the Best Shot for Decent Health Care
Finding adequate health care can be a challenge for trans people. Telemedicine can help, but some trans medical needs still require an in-person visit.
For many trans people, access to health care is a fraught issue. Just finding a provider who has the cultural competence to respect trans patients’ identities and pronouns while providing basic health care can be a major struggle. Finding one who specializes in gender-affirming care — medical care that acknowledges and provides support for transgender people’s gender identities, and may include providing transition-related medical services like hormone replacement therapy and surgeries — is even more difficult.
The situation is even tougher for trans people in rural areas, where getting good health care can mean traveling for hours to the closest LGBTQ-focused health clinic — a hardship that’s much more difficult for low-income trans people who can’t afford to take a day off of work to see the doctor.
One possible solution? Telemedicine. As clinics across the country look to improve their trans-focused services, connecting with clients remotely has become increasingly appealing. At small queer-run clinics like QueerDoc and QueerMed, and more established clinics like Maine Family Planning, telemedicine has rapidly become a reliable way to connect trans people across the country to high-quality care from knowledgable providers who specialize in their community’s needs. Telemedicine startups are also taking note of the needs of trans patients. Although the sexual health telemedicine platform Nurx does not offer any trans-specific services, the organization works to make its birth control, STI testing, and PrEP offerings inclusive to people of all genders; Alpha Medical has a similar policy of inclusion. (Hers, another major telemedicine platform, did not respond when reached for comment for this story.)
“Telemedicine has the ability to raise the bar for the quality of trans health care by funneling care to people who know what they’re doing.”