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Having trouble finding a healthcare provider that gets you? You're not alone and the good news is there's help. (Dayana Morales Gomez)

Transgender healthcare: What to know before you hit the waiting room

Nelisiwe Msomi
Finding gender-affirming care can be tough but there are some tips and resources to help.

Navigating the road to gender-affirming care can be rough, confusing and complicated to say the least. Many medical aids don't cover the hormone replacement therapy and surgeries many transgender people need to feel like themselves — at least not without a fight, as we recently reported.

Finding a trans-friendly health practitioner can be a start and a challenge. We asked Ronald Addinall, University of Cape Town clinical social work lecturer, for tips on what to look out for when seeking medical attention. 

  1. Look for a healthcare provider who identifies as a trans-positive practitioner and has a known track record of experience in healthcare provision to transgender persons. 
  2. Join social media platforms where transgender people can ask for recommendations from the trans community.
  3. Contact existing transgender-focused organisations such as Gender DynamiX Triangle Project; Transgender Intersex AfricaSocial, Health and Empowerment Feminist Collective of Transgender Women of Africa; or the Trans Wellness Project. They may have a list of trans-positive providers.
  4. Reading guidelines can help you to navigate your gender-affirming journey such as those published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health available for free at www.wpath.org
  5. Ask any healthcare providers you might see whether they are up to date with the latest transgender health guidelines and whether they have experience in treating the community.
  6. Belong to a private medical aid? Then make sure you read this article on what medical aids schemes do and don't cover and your rights. 

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