Transgender Health Initiative of New York
Our community organizing project, the Transgender Health Initiative of New York, holds monthly meetings at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in Manhattan where we strategize about ways to improve access to health care for transgender people. Come to a meeting and find out how you can make a difference! View our meeting schedule. View the Health Initiative pamphlet.
The Health Initiative's History and Work
In 2004, in response to wide-ranging complaints of discrimination against transgender people in the health care system, we co-founded the Transgender Health Initiative of New York, a community organizing project whose goal is to ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming people can access health care in a safe, respectful and non-discriminatory manner. One of the Health Initiative's first accomplishments was the development of a policy and protocol for providing care to transgender patients in a non-discriminatory manner.
Over the past year, Health Initiative members worked with Callen-Lorde Community Health Center to ensure that the highest-quality services were available to and accessible by transgender people. Health Initiative members helped Callen-Lorde draft a policy and protocol for serving transgender patients and collaborated with Callen-Lorde on its Transgender Health Awareness Month. We continue to meet with Callen-Lorde to improve transgender access to care. We're also embarking upon a survey of all hospitals in New York City to determine the accessibility of their services to transgender patients. And last year, we partnered with St. Vincent’s Hospital to host a health fair attended by over 200 people designed to raise awareness in the community about the availability of transgender-sensitive services at St. Vincent’s Hospital and other facilities. St. Vincent's prepared this brochure as a demonstration of its commitment to improving access to care for transgender people.
Following up on these successes, we recently began working with New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country. Health Initiative members determined that HHC, with its mission to serve all New Yorkers without regard to ability to pay, represented an ideal next step in the Health Initiative's work to ensure that transgender people, many of whom are poor and uninsured, can safely access health care. We are actively moving forward with plans to improve access to care for transgender people at HHC facilities.
Health Initiative members played a leading role in the New York City Department of Health’s deliberations on allowing transgender people to amend the gender marker on their birth certificates. Despite the Department's refusal to move forward with the proposal it had endorsed, we are continuing to work with other groups to ensure a fair and equitable birth certificate policy for transgender people. You can read the testimony on New York City's policy delivered by TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman with input from Health Initiative members here. You can read news coverage of the proposed policy change by clicking here.