Ramona Peel, Lead Trainer and Trans Patient Navigator, The Equitas Health Institute for LGBTQ Health Equity
Today, March 31, is the 9th annual Transgender Day of Visibility. This commemoration was launched in 2009 by trans activist Rachel Crandall in an attempt to provide a positive, affirming day for trans and gender non-conforming people. Visibility is a key ingredient in the battle for trans rights – Study after study has shown that people who personally know LGBTQ people are more likely to support laws that protect people from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. According to a 2016 survey by Human Rights Campaign, 35 percent of likely voters personally knew or worked with a trans person – This represented an enormous increase from 17 percent in 2014.
It’s important to remember, however, that this day isn’t just for those of us with a binary identity. This day is for everyone whose gender identity doesn’t align with their sex assigned at birth – including those who are genderfluid, genderqueer, or agender. Non-binary people face a unique set of challenges – Their identities are often not seen as valid, even within the LGBTQ community. This can include arbitrary dismissal of their pronouns, among other things.
Legal and social progress that benefits binary trans folks doesn’t always help non-binary people either. Those who don’t want a gender marker on their birth certificates or identification, for example, face an uphill legal battle right now. Public restrooms and other gendered accommodations also present constant stress to our non-binary brethren. Even in health care settings that are affirming of binary trans identities, often those same providers are resistant to working with non-binary patients on a treatment program that will help them reach their goals and live more authentic lives.
Here at Equitas Health, we provide primary care, behavioral health care, and transgender care (via an informed consent model – You don’t need a letter from a therapist or counselor to start HRT at our clinic), and we do so in a non-binary affirming manner. Our slogan is “Care For All.” We also believe in the principle that no one can know your gender better than you do. Our mission is to help ALL of our trans and gender non-conforming clients get the care they need in an atmosphere that is safe, welcoming, and affirming. If you’d like more information on our Transgender Health Program, please contact our Trans Patient Navigator Ramona Peel at firstname.lastname@example.org.