We waited in the thick summer air, just outside the emergency room entrance. The parking garage was mostly empty, no one passed by, and the only sound was the rhythmic sliding of the automatic doors at our backs.  Others may have been scared by the emptiness of the night; to us, standing outside of the ER seemed far more comfortable than the alternative: entering the hospital.  We debated whether our health was worth the risk of being told again, “We can’t help you here.”

This experience is not new to me. I had been receiving calls for medical advice on a weekly basis from transgender people who were scared to go to the hospital. As an out transgender graduate student and Associate Director of The Program for LGBTI Health at Vanderbilt University, many local transgender people had heard that I could help them find a doctor. For several years, Program…

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