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Lansing and Marquette Planned Parenthood locations first in Michigan to offer gender-affirming hormone therapy

"Planned Parenthood" by Steve Rhodes is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Some Planned Parenthood of Michigan (PPMI) locations began offering gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) to adults for the first time earlier this month.

The GAHT services are available at the Lansing and Marquette locations. Other Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country already offered GAHT but Michigan previously had not, making Lansing and Marquette the first Planned Parenthood locations to offer the services in the state.

Dr. Halley Crissman is PPMI’s Director of Gender Affirming Care and Associate Medical Director. She is also a board-certified OBGYN.

"This is something that broadly, Planned Parenthood had already been providing,” she said. “But our Michigan affiliate had not yet expanded to include gender-affirming hormone therapy. Our goal is to offer gender-affirming hormone care at all of our health center locations and via our telehealth services… by the end of the calendar year.”

Gender-affirming care means, “trusting people in the gender identity that they share with us, and providing care that embodies and uplifts one's gender identity,” Crissman said. GAHT can include prescribing testosterone, estrogen and hormone-blocking medications—often termed feminizing or masculinizing hormone therapy.

“And essentially, that is hormone care that helps individuals to best align their embodiment goals related to gender, with their internally felt gender identity,” she said.

Crissman said Lansing was chosen as one of the first to offer GAHT because of its central location and due to some previously existing GAHT providers leaving the area which left some people without ongoing care. As for Marquette, she said, northern and rural Michigan, in general, have some of the highest barriers to gender-affirming care options.

Crissman said using an “informed consent model of care,” clinicians will discuss the risks and benefits of hormone therapy with patients.

PPMI does not offer GAHT to those under 18 years like some Planned Parenthood locations across the country. But Crissman said PPMI hopes to expand the services to those under 18 in the future.

Patients do not need a mental health referral to receive hormone care at PPMI.

Transgender patients disproportionately face medical discrimination creating barriers for them to receive care. Mental health referrals, Crissman said, are often a barrier.

“It is well recognized by all major American medical societies that being trans and nonbinary is not a mental health pathology, is not a mental health condition,” she said. “And the requirement for something like a mental health letter of clearance to start gender-affirming hormone care is really a relic of transphobia in medicine."

It’s important to note, she said, that not all trans and nonbinary people need medical assistance in their gender transition.

“But for those who do, this care can be life-saving and life-affirming and aligns with the values of trusting patients and uplifting bodily autonomy, which are really core values to Planned Parenthood of Michigan,” Crissman said.

Sophia Kalakailo joined Michigan Radio in Sept. 2021 and is a senior at Michigan State University studying journalism and minoring in documentary production. She previously interned at Bridge Michigan and was an editor for The State News and The Eastern Echo covering a wide range of topics.
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