Amida Care Recognizes Transgender Day of Remembrance with Special “Your Health. Your Journey” Panel Discussion
November 20 2020
Webinar featured experts in trans health and community members with lived experience
Watch the recording of the event here
On Wednesday, November 18, Amida Care, New York’s largest nonprofit Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan (SNP) designed for New Yorkers affected by HIV, hosted a special Transgender Day of Remembrance event, entitled “Your Health. Your Journey.” The event was held during Trans Awareness Week (November 13—19), leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20), an annual observance of the lives lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
The panel was moderated by community advocate Coach B. Panelists included Zil Goldstein, Associate Medical Director of TGNB Health at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center; Dr. Asa Radix, Senior Director of Research and Education at Callen-Lorde Lailani Muniz, Amida Care member and Chief Operation Officer at the New York Transgender Bodybuilding Federation (NYTBF LLC); Sabastian Roy, Founder and Owner of the NYTBF LLC; Alister Rubenstein, Transgender Program Coordinator at Amida Care; Sandrine Blake, Assistant Director of Member Events and Experience at Amida Care; and Ceyenne Dorosho, Performer, Activist, Organizer, Community-Based Researcher, and Public Figure.
The event moderator, Coach B., discussed the importance of having people with lived experience in places of power. “For real change to happen, it is the people most affected who have to champion the change. When we needed a woman to understand women’s rights, we called on women to stand up. When we look for people to genuinely step into compassion, we don’t find that because they can’t be empathetic to our issues. In order for others to see us as human, we must first see ourselves.”
Zil Goldstein spoke from a health care provider perspective about the need for medical professionals to create spaces that are affirming for all patients. “To all the health care providers on this call: Be excited to see your patients, especially your trans patients; especially your Black trans patients. Let people know they will be safe and welcome when they walk through the door.”
Dr. Asa Radix spoke about health disparities within the trans community. “Data shows us that transgender women of color are less likely to have suppressed viral loads. This is because others—not the women themselves—have made it impossible for them to be healthy. Preventive care screenings are less likely for things like cervical cancer in trans masculine people. This means that, for the entire community, health outcomes are poorer.”
Lailani Muniz shared her recommendations for how medical settings could be improved for the trans community. “There needs to be someone who is accountable, in each and every medical setting, for providing and implementing cultural competency training for all people. The truth is: You’re not there to judge me as a trans person. You’re there as a medical professional to provide me a service.”
Sabastian Roy touched on the importance of recognizing the humanity of each and every person. “If you want to know something about me, just ask. But if you’re going to ask, be open to receiving my answer. It’s about being able to share and open up. We all want to be seen, heard, and treated equally.”
Self-care was a topic of discussion throughout the event. Sandrine Blake said, “If you’re not good, how can you be good for other people? Sometimes, we have to take that time for ourselves.”
While discussing the role cisgender people can play to help affirm the trans community, Alister Rubenstein said, “We talk a lot about how to be affirming when trans people are in the room. Cisgender people need to follow through when trans people aren’t around. To be affirming, when someone tells you who they are, believe them.”
Ceyenne Doroshow helped bring the conversation around to social determinants of health, like education and transportation. “We need to be granted with the gift of education. We need scholarships. For too long, we have been kept out of colleges, classrooms, and kept out of conversations with professors. If we are going to help our kids and our elders, we need an education. This needs to be at the forefront.”
Earlier this year, Amida Care released a report, Breaking Barriers to Transgender Health Care, which details the need for culturally competent, gender-affirming health care. Recommendations include physical, sexual, mental, and behavioral health care that is accessible, affordable, and delivered by providers who are both skilled in trans care and provide services in a trans-affirming manner.