EDITORIAL: Gender health clinic has a home in Connecticut



Hartford Healthcare is opening a new medical clinic to provide care for transgender and gender non-conforming patients.

Record-Journal reporter Cris Villalonga-Vivoni wrote about the Center for Gender Health and the many services it will offer: endocrinology, urology, gynecology, plastic surgery, voice therapy, primary care and behavioral health. The facility is accepting referrals and making appointments for when it welcomes patients in September. The center is located inside the Community Care Center at 132 Jefferson St., Hartford.

Dr. Patrick Cahill, medical director of the Community Care Center, said the goal is to create a safe space for those seeking medical care.

According to Villalonga-Vivoni’s report, transphobia is frequently encountered, even in the medical field. A 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 29% of respondents who saw a medical professional said they had at least one negative experience related to gender, such as being refused treatment, verbal harassment and even physical or sexual assault.

Dawn Ennis, a transgender woman, said, “there are too few places to help all the trans people who need gender-affirming care and that’s not just in Connecticut but across the United States. People are going to be traveling from all over the country to Connecticut because they can’t get this kind of care where they live.”

Ennis is likely correct in her assessment that with Hartford Healthcare offering these specialized services the state is setting itself apart in a positive, welcoming way to individuals in need of care.

This is not the first time Connecticut has been at the forefront of taking a forward-thinking stance on human rights issues that other states have struggled to work through.

In 2005, the state distinguished itself as the second state, after Vermont, to enact a civil union law. In 2008, Connecticut moved beyond civil unions to become the second state, after Massachusetts, to legalize same-sex marriage.

Gov. Ned Lamont recently leveraged the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade into what was characterized as a business recruiting tool. He urged businesses “to relocate to a state that supports the rights of women.”

These examples, along with progress seen in local schools, municipalities and many faith communities, as well as private enterprise, to be accepting of a wide spectrum of individual expression makes Connecticut stand out.

This new Hartford Healthcare clinic can be seen as another piece of creating something of a sanctuary state. A place where all are given the freedom to pursue their best lives.



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