A trans man was driving five hours to get healthcare. A new Planned Parenthood hormone service changed that

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A trans man has spoken out about the impact of Planned Parenthood in Florida becoming the latest clinic to help patients access hormone treatment.

Tallahassee’s Planned Parenthood clinic began offering hormone replacement therapy (HRT) earlier this month – the latest in a number of Planned Parenthood clinics to do so.

The non-profit provider, which provides reproductive healthcare to more than five million Americans each year, has always been open to trans patients. And an increasing number of clinics are also helping trans patients access hormone replacement therapy.

Jay Galante, a Florida State University political science and communications student, has spent the past two years driving five hours both ways to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Kissimmee for appointments, every six months. Now, he’ll be able to get his hormone treatment in the city he lives in.

“Free time is a luxury,” Galante told the Tallahassee Democrat. “So having to make that five-hour drive, putting a lot of things on hold or having to prioritise my medicine for something like a free day or some free time, it’s not fun.”

While Galante now only needs to visit the doctor every year, rather than every six months, for a check up, he knows other trans people who are at the start of their transition for whom the new availability at the Tallahassee clinic will be a lifeline.

Planned Parenthood trains its staff not to assume people’s gender, and to check the name and pronouns its patients uses.

Christina Noce, communications director for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida (PPSENFL), explained to the Democrat: “It’s pretty much just having our staff understand when our patients don’t comprise just one identity.”

“So when it comes to talking about periods, for example, or menstrual cycles, or anything around sexual reproductive health, (it’s) how to not use gendered language when describing that,” Noce added. “That was just a lot of training that we went through … we wanted to make sure we had a different experience.”

Galante says that hormone therapy changed his life.

“Not only did it change things, you know, of course, about me physically, but it also cleared up some physical issues that I was having. I’ve always actually had hormone imbalances,” he said.

“But more importantly, it’s completely changed internally, who I am as a person, and really made me so much more comfortable and happy with myself.”

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