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Physicians to Lawmakers: Transgender Hoosiers Deserve Compassion, Not Discriminatory Legislation February 27, 2017

A group of Indianapolis-area physicians are coming together to educate lawmakers about the issues and challenges faced by transgender Hoosiers.

This afternoon, the group collaborated with Freedom Indiana and the Indiana Transgender Wellness Alliance to deliver a letter of support for the transgender community to every member of the Indiana General Assembly.

The letter, signed by seven physicians as well as Jacqueline Patterson, executive director of the Indiana Transgender Wellness Alliance, urges lawmakers to consider transgender issues with “dignity, respect, and compassion,” and to turn away from discriminatory legislation:

“It is abundantly evident to anyone involved with transgender individuals that they suffer unimaginable challenges, which most of us would hate to have to confront. Yet also evident is that a little empathy and compassion go a long way in helping them find the peace and acceptance that we can only wish for all of our friends and family.

The physicians also lauded the growth in the amount of public attention being paid to transgender issues, especially in the medical field. They cite as an example the Transgender Health Conference, which was held last July at the University of Indianapolis. That event, which was hosted by the IU School of Medicine and Eskenazi Health, brought together 300 hospital administrators, health care providers, social workers and transgender individuals to simply learn more about what it means to be transgender, and to collaborate on addressing issues that affect transgender patients.

Another Transgender Health Conference will take place at Eskenazi Hospital, in conjunction with Indiana University School of Medicine and the Office of Diversity affairs, on March 10th.

The physicians were inspired to send today’s letter by House Bill 1361, which would have made it impossible for transgender Hoosiers to correct their birth certificates and other identity documents to match the gender they live every day. The letter celebrated the fact that the bill did not appear to be headed for a legislative hearing—a move, they said, that could have kept transgender patients from accessing care and doctors from being able treat patients comprehensively.

The law, they said, should seek to support transgender patients and physicians, so they can continue to make advances in medicine and patient care:

“Medical knowledge is constantly evolving. We now understand LGBTQ issues in ways never thought possible just a few decades ago. Hospitals and medical practices understanding of the complexities of gender identity and sexual orientation are making headway educating the medical community and offering sensitivity training to their staff.”