medical stethoscope with red paper heart on white surface

Affirming medical care is a human right.

I don’t know anyone that enjoys going to the doctor. It can be hard to talk about difficult or embarrassing things with a complete stranger. That is why it’s so important to find the right doctor. You need an ally who knows how to care for LGBTQIA+ patients. If you trust a doctor, you will be more open and honest with them. You will also get better care.

So how do you find affirming medical care? Start by contacting your closest Pride Center. They will probably have a list of all the local resources available to you. Word of mouth is another great way to find affirming care. So talk to other people in the LGBTQ+ community. If you don’t know anyone, you might be able to go to a social mixer or other event sponsored by your local Pride Center or a local LGBTQ+ group. A lot of LGBTQ+ groups have Facebook pages. Just search for your city or town and LGBTQ+. If you are in a small town, try searching for your closest city. Join those online groups and ask a lot of questions. Another option is to find your nearest Planned Parenthood. According to the Planned Parenthood website, they are “proud to stand with the LGBT community and provide a safe and welcoming place to get health care and information”. They provide general medical care and care specifically for LGBTQIA+ folks, including hormone therapy for transgender patients, service referrals, information about LGBTQIA+ resources, and support groups.

Take your time finding the right doctor for yourself or a loved one. If something seems off, trust your instincts. Don’t make the mistake of continuing to go to someone who doesn’t listen to you or makes you uncomfortable. Also, pay attention to how the office staff treats you- not just the doctor. You can and will find affirming care. Here are a few websites to help you get started.

  • The GLBT National Resource Database– Go here to find LGBTQ+ resources in your community. Put in your zip code and when you get the list of results, scroll down to the “Health” section for a list of clinics and doctors. If there isn’t a “Health” section listed for your area, you should be able to find contact information for your nearest Pride Center in the “Community Center” section. Call the Pride Center and ask for recommendations.
  • Planned Parenthood– Locate your nearest Planned Parenthood. If it is too far away for you to travel, call and ask if they know of an LGBTQIA+ affirming provider or clinic closer to you.
  • Search Google for an LGBTQ+ clinic near you. Just go to Google and type “clinic near me AND lgbtq” in the search box. Look for the results under the advertisements. This is where you will find local resources. Hopefully!
  • Search Facebook for local LGBTQ+ groups. Just type in the name of your town or city and LGBTQ. If you don’t find anything, type in the name of a larger city that is closer. Also, try searching for “LGBTQ near me” or “trans near me”. Then filter your results to “Pages” or Groups”. Join the groups and ask for help.
  • World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has a provider directory to help locate transgender affirming medical care. When searching the directory, enter your country and state and scroll through the results. I did a spot check of some of the providers mentioned, and the ones I checked appeared to be affirming because they had written medical papers about affirming care.