Transgender and Searching for Good Health Care

US News & World Report

US News & World Report
By Lisa Esposito
September 30, 2015

Achim Howard, 45, a construction worker in the District of Columbia, always thought of himself as male, although he was born with female anatomy. For a long time, he says, “I didn’t even know what transgender was.”

Transgender people have bodies that don’t match the gender with which they identify. Some receive medical treatment to change their bodies. Howard has undergone transition treatment through Whitman-Walker Health, an early pioneer in LGBT health care. But this type of care can be hard to find. And if you’re transgender, even routine preventive care and treatments present challenges when providers don’t accept your identity.

About 700,000 Americans identify themselves as transgender, according to a 2011 estimate from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. “The transgender population is extremely varied, just like the general population,” says Dr. Raymond Martins, senior director of clinical education and training at Whitman-Walker. “But there are some health disparities that are more common, and other barriers to care that are more common in the transgender community.”

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