SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In the days leading up to Pride Week in June, ABC4 News is discussing different topics that impact Utah’s LGBTQ+ community. In this segment, our lineup of guests focuses on the topic of trans and nonbinary health in Friday’s IN FOCUS discussion.
To this day, some trans and nonbinary people still face difficulties and challenges in accessing gender-affirming healthcare. Experts say these groups face an elevated risk for discrimination, violence, and limited access to opportunities granted to their cisgender peers. This can ultimately lead to higher rates of disease, health problems, mental health concerns, and early death.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, transgender and nonbinary people who experience more stigma and discrimination are more likely to experience mental health problems or suicidality. These individuals can face a myriad of barriers and challenges such as being denied coverage by their medical insurance for care related to gender transition, a negative experience with a healthcare provider for their gender identity, and more.
Addison Hemmert, who is a transgender woman, joins ABC4’s Jason Nguyen to talk about her transition journey and her experiences with seeking gender-affirming healthcare. She is the morning video editor at ABC4 News and also a patient at the Rebirth Gender Center.
Hemmert shares the difficulties she faced during her childhood, what ultimately led her to come out, what it meant to finally start hormone replacement therapy, what her experience was going to a place that is uniquely positioned to serve the trans and nonbinary community, and what her message would be to other trans people who may experience barriers in pursuing medical care.
Rixt Luikenaar, founder of the Rebirth Gender Center, and Kimberly Anderson, family and marriage therapist of Flourish Therapy, discuss how their clinics are uniquely positioned to serve the trans and nonbinary community. They talk about the special training they’ve received, why their line of work is so important to them, and where their passion came from.
In the second part of their discussion, Luikenaar and Anderson talk about the importance of a “wrap-around approach” to include both physical and mental healthcare, using electrolysis in surgical procedures, their clothing drive, and their work in continuing education/training to other professionals and community members.