Healthcare is one of the areas rigidly divided on the basis of the sex assigned at birth. Think, for example, of the male and female wards in hospitals, residential care and nursing homes. Furthermore, health professionals frequently feel disoriented before a transgender person, and interact uncomfortably with them, struggling to understand their specific health needs. Professionals regularly state that they do not understand the need to discuss gender identity in the context of a health care visit, whereas collecting this type of information can be fundamental to an accurate clinical assessment. Unfortunately, gender identity issues are seldom adequately addressed during training, which leaves professionals rather unprepared to manage transgender patients. Lack of knowledge is frequently compounded by preconceptions and negative attitudes that professionals may harbor -even unconsciously- towards transgender people, all of which weighs against the quality of the clinical relationship and the service offered. It is important to keep in mind that transgender people often approach health care environments with a strong fear of receiving unfair treatment. It is therefore essential not only to eliminate discrimination, but also to reassure transgender persons that they are welcome.
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