A recent study published in Transgender Health documented treatments that allowed a trans woman to breastfeed her child. Given the existence of the journal, and the study, one would think that the field of medicine was finally catching up to society’s understanding of gender identity. Unfortunately, one would be wrong.
Dr. Tamar Reisman, who co-authored the study, tells Vice:
when it comes to transgender health, many patients “find it difficult to find providers locally who are knowledgeable.” She cited a 2016 study that found, through survey responses, that only 20 percent of endocrinologists were “very” comfortable discussing gender identity and/or sexual orientation with their patients; 41% felt “somewhat” or “very” competent in providing transgender care. And trans patients are often reticent to seek help from doctors that they view as unlikely to give them proper care. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of respondents reported not seeing a medical professional when they needed to for fear of mistreatment.
It appears that more research is happening, but is it enough? Insurance companies often don’t cover the procedures a transgender person needs. Advocacy and research can help, with an eye not just to medical but also to income inequality.