Innovation in equality: Celebrating and Sponsoring Transgender Person Pride, Washington, DC USA

The annual TransPride celebration is for members, supporters, family, and friends of the Transgender community. 

I am proud to work with colleagues who agree that “Status quo” is not “baseline”. With Bianca Rey (@BiancaRey) and Melanie Hiller, Kaiser Permanente Pride: Mid-Atlantic States Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Employee Resource Group

May 17, 2014 was the 2nd Washington, DC transgender person pride event that we’ve attended, representing the Kaiser Permanente non-profit health system. Kaiser Permanente didn’t just attend, it was a Gold level sponsor for 2014 (and is also a Gold level sponsor for all of Capital Pride (@CapitalPrideDC) in our nation’s capital). We were also a gold sponsor in 2013: (see: Celebrating Transgender Pride, our nation’s capital, and our community health, May 18 2013 | Ted Eytan, MD )

There has been so much change since last year. The legal, medical, and regulatory environment has become far more favorable, and more protective than ever, with Washington, DC, once again leading the nation (see: Photo Friday: Equality Selfie, with Washington, DC Mayor Vince Gray | Ted Eytan, MD).

Unlike last year, we don’t have to explain why this care is medically necessary, or why discrimination shouldn’t happen.

More people who are trans are accessing medically supervised care. They are getting and keeping jobs. And the TransPride celebration itself enjoyed some time outdoors this year.

Still, precious lives have been lost since last year. From suicide. HIV/AIDS. Heart disease (including last year’s keynote speaker, Cody Leone), and other conditions, many if not all preventable. There are challenges with law enforcement. And still, confusion reigns in much of health care where trans-competent providers are the exception, not the norm.

This year, Kaiser Permanente was, again, the only commercial health plan / medical group in attendance. We were not the only health care providers though. Several exemplary community providers were present, including Whitman Walker Health (@WhitmanWalker).

In 2014, I cannot say that every physician and nurse in this country are capable of being healers, leaders, and partners for this population. However, there are plenty who are, and the numbers are growing every day. The world is learning to love better. And, the others will eventually join us, and when they do, they’ll see innovation better than any gadget or App that was ever invented :).

As it was said in the 2012 documentary of Marsha P. Johnson: “History isn’t something you look back on and say was inevitable.” This is clearly the Stonewall moment of our generation, where we decide that “status quo” does not equal “baseline.”  I use the word “delightful” to describe the feeling of learning and listeneng to these leaders as they take control of their destiny, because they and we are going to change everything.

We came here because we want to be the best doctors, nurses, and community colleagues and citizens for and with an exceptional group of people in an exceptional place, Washington, DC.

Photographs below, enjoy.

Ted Eytan, MD