Affirmative Care for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People: Best Practices for Front-line Health Care Staff

Front-line staff play a key role in creating a health care environment that responds to the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people. Everyone, no matter their gender identity or expression, appreciates friendly and courteous service. In addition, TGNC people have unique needs when interacting with the health care system. Many TGNC people experience stigma and discrimination in their daily lives, including when seeking health care.

Issues and concerns from TGNC patients often arise at the front desk and in waiting areas because those are the first points of contact for most patients. These issues, however, are almost always unintentional and can be prevented by training all staff in some basic principles and strategies.

This document, updated in Fall 2016, was developed as a starting point to help train front-line health care employees to provide affirming services to TGNC patients (and all patients) at their organization. Part 1 of this document provides background information on TGNC people and their health needs. Part 2 provides tips and strategies to improve communication and create a more affirming environment.