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How a Trans Woman of Color Navigates Health Care

How often do you see a doctor?

“I find it most helpful to see my doctor every three months. Is that a lot? Consistency can be difficult between work, shows, and gigs, but I think about it in a seasonal kind of way. My body has changed so much physically and chemically, and I’m sure as I age more changes will commence. But between moon cycles and waves, I have found it helpful to get tested to check for hormone levels regularly. If I have had more than one partner recently, I take the opportunity to get tested for STIs and HIV, too. It’s how I make sure to actively practice self-care.”

For those interested in hormone therapy, what does that entail?

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, can come in the form of a liquid injection that you or someone else can administer. Aside from daily pills, patches and topical creams are also available. Many girls I’ve met say the shots work quicker, but doctors say they work the same. I remember when I first started T blockers, the nausea was real. The hot flashes were real! Hell, I still get ’em sometimes. But they were no joke. And I wasn’t passing or cis-assumed, and between the ignorance and ridicule in the streets, there were relentless creeps trying to solicit sex, automatically sexualizing and deviating me without a single conversation. [They would be] as discreet as possible, in fear of who would see them. Sometimes I wish I could have taken my time more, not rushed so much. I’ve met some girls that chose to get on HRT first before presenting as a woman at all. Some find it more comfortable. Just another option. What I will say is that the changes it has on your body get better over time. Consistency is key. But just like surgery, clothing, or voice therapy, these are all options that could potentially make you feel better about leaving your house to access services.”

Are there any resources that you’ve found helpful?

“Apicha Community Healthcare Network. I have been going there for years. NYU Langone also ensures that I had a blessing of a surgical experience.”