A second year medical student from University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Columbia provides an opinion piece on the need for improved CME in regards to Trans health in the United States.
I was in high school, unsure how to assist a friend who was living between suicide attempts due to transphobic harassment. After he had a threatening altercation with his family, I was desperate to find safe living conditions for him. My impasse was that he was still their financial dependent.
“Could you move in with a friend?” I asked over text. “Or is there a shelter that you could turn to if things get too rough?”
“I can’t,” he responded. “I’ve already looked it up; the women’s shelter here won’t accept me, and I’ll be harassed at the others.”
Like many transgender individuals in the United States, my friend could not access mental health services because of the ways in which transphobia intersected with other constraints in his life. Harassment was the catalyst behind his failing emotional health, but his depression was fueled by invectives in his home environment and lack of accessible treatment. His economic dependence on his abusive family made his attempts at attaining medical assistance futile. When he received treatment during his hospital stays, his health care providers would advise he pursue outpatient psychiatric care without recognizing the impediments to their recommendations. They would discharge him only for him to be readmitted weeks later.