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Health Equity

LGBTQ+ Care at Origin

Sep 09, 2021Carine Carmy3 min
LGBTQ rainbow tunnel

If you’re transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming, we want you to know that Origin’s virtual and in-person clinics are safe, respectful spaces. We strive to be a place where everyone with vaginal anatomy can feel comfortable talking with their physical therapist about their goals, medical history, symptoms, concerns, sexual activity, and anything else that’s relevant to their care.

The healthcare system is rife with discrimination, both explicit and systemic. Women, in general, are more likely to be misdiagnosed, ignored or denied by doctors, causing well-documented harm. You may have encountered healthcare workers who ask inappropriate questions or are ill-informed about your specific experiences and healthcare needs. According to the 2015 Transgender Survey, approximately 33% of trans adults experienced a negative interaction with a healthcare provider in the past year, while 23% avoided seeking medical care for fear of being mistreated. Lesbian and bisexual women have higher rates of breast cancer, HPV infection, and a higher risk of cervical cancer. The risk of poorer health outcomes only increases when multiple marginalizations, including race, poverty, and disability intersect.

Supporting each and every patient as an individual takes ongoing listening, education, and effort — and we are committed to doing this work.

These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg, but they illustrate the massive healthcare disparities and barriers to accessing medical care that transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people face on a regular basis.

What We're Doing to Help

Supporting each and every patient as an individual takes ongoing listening, education, and effort — and we are committed to doing this work. Below are some steps that we’ve already taken to support our LGBTQ+ patients, and there’s more to come.

EDUCATING OUR STAFF. We’re grateful for the leadership of Emma Kaeser, PT, DPT, who has worked extensively on creating inclusive health education at the university level to better serve the LGBTQ+ community. Emma is heading up LGBTQ+ inclusivity training at Origin to ensure that anyone you speak with, from a PT to someone on our front desk team, will treat you with respect and care.

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. When you fill out your intake forms before your first visit, you can choose to share your gender, sex assigned at birth, and preferred name. This information is reviewed by our staff prior to your visit, to ensure that you’re addressed appropriately. Care at Origin is trauma-informed and, within your medical history, there’s space to let your PT know about past experiences that may be impacting your health. You can also let us know if there are any topics you don’t want to discuss.

SERVING THE NEEDS OF TRANS WOMEN. While the majority of our clinical team’s core competency is providing physical therapy services for those with natal vaginal anatomy, some of our PTs have training on the specific healthcare needs of trans women, including pelvic floor PT before and after a vaginoplasty procedure. You can check out PT bios to learn more or call our office and we’d be happy to match you with an expert PT.

CONNECTING YOU WITH SAFE PROVIDERS. If our team is not able to support you, we will do our best to refer you out to other experts in the community who have the relevant expertise and who we know to be safe care providers.

USING INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE. In the healthcare and business industry, we’ve positioned ourselves as a “women’s health” company, which is critical to working with major organizations to fight for gender equality in medicine. We also cite research in the terms used by study authors, which are typically binary. And while the majority of our patients do identify as women, we recognize that the terms “woman,” “women,” and “female” do not apply to our entire patient community. With that in mind, we’re constantly thinking about how to use more inclusive and accurate terminology. That means incorporating phrases like “women and all individuals with vaginal anatomy,” “birthing bodies,” and “vagina/vulva owners,” among others.

Ultimately, we hope our work inspires a bigger shift in inclusive care in the PT world and the healthcare system as a whole for people with diverse anatomies and identities. If you have questions on whether we can help you, or suggestions for how we can make this space more affirming to your identity and experiences, please contact us.

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Carine Carmy Headshot
Carine Carmy

Carine Carmy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Origin.

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