Trans Buddy is a program within the Program for LGBTI Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that provides support for trans people as they navigate the healthcare system.

Founded in 2013, Trans Buddy is a community of volunteers who are trained to support trans patients and help them through healthcare encounters; this can involve making referrals, educating providers about trans bodies and health, and advocating for the patient. Patients can also call buddies to ask questions about trans care and to find trans-friendly providers.

In Tennessee, “nearly one in three transgender people has been denied medical care due to their gender identity,” and in the South more broadly, uninsured rates are higher than in the rest of the country. Additionally, many providers require a therapist’s note to give hormone prescriptions, which is a major barrier due to the difficulty of finding a trans-friendly therapist. Some providers even refuse to treat trans patients for conditions unrelated to their sex and gender because “it’s too complicated.” These barriers to care are the reason that programs like Trans Buddy exist and are working to formalize and push for better trans healthcare access.

You can read the full story in Scalawag Magazine here: