Med students push for more LGBTI health training

A third-year med student at New York Medical College is vocal about the need to focus more on LGBTI health

Sarah Spiegel, a third-year med student at New York Medical College, is pushing for more comprehensive LGBTI health training.

Tell me more!

After being disappointed in the brief information about LGBTI health given to her in her first year of med school, Spiegel decided to make a change.

By her second year, she became president of the school’s LGBT Advocacy in Medicine Club. Spiegel and a group of peers approached the administration about the lack of LGBTI content in the curriculum.

According to Spiegel, the administration was ‘amazingly receptive’ to the idea. Thus, the school went from an hour and half of LGBTI-focused content to seven hours. Spiegel does not think this change would have happened had the school’s LGBTI group not pushed for it.

Spiegel went on to join The American Medical Student Association’s Gender and Sexuality Committee as the LGBTQ Advocacy Coordinator. Her job in this role was to bring curricular change to other medical schools in the New York area.

Med schools and LGBTI health

Numerous studies have shown that medical schools do a poor job of training future doctors to understand the LGBTI population’s unique health needs. This is especially true when it comes to transgender and intersex people. A 2017 survey of students at Boston University School of Medicine found their knowledge of transgender and intersex health to be less than LGB health.

However, LGBTI people, especially transgender individuals, face a disproportionately high rate of mental illness, HIV, and other intersecting issues. A poll conducted by NPR found that 1 in 5 LGBTI adults have avoided medical care out of fear of discrimination.

‘The health of disparity populations is something that really should be the focus of health profession students,’ Dr. Madeline Deutsch, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, tells NPR.

‘Sexual and gender minorities have historically been not viewed as a key population. That’s unfortunate because of the size of the population, and because of the extent of the disparities that the population faces.’

While the amount of time medical students spend on LGBTI-related issues varies, a 2011 study found the median amount of time spent on the topic was a mere five hours. Topics most frequently addressed were safe sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. However, topics like gender transitioning weren’t often spoken of.

‘There’s not really a consistent curriculum that exists around this content,’ says Deutsch.

Activists doing the work

But with activists like Sarah Spiegel, LGBTI health is being spoken about more and more.

‘We’re getting there, but it’s slow,’ Spiegel tells NPR.

See Also:

Only half of US cancer doctors have good knowledge of LGBTI patient needs

Buck Angel gives advice to trans men at the gynecologist

1 in 5 non-binary people denied medical treatment due to their identity

Author: Rafaella Gunz

The post Med students push for more LGBTI health training appeared first on Gay Star News.

Buck Angel gives advice to trans men at the gynecologist

Buck Angel

Adult film maker and transgender man Buck Angel is giving advice to trans men at the gynecologist.

In the August/September 2018 issue of BUST Magazine, Angel wrote a column outlining the questions every trans man should be asking at the OBGYN.

Buck Angel’s story

‘For me, transitioning meant physically transforming my body from female to male,’ Angel wrote. ‘To finally live my life as the man I had long dreamed of becoming.’

‘At the time, however (this was the early 1990s), even my own doctor told me I was basically a guinea pig. The medical community had no idea what the long-term use of testosterone would do to my genetically female body—especially my reproductive system. When my doctor presented me with paperwork that would absolve him of responsibility should anything go wrong, I signed it. For me, this has always been a matter of life or death.’

‘Unlike some trans men, getting a hysterectomy (or what I call a “his-torectomy”) never felt as urgent to me as top surgery. Don’t get me wrong; I hated getting my period, but taking testosterone took care of that. I was fine with keeping my uterus, ovaries, and vagina intact.’

Mysterious cramps

However, about 11 or 12 years into taking testosterone, Angel began getting very bad cramps.

‘Sometimes they were like bad period cramps. And other times, they’d make me double over in pain for hours,’ he recalls.

‘Finding a gynecologist who would even agree to see me was difficult enough. But actually going to the gyno as a man with a vagina was excruciating. They would give me a pap smear and tell me everything’s fine, that the cramps would eventually stop. But I could read between the lines. They didn’t really know how to treat me. They just kept sending me home.’

