Last night I delightfully and enthusiastically watched queer youths express themselves through the art of drag at a safe space created by HEYO and Lifelong! What a trip- drag kings, drag queens, gender-fierce/gender-bending performers: MORE PLEASE. Being in such a fun, supportive, and safe space made me feel grateful for families and organizations that support queer youth. Gender expansive, gender diverse, and trans folx generally experience higher rates of homelessness, suicide, and trauma in combination with lower rates or income and healthcare accessibility when compared to their cis gender peers. While I experience significant privilege as a white person with a professional degree and a high earning potential, I have also experienced some of the challenges of poverty and discrimination in healthcare:
- Being unable to pay for recommended healthcare interventions
- Being judged by my healthcare providers
- Being incorrectly diagnosed and treated by my healthcare providers because of their judgments
At QueerDoc, I provide high-quality, patient-goal driven, individualized gender affirming care. I left traditional healthcare systems to follow my dream of providing care for my community because I felt those systems did not support the best model of care. Traditional insurance and healthcare systems ask physicians to see patients in 10, 15, 20, or rarely 30 to 40 minute intervals. Insurance systems then pay the provider what they deem appropriate not what the provider bills. In addition to that, physicians pay fees to be licensed with the insurance and jump through time consuming paperwork hoops to be paid. All of this works to limit the amount of time that the physician has to spend with patients. I believe high-quality, individualized gender affirming care takes time. When we work together, your consult lasts as long we need it. Initial consults average one to two hours; follow-ups one half to one hour; but we take longer if we need longer. We work together to clarify your gender affirming care needs and make sure you feel fully informed and confident. While not taking insurance is what allows me, as a provider, the freedom to offer you so much of my time, I recognize that this limits accessibility.
I want high quality gender affirming care to be accessible to everyone. I want our community to have a higher bar for our health care providers than just “treat me with respect.” I want us to expect our healthcare providers to not only treat us with respect but to also be experts in our healthcare needs. We should not have to educate them on how to provide gender affirming care. We should not be pigeon holed into a gender affirming care protocol that gives all trans people the same formulaic treatments. At QueerDoc, I get to be part of the change I want to see. I spend hours each week staying current on the latest advances in gender affirming care, educating other providers on gender affirming care, and advocating for our community in medical-legal settings. (And that’s just my professional endeavors; I am a non-binary identifying, high femme presenting queer person. My personal life also fills up with queer community building which is pretty darn cool.)
In order to advance this dream of more accessible, high quality care, I started QueerDoc. I do not accept insurance because I believe it compromises the quality of the care I provide. (Please notice these are “I statements” solely applicable to my practice of medicine and not gross statements about all healthcare providers). Currently, I am actively seeking ways to offer sliding scale and funding in order to increase access to care without compromising quality of care. My goal is to provide this by January 2019.