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Planned Parenthood Offers LGBTQ Health Care in Central, South Florida

Photo: Ian Taylor
Photo: Ian Taylor

Florida's Planned Parenthood clinics have been expanding their services for LGBTQ clients. The Tallahassee Clinic has now been added to that list of providers.

Planned Parenthood has long been synonymous with contraceptives and pregnancy termination.

But Samantha Cahen, Planned Parenthood of Southeast and North Florida's program director for transgender patients, says there is now a full menu of services specifically for that population.

"We provide compassionate life care for every one of our patients. We've also gone in to provide extensive training to familiarize our staff with certain terminology that a lot of our staff wasn't familiar with," Cahen said.

"So it's something our staff is turned on to know the difference between non-binary gender, queer, what it means to go through gender transition, masculizing hormone therapy, femanizing hormone therapy. So there's all those terminologies that we have educated our staff so they're stronger to go ahead and help their patients."

Up until recently this was only available to Planned Parenthood clients in Central and South Florida.

Jay Galante, a fourth year FSU student who is also president of Gender Odyssey, an on-campus organization for transgender and gender non-comforming students, was among those who had to make long commutes.

"I'd been driving to and from Kissimmee five hours to get my services from the nearest Planned Parenthood that offered hormone replacement therapy before the Tallahassee location started offering it recently."

Of course, in the era of COVID, any physical visit to a healthcare provider can be a cause for concern. So Planned Parenthood's Cahen says there are options.

"Now with TeleHealth it's much easier for them to go ahead, log onto Zoom and they can go ahead and talk one-on-one, no distractions, and we're able to go ahead and provide the care that they need."

That includes providing prescriptions for medications and instructions for patients to administer those medications themselves.

"We're able to provide that remotely and send it electronically to their pharmacy and they'll be able to receive their medication at their preferred pharmacy and then teaching them via TeleHealth or at the healthcare center."

Galante says this is how he's receiving his care nowadays.

"I was previously up until my last appointment having six months between my refills. So my six months was up and I scheduled a TeleHealth appointment. It went ridiculously smooth! I was pretty impressed, actually."

Galante was so impressed, he's been recommending Planned Parenthood to others.

"I hear a lot of stories from a lot of transgender/gender non-conforming people who are undergoing HRT in Tallahassee and they're not always completely satisfied or comfortable with the treatment that they're receiving."

And Planned Parenthood's Samantha Cahen says her organization is taking special care to provide a higher satisfaction and comfort level.

"We accept anybody, from any background. It doesn't matter who, what, when, where you come from," Cahen said.

"We're out here to let everyone know that we do provide these services for our patients and we differ from many other offices possibly because we provide safe therapy and we closely monitor our patients to make sure that they're on the right track through their transition and my goal is to personalize their care."

Care that she says is now available, either in person or online, to Tallahassee patients.
Listen to the full story, by clicking on the clip at the top of the page.