International Transgender Day of Remembrance, San Francisco, CA, USA

I took this photograph at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, Rainbow Room. My physician colleague Deb Friesen, MD from Kaiser Permanente, Colorado (@KPColorado) joined me, and we just missed our colleague Rebecca Goldfader, ARNP, both of whom deliver care and support people in this community.

The scene reminded me, in a good way, of one I’ve experienced before – lesbian, gay, bisexual people seeking refuge in the Castro district, where they could feel safe, and be who they wanted to be. That to me is a sign of a community starting to take control of its destiny.

I believe that’s Jamie Wolfe, the co-Vice Chair of TransMarch at the podium. She spoke to us briefly after the program about being in a trans person competent health system and the challenges this community faces, like a suicide rate exceeding 40% (see: Update: Woman Identified In Apparent Suicide Leap Onto Walnut Creek Freeway – Police & Fire – Walnut Creek, CA Patch).

As I’ve discussed here before, gender dysphoria is not a mental illness; mental illness that accompanies dysphoria is often created by society and a health system that is supposed to heal (see: Now Reading: Care of Transsexual Persons — NEJM, in the era of inclusion | Ted Eytan, MD). This is the part that our generation is going to change. The impact that high quality, medically supervised health care for a person who is trans is profound, probably more significant than many of the conditions that are typically treated in the health system today. It’s not a competition, though, everyone deserves to feel safe wherever they are, and to be able to achieve their life goals through optimal health – every patient is human, no one should be excluded.

To see images of those who have been slain in the last year, Transgender Day of Remembrance: Those We’ve Lost in 2013 |


Ted Eytan, MD