By Alex Cordero
Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley (PPPSGV) and the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center (Center) recently announced a partnership to provide healthcare resources for LGBTQ individuals throughout the San Gabriel Valley in order to better meet the demands for more local LGBTQ resources.
Christian Port, senior manager of business development for PPPSGV and board member of the Center, played a key role in bringing these two organizations together. The idea of a partnership arose naturally from his participation in board meetings with the Center; for many, it’s the primary source of contact for inquiries about health care resources and often refers people to PPPSGV.
Earlier this year PPPSGV implemented health care resources for HIV prevention in their health clinics that include prevention medication for HIV, most commonly known as PrEP and PEP (short for pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis, respectively).
Since the launch of PrEP services offered at PPPSGV health clinics, the organization has trained their staff members to know more about LGBTQ-inclusive health care services.
Often, members of the LGBTQ community do not have access to doctors or health clinic facilities with trained staff knowledgeable about their specific health care needs within their local community. They mostly find themselves having to drive long distances outside the community to find expert care. The Center is working diligently to change that and create a more inclusive community across the SGV.
The TransCare program offers healthcare services for transgender patients, including hormone therapy for people 18 years of age and older.
“We have received a tremendous amount of demand and support for our TransCare program.” stated Port. When asked if there have been any unexpected challenges since the launch of TransCare, Port mentioned that it has not but that “The launch of the program [TransCare] has illuminated some of the gaps in available resources to transgender folks living in Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. It has also created an opportunity for Planned Parenthood to address some of the challenges and barriers that people of transgender or nonbinary experience face in accessing resources in the community.”
For example, PPPSGV also provides a TransCare Patient Navigator designed to meet the needs of TransCare patients by providing direct contact information and links to local community-based resources: “Such as legal document and name change clinics, support groups, mental and behavioral health care, and more,” Christian added.
On Jan. 1 of this year the California Department of Motor Vehicles began allowing customers to select a gender category of female, male or nonbinary for California driver licenses or identification cards.
There have also been updates to the process of legally changing genders in the state of California. What most people may not be aware of is that you are no longer required to publicize your court hearing for name change or publicize your new legal name in local newspapers in the state of California if the request to legally change your name is due to gender change.
These types of resources and information is what trans folks in our communities can expect to find in their local cities and PPPSGV and the Center are working closely to increase the resources available.
The TransCare program has helped make health care more inclusive. Port affirmed:
“Our program launched in April of this year and we are now providing hormone therapy to more than 165 patients.
“Through our partnership with the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center, we are able to connect patients who are new to hormone therapy to transgender and nonbinary support groups.
“The response to the program has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of our patients share that TransCare has been the best experience they’ve ever had accessing medical care. They have reported feeling seen, affirmed and respected in our health centers.
“For many, the service is an entry point into the full scope of sexual and reproductive health care that Planned Parenthood provides, including STI testing and treatment, HIV prevention, cancer screenings, wellness exams, and more. Our patient population for TransCare is extremely diverse.
“Our patient age range is from 18 to folks in their 60s, and many of our patients identify as people of color.”
For the past several years the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center has been the primary point of contact for many LGBTQ community needs across the San Gabriel Valley. The partnership is a testament to the Center’s mission to increase the availability of more local health care resources for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and continue to build an inclusive community in the valley.