Reporting from the Transgender Health Summit in San Francisco
I’m having the incredible privilege of attending the Center for Excellence for Transgender Health’s first national Transgender Health Summit. The opening remarks this morning were from Herb Schultz, MPP, Regional Director at the DHHS Region IX who spoke about trans inclusion at the federal level.
Some of the major themes he discussed were inclusion, implementation and bringing advocacy to the local, state and federal level and how we can assist government to make changes that affect our community.
He discussed his personal story, and how 20 years ago, he become involved in HIV prevention. Later became involved in LA AIDS Project, and after a meeting with trans advocates, he realized there were so few protections and services for trans people. He’s inspired by trans communities and the progress we’ve made in such a short time, despite our opposition.
Despite the struggles to enact and implement trans inclusive policies, recent advocacy to the federal level is getting inclusion.
There is a place in the government to advocate for trans inclusion in government, which we’ve seen from the recent IOM report and report from HHS of non-discrimination concerning gender identity. The changes made were because trans communities went to Kathleen Sebelius; people like us, who have advocated for trans inclusion.
In the future, what we need to consider future advocacy and implementation. For instance implementation of the Health Care Reform Act is vitally important for trans communities. There are consumer protections, there are groundbreaking changes in our health services, but when you look at where our government is, there are many people on local, state and federal government who are against HCR and trans programs. For that reason, we should prepare to defend these programs.
Governments have never included communities like ours to get our input, so it’s SO important we continue advocating!