[gatekeepers, be gone: why we need to support informed consent clinics]

Here, in Chicago, trans* individuals can gain access to hormones through a relatively simple 3-step “informed consent” process at Howard Brown Health Center. For that, we are lucky.

More and more, I’m finding accounts of trans individuals who have been held back by various gatekeepers, making them jump through hoops for months (or years) before providing them access to hormones, based on the antiquated WPATH “Standards of Care”. While the intentions of the SoC were good, they end up preventing individuals from receiving the medical attention they need. Furthermore, by adding the additional costs associated with following the SoC verbatim, transition becomes something that only the well-off can pursue.

It’s just not right.

With so many obstacles in the way, it’s no wonder that so many trans people self-medicate (which can be extremely unsafe without a doctor’s supervision) or forgo transition entirely, feeling like it’s something that is beyond their means. The fact that many insurance companies exclude coverage for transition-related costs makes the gatekeeper-ism that much more of a challenge to these vulnerable individuals.

I think we, as a community, need to highlight the existing informed consent clinics available across the US, letting those contemplating transition know that this is more attainable than they may have thought. And areas without a clinic? Raise awareness of the demand for such a clinic in that area.

By trade, I specialize in search engine marketing/digital marketing, and I’d like to offer my services to any IC clinic that can use additional local awareness, free of charge. Any clinic that might be interested in this can reach me at callmeparkermarie@gmail.com.

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