LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl to ensure appropriate LGBTQ+ and gender-affirming care in Los Angeles County.
“Even within healthcare settings, transgender and gender non-conforming people face hurdles in accessing medically necessary and life-saving healthcare services,” said Chair Solis. “Our County has a responsibility to eliminate these barriers by providing culturally appropriate and gender-affirming care to our communities. Receipt of gender-affirming care has been linked to dramatic reductions in the rate of suicide attempts, decreased rates of depression and anxiety, decreased substance use, improved HIV medication adherence, and positive health effects from gender-affirming care can extend to children and adolescents. This motion is the first step in that direction.”
Within the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, a clinic exists providing the essential healthcare services for transgender individuals. Additionally, there are other clinics and community-based organizations that specifically focused on supporting local transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. Through a partnership between The Alexis Arquette Family Foundation and the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at the LAC+USC Medical Center, the Alexis Project is one example of a successful LGBTQ+ clinic where queer and transgender youth and adult patients can find a safe and welcoming environment and access health services tailored to best meet their unique needs. At these clinics, there are specialized medical and mental health staff attuned to the needs of LGBTQ+ youth and providing a high-quality standard of care without any prejudice.
“Gender-affirming care is critical to keeping people healthy and alive. That’s why this motion would expand culturally appropriate care for our LGBTQ+ patients,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Right now, far too many trans individuals simply don’t seek health care for fear of being mistreated.”
The motion instructs the Department of Health Services, in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Children and Family Services, and relevant community-based organizations, to expand and replicate existing LGBTQ+ competent, affirming healthcare, including the model utilized by the Alexis Project and similar providers to create regional clinics across the County to provide gender-affirming and culturally appropriate healthcare for LGBTQ+ individuals; as well as work with trusted community-based organizations to establish community engagement and support. In addition, the motion would assess the current protocols with regard to gender-affirming care at County-run health clinics and develop a standardized referral process to link LGBTQ+ individuals seeking gender-affirming care to service providers. The motion also asks for a partnership with the Alexis Project and other providers to establish a toolkit and informational materials for all foster youth who identify as LGBTQ+, with a focus on transgender and gender non-conforming youth – and collaborate with the Alexis Project and other providers to identify mental health resources and support for LGBTQ+ patients of all ages, with a focus on transgender and gender non-conforming people. Lastly, the motion would include a report back within 60 days with a plan to implement these directives to expand LGBTQ+ care, specifically gender-affirming services, at County-run health clinics, and include existing departmental revenues to expand programs to provide gender-affirming care and resources, similar to the services at the Alexis Project.
To view the full motion, click here.