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Transforming Healthcare: Transgender Competency for Healthcare Providers (2007)
Directed by:  Ethan Suniewick
Distributed by:  Frameline
Run time:  17 minutes
Country:  U.S.A.

Review by: Wik Wikholm
Reviewed on: November 01, 2010

Transforming Healthcare: Transgender Competency for Healthcare Providers sounds like a PowerPoint presentation for doctors and nurses, but it is far more than that and is valuable for any audience concerned with the well-being of the trans community and the issues its members face.

In the video, people from across the transgender spectrum, including both patients and healthcare providers, speak about deficiencies in the healthcare they have seen or received and the consequent embarrassments and challenges they face. The key problem is simple: patients' need for respect as human beings. Respect means acceptance of each patient's gender identity, including the use of gender-appropriate pronouns; the provision of gender-neutral bathrooms; treating trans people as people rather than medical oddities or specimens; providing a confidential environment when discussing gender identity; and some slight improvements in the medical knowledge of healthcare providers.

Many trans people tell their stories of medical encounters in Transforming Healthcare. One of the most potent explains why trans people often avoid the healthcare system until disaster strikes and, even then, sometimes encounter bizarre or inappropriate behavior by medical personnel. Danielle Anderson tells of going to an emergency room for the treatment of a high fever and bronchial symptoms. She "ended up with my legs wide open and a group of doctors looking at my vagina because they all were curious to understand what my body looked like . . . ."

The DVD version of Transforming Healthcare includes three well-made bonus features entitled "Chinese Medicine," "More Advice for Providers," and "STD and HIV Risk." All are useful adjuncts to the film that address healthcare issues, but the third also describes the unique set of psychological and sociological factors that motivate a significant number of trans people to do sex work, use injection drugs, and dangerously inject silicone or other materials ("pump") to alter the shape of their bodies.

This short, professionally produced video is an excellent teaching tool for medical professionals, but since most of the difficulties that confront trans people in medical environments match those they face in society at large, Transforming Healthcare is also a good fit for any audience interested in learning about the problems trans people face and specific changes that can help remedy them.

Where to Find this Video

Transforming Healthcare: Transgender Competency for Healthcare Providers is priced for educational use and can be licensed for exhibition from Frameline. Frameline provides special pricing for qualifying institutions. No streaming or consumer version of the video is available.
Related Encyclopedia Entries
Transgender Activism
Transgender Issues in Education
Transgender Issues in the Law
Transsexuals of Brazil
About Wik Wikholm
Wik Wikholm is the publisher of glbtq.com. He is always on the lookout for engaging, informative documentaries about all aspects of glbtq life and culture. You can reach him here.



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