The TASME Mentorship Award 2021: Transgender and Non-binary Clinician Mentorship
I'm Jo, I’m queer and non-binary (pronouns they/them) and I’m a specialist registrar in genitourinary medicine and HIV in London. I’m excited to put in motion my vision for transgender and non-binary clinician mentorship, and grateful to TASME for this opportunity.
As trans and non binary (T/NB) people, we face daily struggles both within a healthcare context and in wider society. Barely a day seems to go by without a disparaging newspaper article or Twitter attack. Gender affirming healthcare has been stretched to the limit, with T/NB people facing down either multiple-year waits for first appointments, or bills of thousands of pounds to go private. Even working within the NHS, transgender staff report high levels of bullying and discrimination (Stonewall Trans Report, 2008).
Clinicians in primary and secondary care may be tempted to dismiss trans health issues as rare, and therefore not worth devoting precious learning-time to. After all, they may never have (knowingly) encountered a transgender person, either in a personal or professional context, nor encountered the issue on any medical curricula.
However, it’s a lot commoner than you may think: some estimates place the prevalence of gender non-conforming people in the UK as high as 0.3-1% (ONS 2015). If an average GP practice has a list size of 8000 patients, they could expect to have up to 80 patients who don’t identify within the gender binary - whether or not they then choose to make that known to their healthcare providers, change their recorded gender marker, or seek medical or surgical transition.
Working in London, I’ve been lucky to see some excellent examples of patient-centred care with transgender people, including tailored and inclusive sexual health services, and strong T/NB community leadership and engagement. I’m acutely aware that it’s not the case everywhere in the UK. So my project has a few aims:
To provide an informal support network for T/NB clinicians at all levels, all over the UK. We have had interest expressed in a wide number of fields, including doctors at both consultant/GP and training levels, medical students, physician associate, nursing, and ancillary staff.
Through this network of support, to raise the profile of T/NB people as successful members and leaders of the healthcare team, and make our everyday work interactions better - for example, name badges containing our pronouns, gender-affirming uniforms
To continue to provide effective, LGBT+-led transgender health education for our colleagues, so that everyone understands the importance of being a T/NB ally
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