Southwest Ohio Residents Have New Service Options for Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy

From The Buckeye Flame:

By Jen Kuhn
February 8, 2021

It is a sad reality that affirming and inclusive health care can be very limited for transgender and gender-nonconforming Ohioans. Many communities are underserved and patients may face discrimination or ignorance in a health care setting.

One organization in Southwest Ohio is working to change all that and provide their transgender residents with safer health care options.

Last October, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region (PPSWO) launched brand new gender-affirming hormone therapy services in four of their five health centers in the region. After overwhelmingly positive feedback from the initial 39 transgender patiences served, the organization is ready to welcome more.

To learn about these new services and how PPSWO supports trans and nonbinary patiences in an affirming way, The Buckeye Flame caught up with PPSWO’s President & CEO Kersha Deibel and their Medical Director Dr. Sharon Liner.

When people think of Planned Parenthood, they probably don’t immediately think of trans care. But in actuality, you’ve worked with transgender patients for decades. Can you tell us what trans care has looked like for you, and how this particular service came about?
Deibel: As health care providers, educators and advocates, Planned Parenthood for 90+ years has been committed to serving all people in our communities with care and respect. We are proud to provide sexual and reproductive health care and education to the transgender community across the country — including cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, birth control, and now, hormone therapy, as well as sex education that includes all identities and experiences.

We know that when people are truly cared for, they make their lives, their families, and their communities better and healthier. Transgender folks, like everyone else, have a fundamental need for quality health care and sex education, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Making our health centers a safe and supportive environment is valuable for all patients and we strive to make sure the gender identity of our transgender patients is acknowledged, respected and understood. This means creating an environment that affirms their gender identity, understanding and communicating the kinds of care they need and using inclusive language that acknowledges the full spectrum of gender identities.

And for any readers who may be unfamiliar, can you also briefly define hormone therapy and what that process is like?
Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT) is prescribing hormones to help a person develop characteristics that are more in line with their gender identity.  Our process at PPSWO is that all new patients who schedule for GAHT will first meet virtually with our patient navigator.  This allows us to gather all the information needed to assure that when they come into the health center to meet with the medical team, we can focus on the patient’s needs.  While this is what GAHT is at its core, there is so much more to assure that our patients all feel safe and represented in our centers as well as in all aspects of their lives.

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