Patients like Darien Dunham welcome the Middlesex Health Transgender Medicine Program.
He says, “I am transgender and I want to be myself.”
It ensures the community gets the medical care most everyone else receives.
“I wanted to be in a place,” explains Darien, “That I can walk in and not have to have that uncomfortable feeling of walking into a doctor’s office not knowing if they are going to be accepting of me as a trans person.”
Medical Director, Kathryn Tierney says “For so many years, we’ve really just piecemealed care together to find a provider willing to provide that service.”
That’s no longer the case for transgenders who choose to come here, and it’s system wide.
“Making sure our employees, our providers,” she says, “Really do understand what it means to be trans, and all its forms so that we can adequately address their needs at any given time.”
Doctors like surgeon Dr. Timothy Siegrist offer a life altering procedure, “What we’re doing here is orchiectomy. It’s simply the removal of the testicles. We don’t do full gender genital reversal surgery here. It’s usually male to female transgender patients who typically have been on feminizing hormone therapy for a year, a couple of years.”
Dr. Laurel Slongwhite, a primary care physician, says the result of a transgender health survey was troubling.
She says, “30 percent of people avoided medical care or delayed medical care because of fear of stigma.”
Negative interactions also a factor.
Dr. Slongwhite says, “I think the concern would be that somebody walks into an office and despite most likely people’s good intentions might be addressed by the wrong name, the wrong gender markers, the wrong pronouns.”
“It’s almost if you build it, they will come. You make the service available, then people will come use that,” says Kathryn Tierney.
Darien says, “From therapy to hormones, to surgery, they’ve been there to help me through out the process.”
He also thanks his parents for their support.
Thank you Darien for sharing your photos with News 8. He said he chose to do so to honor the person he has been while on this journey. Watch the video above for Darien’s photos.
The Williams Institute estimates there are more than 12,000 adults who identify as transgender in Connecticut.
For more information, log onto www.MiddlesexHealth.org or call 860-358-3460.
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