By Maryam Taheri, COO and co-founder of Brave Care
Transgender individuals, in particular, transgender teens, face significant barriers to healthcare and are impacted disproportionately when it comes to mental health, substance abuse, and attempted suicide. We know that these barriers exist due to both real and perceived stigma and discrimination. At present, healthcare by and large is failing the gender nonconforming community, especially transgender youth. According to a recent report from the Trevor Project, on in three transgender and nonbinary youth struggled to find proper mental health care, as they worried providers would not understand their identity. A 2017 study noted that among the LGBTQ community, transgender individuals have the highest suicide rate. Other research has indicated that transgender individuals frequently receive inadequate healthcare due to a lack of awareness, sensitivity and training in the medical community. Quite simply, safe, affirming and respectful medical care is crucial for the long term mental wellness of transgender youth, and we’re currently missing the mark as an industry.
While strides have been made, we still have miles to go to widespread, inclusive healthcare for transgender youth. Gender nonconforming kids today may have more supportive friends and family than generations past, but strong emotional support doesn’t circumvent the need for supportive, knowledgeable medical providers. Healthcare simply needs to do better. As and industry, there are a few key things we need to change systematically to better support trans youth.
- Increased access to care: What this really looks like is increasing the number of providers trained in trans medicine treatment and facilities offering transmedicine clinics.
- Improved training of physicians: We need to improve our physician training, especially for family medicine providers and pediatricians, to understand how to better support individuals and families.
These are only a few of the many barriers that we need to overcome to better support trans youth. At Brave Care our goal is to create a caring environment for all of our patients. We have put a number of efforts into place to better support trans youth.
- Pronouns: We have an inclusive environment where all of our providers visibly display their pronouns on name tags.
- Training: We constantly work with our providers to ensure up to date training in transmedicine, and are currently researching additional training opportunities for our providers through sister hospitals.
- Non-Gendered Bathrooms/Clinics:All of our clinics have non-gendered bathrooms, and we make sure that these are easily accessible.
These efforts are easy for us to implement and make a significant impact on the wellbeing of our patients. As we continue to grow and evolve, we are ensuring that our approach to creating an inclusive clinic is constantly improving. For many trans teens, having access to safe, inclusive medical and mental health care is truly life or death. The time for change is now, and the medical community has the power – and obligation – to lead the way into a positive future for all of our patients.
Maryam Taheri is the Chief Operating Officer at and a co-founder of Brave Care. Maryam has spent her professional career building products and services that people not only love, but want to use. She previously developed a pediatric EHR system with connected healthcare communities, as well as, medical devices in the chronic disease space. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her hanging out with her dogs, hiking, cooking, and baking.