But things kept getting worse for Angel. About three years later, he felt a fever coming on after working out. He describes it as a flu-like feeling, and he ended up fainting.

‘My then-partner rushed me to the emergency room with a 101-degree fever and rising. (We were living in Mexico at the time.) Luckily, the doctors admitted me immediately and began treating me without question. They also got to the bottom of my ongoing problems, which were much worse than what my previous gynos thought.’

Reproductive system atrophy

‘As it turned out, the testosterone had atrophied my reproductive system—a condition that could have been prevented by the use of estrogen cream. The atrophy fused my uterus and my cervix together, along with my ovaries and everything else, creating an infection that burst and became septic.’

‘The gynecologists who kept sending me home and telling me nothing was wrong could have prevented this from happening if they knew anything about trans men and testosterone. They could have administered estrogen cream for my vagina. They could have done an ultrasound instead of just a pap smear. They could have tried to figure it out. Basic understanding of hormones could tell you that adding testosterone to a genetically female body will remove estrogen, and estrogen is what makes a vagina function properly. These two simple steps could have prevented a situation like mine.’

Buck Angel’s advice

‘Many trans men have been reaching out to me with the same symptoms that I had. So I’ve begun developing a concrete list of tips on how to get the best care from your gynecologist if you’re trans,’ Angel states.

‘1. First and foremost, before you make an appointment with a new doctor, be sure to ask if they’re versed in trans male healthcare. You need to have a gynecologist who understands and cares about our bodies.

2. During your visit, be sure to tell them that you’re using testosterone and ask when you should start to use an estrogen supplement. If you’ve been using testosterone for more than a year or so, you can ask for an ultrasound in addition to your pap smear for additional information on the health of your reproductive system.

3. Be upfront about your sexual activity and any abnormal pain you’re feeling.

4. And last but not least, if you don’t like your doctor for any reason or feel like they don’t understand or care about the best way to treat you, find a new one! Comprehensive healthcare is your right.’

Anything else?

LGBTI people — especially transgender people — face many hurdles when it comes to getting proper medical care. Some doctors even refuse to treat trans patients at all. Last year, a group of transgender activists penned an open letter to the World Professional Association of Transgender Health urging better training for their doctors.

Author: Rafaella Gunz

The post Buck Angel gives advice to trans men at the gynecologist appeared first on Gay Star News.

Edinburgh gym to offer trans-specific fitness classes

An Edinburgh gym is to begin running fitness classes specifically tailored for trans and non-binary people.

Projekt 42, a not-for-profit gym based in the northeast of the Scottish capital, will be the first fitness center in the city to offer these type of classes.

The Rainbow Lifters classes will involve a mixture of weight bearing and high-intensity classes.

They will be held at the YMCA in Leith and will be free to attend.

‘We are passionate about treating people fairly and ensuring our members know they will be treated as their true gender at our facility, Sara Hawkins, the founder of Project 42, told The Edinburgh Reporter.

‘Transitioning can be a journey and health and fitness is fantastic for creating not only a healthy body but also a healthy mind.

‘These two separate weekly classes are suitable for all levels, tailored toward gender affirmation muscle development and functional full-body training, high-intensity exercises,’ Hawkins added.

‘A more positive relationship with our bodies’

The classes will be taught by Coach Huld, a non-binary trans-feminine personal trainer.

Huld has extensive experience in training countless numbers of people from the LGBTI community.

‘I truly believe that exercise can be a powerful means of developing a more positive relationship with our bodies, which can be such a challenge for non-cis people,’ Huld said.

‘That’s why I have made it my mission to lower the barriers of entry into fitness for people like me as much as I can,’ they added.

The classes are due to start from Sunday, 6 January. Trans-feminine classes will be held at 14.00-15.00pm, and trans-masculine classes will take place at 15.30-16.30pm.

Author: Calum Stuart

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