Target: Kathleen Sebellius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Goal: Ensure the transgender community receives healthcare free from discrimination
Transgender individuals get sick like everyone else. Unfortunately, the discrimination they often face from family and peers can extend to their treatment by the professionals to whom they entrust their health and safety. Transgender individuals seeking care often experience not just prejudice, but outright cruelty from health care providers, following testimonies gathered by USAID, the U.S. Agency for International Development. In Latin America and the Caribbean, where these stories were documented, nurses have been known to label their transgender patients as sex workers upon sight. Assumed to have HIV, transgender individuals are often sent home with an HIV test and some condoms.
One transgender woman’s experience points to this egregious behavior by health care providers as the ultimate cruelty. After four men attacked her in the street, she was sent to the emergency room, where the nurse opened her robe, and upon seeing she was transgender, looked at her disgustedly and called her homosexual. The nurse presumably spread the word because several nurses came up to the woman later, and walked away laughing after lifting the folds of her robe to expose the private areas of the woman’s body.
Just hearing of such inhumane behavior is enough to make one sick. Inevitably vulnerable when seeking health care, transgender individuals are made to endure further injury in the form of brutality from the very people who are supposed to heal them.
Please sign the petition below, and help end discrimination against transgender individuals in receiving health care.
Dear Secretary Sebellius,
I am writing in order to bring your attention to the issue of health care providers’ discrimination against transgender persons. Inevitably vulnerable when seeking care, transgender individuals are made to endure further injury in the form of brutality from the very people who are supposed to heal them.
As revealed by testimonies from Latin America and the Caribbean, collected by the U.S. Agency for International Development, such discrimination often translates into automatic labelling of transgender persons as sex workers, and patients are sent home still in ill health with condoms and an HIV test.
We cannot stand by as our fellow human beings suffer this injustice. I urge you to use your leadership to protect transgender persons from further cruelty. By advocating for quality health care for all persons regardless of gender, you can make a tremendous difference.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Charlotte Holley via Wikimedia Commons