The Midwest has traditionally not been viewed as progressive for the most part. Missouri and Kansas especially draw many stereotypes and cliches that are less than flattering. In recent years though, Kansas City has sought to change that image by embracing change and growth. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM) seeks to do their part in changing perceptions of the area by offering transgender services to an under-served community.
Transgender Services Come to Kansas City
Starting April 11th, at their Kansas City North location (Gladstone, MO), Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri will be offering comprehensive services specifically for the transgender community. They join the more than 27 Planned Parenthood locations offering similar services across the country. Currently finding some of the vital transgender services needed has been difficult. However, Planned Parenthood has made it easier to find them; and most importantly, in an environment that strives for safety and inclusive.
At launch the northland clinic will be offering counseling referrals and guidance, HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) for both trans men and women, as well as all of the blood tests and monitoring that are so important to HRT. However, there is one service that is critical but often overlooked. Many trans men fail to get yearly exams such as pap smears, for fear of embarrassment or body dysmorphia. Planned Parenthood understands those fears and has sought making this as comfortable as possible a paramount goal.
Part of their commitment to this goal is the approach they’ve taken with their own education. They have taken great pains to make sure their staff and doctors understand the particular needs of the transgender community. They have reached out to therapists in the area for guidance, seeking to understand and embrace the “standards of care” for transgender individuals. Additionally they are bringing in transgender men and women to talk to the staff so they can share their experiences and needs.
“We want to focus on caring for both physical and emotional needs in a safe place.” said Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, Director of Communications & Marketing for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, “We need to put health first.”
Reproductive Health for All
Part of this initiative is the growth of their PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) services for HIV/AIDS. On March 14th, Planned Parenthood expanded those services with launches in midtown Kansas City, MO as well as Columbia, MO- with plans to expand to all six locations within six months to a year. In fact, this chapter of Planned Parenthood in particular finds itself in a state of great growth.
The reason for the expansion of these services is simple, women are the fastest growing segment of the population to contract HIV/AIDs. This includes the often overlooked menopausal and post-menopausal population.
Their treatment program is multi-faceted, covering risk factors as well as treatment. Not only do they handle the prescription of the drug Truvada, they also monitor kidney function, and over health with regular screenings and checkups.
However, most importantly, they seek to service the community with education. Bonyen Lee-Gilmore continued, “There is a great need for education about reproductive health and STI symptoms. We are seeking to change this by providing education and treatment for all regardless of gender, gender identity, or generation.”
For further information visit Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri online.
For transgender specific services you can reach out to the Gladstone office at 816-453-6000 or at their clinic page.
(edit- Corrected proper name for mid-America branch. Added social media. Corrected start date for transgender services.)