Podcasts > Transitions > Reflecting on Trans-Affirmative Health Care

The importance of whole-person, patient-led care.

What can practitioners do to support better health outcomes for patients or clients who are transgender? In this episode, co-host Dr Monica Moore (General Practitioner) talks with her invited guest, Dr Martina Gleeson (General Practitioner) who has a special interest in transgender health, about the challenges for primary care clinicians to better respond to the needs and wants of patients who present in primary care settings with transgender health issues.  

By way of introduction to this complex topic, Monica and Martina outline the differences between assigned sex, gender identity and sexuality, via two conceptual models – the Gender Bread Person and the Gender Unicorn. They discuss the evolution of clinical insights into  gender dysphoria; the increasing need for practitioners to instil diversity and inclusion for transgender people in all health care contexts; as well as broader developments in the language and strategies used in trans-affirmative health care. 

Drawing on her clinical experience of treating and supporting transgender patients, Martina provides examples of practical strategies – such as including personal pronouns when introducing oneself – and how she has used her experiences of making mistakes to improve the inclusivity of her practice. She warns clinicians of the ease with which they can fall in to the “broken arm syndrome” trap and, to mitigate this risk, the importance of focusing on the person’s presenting issue rather than on their gender.

Martina emphasises the need for clinicians to take responsibility for educating themselves in this field rather than relying on their transgender patients to educate them. She highlights the importance of practicing whole-person care and encourages clinicians to be patient-led; to start with the goals of a patient and from there, support them on their individual journeys. 

Next week, join both our co-hosts, Julianne Whyte and Monica Moore, as they focus on the transitions we experience in relationships and the importance of connection within those relationships. 

Access the self-directed CPD form for this episode here.

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