Our latest guest blog comes from Emily Allison, Development Director for Bridgercare, Pride Foundation Community Grant Recipient in Bozeman, Montana.
Thanks to the ongoing support of the Pride Foundation, we see the awareness of the TransCare initiative you all help us fund really starting to take hold and change lives for the better across south central Montana. Thus far 2019, we’ve seen an increase of 70% with individuals scheduling for our TransCare services, and have seen 5 new TransCare patients in the last month! The increased awareness of this program and accessibility of these services would not have been possible without Pride Foundation and your unwavering support.
Recently, we were reminded of why the work Pride Foundation does is so critically important in Montana.
In the spring of 2019, an individual we will call Tim (to protect patient privacy) scheduled a TransCare appointment with our provider Sue Dolan. Tim was interested in starting to transition hormonally from female to male, and wanted to learn more about the process. Sue and Tim talked about their goals and hopes surrounding the transition, and the temporary and permanent changes that would take place. At the end of the visit, Tim mentioned that their parents “were not on board but that I haven’t given up on them yet”.
And then Tim left.
Weeks and then months began to pass. And this can be the hardest part of providing these services because, sometimes, you only get one visit with a person, and then they never come back. Maybe they moved, or found care outside our region…or maybe it is a different, worse reason. All we can do is hope that they are happy, safe, and get the opportunity to live their fullest life.
But then, 6 months after their initial appointment, Tim’s name showed back up on Sue’s schedule. It was an appointment for their first hormone treatment. After six months of silence, Tim was moving forward.
At the beginning of the appointment, Tim and Sue met one on one to discuss the series of regular shots Tim would be getting. Then Sue let Tim know that, if they brought anyone along, they were now allowed to join for the rest of the visit. Tim said they had brought someone so, as Sue got all the supplies ready, one of our nurses accompanied Tim to grab them from the waiting room.
Tim walked back into the room followed by their partner, and then both of their parents, and then their grandparents as well! In fact, there ended up being 7 people in our small exam room to celebrate the beginning of Tim’s transition! To the sound of loving cheers, Tim beamed from ear to ear as they sat down to receive their first injection.
Individuals like Tim—and all trans and gender diverse people in Montana—experience too many barriers throughout their lives, and we are grateful that Bridgercare’s TransCare program, with support from Pride Foundation, can take away the barriers of both cost and access to make these services available to everyone in need.
Emily Allison (she/her) is the Development Director at Bridgercare.