Gender Equity in Hospice AND Palliative Care: Why it Matters and How to Effect Change
Ruth M. Thomson, DO MBA HMDC FACOI FAAHPM, and Asher Caldwell, MSN ANP-BC ACHPN
The Human Rights Campaign reports that recent US Census data show more than a 40% increase in the number of people who identify as transgender.1 This can be misinterpreted to mean that transgender identity is a new cultural phenomenon. However, cultures around the world have known, even revered, transgender and nonbinary identities for millennia. Despite the ancient history, our current society is wrestling with gender identity and expression. In June 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services rolled back healthcare protections prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. States like Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Alabama have enacted anti-LGBTQ+ laws impacting health care, public bathroom use, and education. Logic is seldom a welcome response to emotions like hate and fear, but these legislative efforts highlight the need for more education. As more people choose to live authentically, more healthcare professionals will care for transgender and nonbinary patients.