Navigating our current health care system can be a scary and confusing process. For transgender individuals, simply finding a trained health care provider that understands their unique needs can be even more daunting.
In Hampton Roads, the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood is among several area organizations that not only understand the transgender community, but the intricacies of finding a health care provider, and explain the ins and outs of insurance, prescriptions, exams and costs.
It may come as a surprise that Planned Parenthood of Hampton Roads offers many services for transgender individuals – including hormone therapy, anti-androgen medications, masculinizing medications, care planning and medical record transfers. Planned Parenthood and other transgender health care providers are known to have long waitlists to be evaluated. Currently, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Virginia Beach does not have an appointment waitlist for their transgender health services. To make an appointment, you may do so online at the Planned Parenthood website or by calling (757) 499-7526.
In addition to transgender health services, Planned Parenthood provides primary health care, STD treatment and testing, as well as emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, annual exams, birth control services, abortion care and women/men’s care in an affirming, judgement-free environment.
OutWire757 sat down with Carlyn, a Hampton Roads resident who uses Planned Parenthood’s Transgender Health Services to talk about their experience receiving health care from Planned Parenthood.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, including your gender identity and pronouns?
“My name is Carlyn. I am a senior at ODU, majoring in Women’s Studies. This year, I am interning with the Tidewater Queer History Project, which is a newer organization whose mission is to collect queer oral histories in Norfolk and the surrounding areas. I am non-binary and use they/them pronouns.”
What services do you use from Planned Parenthood?
“I use Planned Parenthood for trans-health services. They provide the consultation and prescriptions for Testosterone, needles, or anything else I might need. I check in periodically for blood work.”
What made you choose Planned Parenthood over other providers?
“Honestly, I chose Planned Parenthood because they did not have a waitlist. It ended up being a really good decision because of the atmosphere they provide.”
Which Planned Parenthood office do you use?
“The one in Virginia Beach. I believe they all offer services for trans folks.‘
How has your experience been using Planned Parenthood services?
“It has been a really good experience. During my intake, the nurse that evaluated my needs assured me that there were no wrong answers and that I could express my identity however I wanted to. He also assured me that none of my answers would hinder the services that I could receive. Every time I go in, I fill out paperwork on my gender identity and pronouns, just in case anything has changed. And, when I go in for check-ups, they respect my pronouns to the best of their ability, quick to correct any mistakes.”
What made you decide to take Testosterone when you identify as non-binary?
“So, I do identify as non-binary. However, there are certain things that I had dysphoria about and that prompted me to seek hormone replacement therapy. I am happy with the changes that I have seen thus far and I am excited to see how this progresses in the future for me. I may not be on it forever, but I definitely like having the option of stopping or reducing my dose whenever I’d like.“
What stigma would you like to break about Planned Parenthood?
“They do not just provide services for women. They do not just provide birth control and abortion services. Their mission is to fight for all people regardless of race, socio-economic status, and gender presentation or identity. They offer a safe and affirming environment for all patients.”
What advice would you give a transgender (or questioning) youth specifically in regards to picking a medical provider?
“I’d say that Planned Parenthood is a great option. They are knowledgeable and understanding. I haven’t had experience with any other endocrinologists, but I have heard stories about people not being fully honest with their answers regarding gender identity and sexuality for fear that they won’t receive gender affirming treatment.”
The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood’s Virginia Beach office can be found at 515 Newtown Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.