ASHEVILLE, N.C . — The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) released an updated and expanded version of “Trans in the South: A Guide to Resources and Services” to help transgender Southerners access the medical and legal services they need. The new edition features an independently-vetted directory of more than 400 transgender-friendly service providers — including primary care doctors, attorneys, counselors, endocrinologists and more — across 13 Southern states. The guide is available in English and Spanish online.
According to 2016 data published by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, approximately 500,000 transgender individuals live in the South. But many transgender Southerners report experiencing barriers to accessing basic services and a lack of respect, dignity and understanding in medical settings. Nationally, data suggests that approximately 25 percent of transgender people do not seek healthcare at all because of a fear of discrimination.
Ivy Gibson-Hill, CSE community health program director, said, “We know that trans folks face disparities in nearly every sphere of life, but in health care particularly. Finding a doctor or attorney who will treat you with dignity and respect can be a really overwhelming task as a Southern trans person. The ‘Trans in the South’ guide is a joint effort by trans leaders across the South to increase our community’s access to competent care and make it easier to find friendly providers and resources.” Last month the Southern LGBTQ Health Initiative, a collaboration between CSE and Western North Carolina Community Health Services, released a report that captured transgender and non-binary Southerners’ experiences accessing healthcare. The report featured conclusions from the Trans Health Focus Group Project, which included the voices of nearly 50 transgender and non-binary individuals from six Southern states. The report provides qualitative data on the many roadblocks trans Southerners face when seeking healthcare.
CSE Executive Director Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara said, “We are working toward a South where transgender people can access their basic human rights — including their rights to healthcare and legal protections — without leaving their hometowns, no matter where they live. Our recommendations from the Trans Health Focus Group can create long-term, desperately-needed change for trans Southerners. Until that day comes, we’ll keep creating resources like the Trans in the South guide to create bridges into the care, services and support people need and deserve.”