Planned Parenthood rolls out HRT, TRT treatments in Lansing, Marquette

Layne Ingram came out as a transgender man nearly six years ago and thrust himself in activism to help people like him.

“I’ve talked to a trans woman who couldn’t get a job because she’s trans, and a 17 year old who knows he’s trans, but parents won’t allow HRT (hormone replacement therapy),” Ingram said. “Having access to the care is lifesaving, and to a place that affirms who you are is lifesaving.”

Planned Parenthood of Michigan started a pilot program at its Lansing clinic on May 6 and its Marquette clinic on May 9 to offer patients 18 and older prescriptions for gender-affirming hormone therapies. It’s part of the organization’s expanded clinical practices to serve transgender and nonbinary individuals.

dr Halley Crissman, director of gender-affirming care, said the prescriptions are testosterone and estrogen boosters, or testosterone blockers. Patients must call offices at (517) 351-0550 for Lansing or (906) 225-5070 for Marquette, to make appointments.

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She said the organization has plans to expand such gender-affirming care statewide by the end of 2022. Planned Parenthood offers this type of care in 31 other states.

“One of the biggest struggles we run into with gender-affirming care are potential problems with the cost of prescriptions, and prescriptions of certain types potentially not being covered by insurance,” Crissman said.

Planned Parenthood has a sliding scale for payment. The organization also works with individual’s health insurance and alternative funding sources.

A Planned Parenthood location in the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing.

A lack of understanding about gender identities and transphobia still exist in the medical field, Crissman said. Transgender or nonbinary individuals seeking hormone therapies often are required to get clearance from a mental health professional before treatment can begin.

Planned Parenthood did away with that requirement. If an individual has an underlying illness, Crissman said that’ll be treated in coordination with prescribed treatment.

Ingram said it would have helped to have a health care provider who affirmed his identity from the outset. But he said appointments with a therapist helped him get through underlying issues because the professional was affirming and accepted his identity.

“Anything an organization can do is great, but I ask for the community to make sure that you are taken care of,” he said.

Approximately helped all transgender, nonbinary and questioning youth contemplated suicide in the past year compared to 32.5% of their cisgender peers, according to the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ suicide prevention organization. Ingram said gender-affirming care and therapies could prevent further ideas.

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Planned Parenthood’s age requirement of 18 can be a beacon at the end of a tunnel for youth in search of a community that supports them.

“There are providers who are out there who are educated and will help you,” Ingram said.

Planned Parenthood has been planning to expand gender-affirming care to Michigan for at least a year, Crissman said. They selected Lansing as one of the pilot sites earlier this year after two providers, Physician Assistant S. Hope Dundas and Dr. Jessica Heselschwerdt, left the area.

Along with Planned Parenthood, All Things Male’s Center for Men’s Health, Carefree Medical Clinic, Center for Optimal Health and Full Spectrum Family Medicine provide gender-affirming hormone therapies, according to practice websites.

In addition to expanded prescription offerings, Crissman said Planned Parenthood staff underwent intensive training on building a safe medical environment for LGBTQ individuals. Forms allow for a person to write their gender identities and names if they differ from legal documents; anyone who has a menstrual period can get access to birth control.

“(We are) making all of our care safe for people of all genders, so that all people feel comfortable coming into our health center and getting the full spectrum of care that they need and deserve,” Crissman said.

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If a transgender or nonbinary person seeks hormone therapy prescriptions and is on another person’s insurance, Crissman said they can invoke patient privacy laws to keep people safe.

The organization’s offering is a “strong start” for progress in the medical field, but Ingram says they need to amp it up and coordinate with local schools and civil rights organizations to provide “wraparound care.”

“I love that they’re doing it,” he said. “Planned Parenthood has a big name, but let’s make a big splash.”

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Contact reporter Krystal Nurse at (517) 267-1344 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @KrystalRNurse.

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