The grant will give 21 transgender people access to hormone-replacement therapy and mental health services. (Photo Credit: bongkarn via Adobe Stock)

This past November 17, the Charlotte Transgender Health Group, also known as Charlotte Transhealth/CTHCG, received a COVID-19 Access To Care Grant.

Then-president of CTHCG Holly Savoy, confirmed the initiative allowed the non-profit organization to provide 21 transgender individuals who were unable to receive hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) or mental health services to obtain their needed healthcare. The beneficiaries received eighty sessions of mental health therapy and HRT prescriptions for 30 days.

Maks Gomez was hired by the Board of Directors at Charlotte Trans Health to administer the COVID Relief Access to Care Grant. His occupation as a massage therapist has made it challenging for him to conduct business while social-distancing. This, he said, is the same issue that has arisen for transgender individuals who intend on receiving gender-affirming healthcare during 2021.

Since CTHCG is a resource that University of North Carolina at Charlotte students have utilized, Gomez confirmed that providing HRT and accessing mental health therapy has been one of the primary focuses of CTHCG during the pandemic.

Recipients are required to have pre-existing prescriptions for HRT, as well as being over the age of eighteen (or having a guardian’s permission to participate in the program). Helping transgender individuals to obtain this initial physician visit is a major goal of Charlotte Trans Health. “For transgender youth who need HRT or mental health therapy,” Gomez said, “Charlotte Trans Health plans on working with TimeOutYouth in order to best coordinate the use of our resources.”

Currently, Charlotte Trans Health will not be accepting new applicants for the Access to Care Grant. This pilot program, a major triumph for the LGBTQ community, is functioning as a herald of further improvements and success. Charlotte Trans Health has also allocated funds to improve its website. This website will continue to function as a hub for transgender individuals in need of healthcare. It will also expand to work as a search engine with the names and contact information for properly vetted dentists, general physicians, massage therapists, dieticians, psychotherapists, voice coaches, and surgeons. A unique factor of having surgeons as a resource is that they are local Charlotteans who specifically perform gender-affirming operations.

Savoy spoke about the effect that Telehealth (an online service that provides virtual doctor’s visits) has had on modern care. She believes that it will alter the ways in which all individuals experience healthcare; particularly those, such as herself, who are healthcare professionals. Something else that sets CTHCG apart from other nonprofits is: all of the resources listed on the website are local. Added Savoy, “As much as Telehealth will change things, in-person care will never become obsolete.” This is especially true for those seeking surgeries, dentistry, or massage therapy.

The website will be updated by the end of April.

“We believe that trans healthcare is a human right,” Gomez confirmed. “It’s human healthcare. It’s something we’re passionate about in every facet. We use our platform to reach patients and to reach providers who are affirming.”

To donate to CTHCG, use Venmo (@cthcg), Paypal or Amazon Smile.

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