Planned Parenthood is becoming a major SWFL transitioning resource

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Outside a Planned Parenthood in Florida. (Credit: CBS News)
Outside a Planned Parenthood in Florida. (Credit: CBS News)

It is illegal for doctors, hospitals and most insurance companies to discriminate against transgender Americans, but that does not mean transitioning is easy.

Kasey Fraize is a transgender patient utilizing Planned Parenthood’s relatively new transgender program.

“It’s been really great,” Fraize said. “They’ve been supportive since day one.”

Fraize started with the Planned Parenthood program in 2016, which is around the same time the services took off in Southwest Florida. Despite having health insurance, Fraize said the clinic is less expensive for the service.

Hundreds of people have been using the service over the last three years. Jacqueline Staal, a nurse practitioner with Planned Parenthood in Lee County, said the program had patients travel in from Miami, along with out-of-state areas like Georgia and Virginia.

Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida said three years after launching services for transgender patients, the program at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida continues to grow rapidly. The number of transgender patients receiving services has increased from 180 during the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year to 1,152 during 2018 – 2019.

“The conversations that we’re having in our society have fostered a better community for people to come out in,” Fraize said.

Planned Parenthood’s efforts at education help, too.

“To break down barriers, education and starting the conversation are the key places to start,” Staal added.

Moreover, Fraize hopes more health care providers will continue that conversation and hopefully, save lives in the future.

“Having the privilege to transition is definitely affirming,” Fraize said.

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