SARASOTA (FOX 13) - Today, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida (PPSWCF) announced plans to expand their health services to include care for transgender patients who are transitioning. All 11 of the organization’s health centers will begin offering these new Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) services in October.
CEO of PPSWCF issued the following statement:
"For nearly 50 years, Floridians have relied on Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida for comprehensive reproductive health care and information, including life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, vasectomies, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, STD testing and treatment, and routine gynecological care. We are committed to providing high quality, expert health care regardless of race, income, geography, citizenship status or gender identity and expression. These new services will strengthen our ability to provide the Florida communities we serve with the essential health care services they need to be healthy and strong,"
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals often face challenges and barriers to accessing needed health services and, as a result, can more often experience worse health outcomes. Beyond the complications of filling out forms and staff members not understanding gender identity, health insurance coverage can be a major problem for transgender individuals as well.
One national survey found that of transgender people seeking health care, 28 percent were subjected to harassment in medical settings and 2 percent has been physically assaulted in doctor’s offices. 19 percent of gender-nonconforming individuals were outright refused medical care— that number is even higher for people of color. Many even decide not to seek out medical care when they are sick or injured due to discrimination.
"Many healthcare providers do not have the knowledge and understanding of transgender identities and some do not want to, creating an unwelcome space for transgender patients,” explains Gina Duncan, Equality Florida's Director of Transgender Inclusion. “Planned Parenthood will serve as a bridge for so many Floridians, providing critical services in a welcome environment that will allow thousands to feel safe accessing care as their authentic selves."
One in five American women has used Planned Parenthood’s services at some point in their life, and now even more people will have access to the healthcare they might otherwise go without.
For more information, visit plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-southwest-central-florida