Despite the fact that our state’s Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General, Rachel Levine, is an openly trans woman who practiced gender care, it may seem almost impossible to find a queer-friendly, doctor in Pittsburgh who is knowledgeable about LGBTQIA+ issues and needs. How are we supposed to find these doctors? Thankfully, many companies are working to have these resources readily available.
UPMC Health Plan, for instance, offers help navigating gender care services by calling their Member Services at 1-888-876-2756 (or 1-800-361-2629 for TTY) and requesting trans care options. They are also working on a more specific trans concierge service as well as a service of excellence center dedicated to make gender care services a convenient package from which members can pick and choose services.
When it comes to gender care services for younger patients, Children’s Hospital offers the Gender and Sexual Development Program through their Center for Adolescent and Young Adult Health (CAYAH). The program serves patients up to age 26 with questions around gender and sexual identity development, gender non-conforming behaviors, and transgender care. Services at the program include gender care, counseling, STD testing, and more. They also offer resources on hormones, gender identity and more.
Highmark also is working on similar initiatives as UPMC, including a more hands-on, queer-themed, Meet Dr. Right event. A Highmark representative stressed the importance of these events so that queer people can get the medically necessary treatment they need without fear of judgement. In one case, a lesbian couple, discouraged by their doctor’s repeated insistence for birth control for safe sex, went to one of these events to find a new doctor. They ended up interacting with a fertility doctor and are now on their way to having twins.
Positive Health Clinic (PHC) at Allegheny General Hospital is a comprehensive HIV primary care clinic providing care to HIV-positive persons but has recently started trans care as well, offering testing, counseling and more.
Metro Community Health Center
Looking for someone a little less big box? There are still resources out there for you! One option is Metro Community Health Center in Swissvale, a nonprofit that focuses on queer-specific issues such as transitioning, as well as HIV prevention and care, and mental health. They accept all forms of insurance, including Medicaid, and have sliding scale options.
Central Outreach Resource and Referral
Another option is Central Outreach Resource and Referral Center, which offers queer-friendly care for issues such as hormone therapy, HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and care; housing issues, substance issues, and more. Stacy Lane, a well-known doctor at the clinic, was named a Dignity and Respect Champion in 2014 and is widely renowned in the community for her work with HIV and trans patients.
Pittsburgh Aids Task Force (PATF)
In addition to testing, support groups,PrEP access and more, PATF now has an in-house primary care doctor and nurse practitioner. These doctors are LGBTQIA+ competent and specialize in HIV, Hepatitis and STD care. PATF’s clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. To make an appointment, call 412-248-0550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Trying to find a specific doctor? We’ve got you covered! Thanks for the efforts of numerous doctors as well as Persad, we have a spreadsheet that lists any doctor (.xls doc) that is either known to be queer friendly/knowledgeable or has volunteered themselves as such.
Never heard of SpectrumScores? That’s because it’s a brand new website developed by classmates at the University of Pennsylvania. The site (and eventual app) is basically a user-friendly data base of doctors. While the developers have created an initial database of queer-friendly doctors, we will make the final decision. Clients get to search, rate, and review providers on their queer competence. They hope to launch in the coming month, so keep an out for them on Facebook.
While we hope that knowledge of these resources help to aid community members in their quest for healthcare, we understand that experiences may vary and that these services are not comprehensive. After all, certain queer healthcare services simply aren’t available in the Pittsburgh area. We encourage our readers to share any experiences in the comments that they feel would help their fellow community members make informed decisions about their healthcare providers.