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Post-Roe v. Wade: ‘It's gonna further exaggerate the gap in the transgender and nonbinary community for knowing who and how to seek care’

Shira Berkowitz .jpg
JR Howell
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Provided by Shira Berkowitz

Shira Berkowitz is the Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at PROMO. They spoke about the importance of being inclusive when talking about the impacts of Roe V. Wade being overturned, as well as about the ways that this decision would impact already vulnerable populations – like trans and nonbinary Missourians.

Just as a note - this conversation took place after the Dobbs draft decision was leaked, but before the official ruling in June.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words.

Shira Berkowitz: We've come a long way with our language in movement work, and just in the public sphere.

And when we talk about “women's reproductive health” versus “people with uteruses reproductive health,” we're making sure that we acknowledge that gender is a very expansive concept.

And that we are including and creating space for all of the people – for everybody to have space in this conversation or to know that their bodies belong here and that their bodies need this healthcare, as well.

The Trans community has been so violently left out of health, when it comes to practitioners and care physicians having the knowledge of how to provide comfortable, accessible care to our community.

"And when we talk about “women's reproductive health” versus “people with uteruses reproductive health,” we're making sure that we acknowledge that gender is a very expansive concept."
Shira Berkowitz

And organizations like PROMO have worked really hard to make sure that we're closing that educational gap for providers – to being able to feel comfortable enough to talk about the bodies of patients with their patients.

And we know that providers are already going to become more silent when the way that they know to practice best case accessible health care for their clients is illegal.

We see that with trans healthcare already – trans youth healthcare, often – they become more silent about being a provider of the best-case care, and so, they're going to become more inaccessible.

The community itself are not going to know who to seek or which providers they are going to be able to see. There's going to become even more stigmatization in seeking care in the community itself.

And I think it's gonna further exaggerate the gap in the transgender and nonbinary community – the whole umbrella of gender expansive and gender creative individuals – for knowing who and how to seek care when the care that they need is illegal, or if it becomes illegal.

People that identify in our community that are going to be impacted by Roe even more so, are also parts of our community that are already explicitly vulnerable in terms of health, poverty, and especially violence.

Just knowing that the most vulnerable population of folks in Missouri alone or folks in the entire United States alone are going to be harmed at a disproportionate rate to the entire population of people with uteruses – who are going to be impacted by Roe are going to be even more disenfranchised in having access to being able to live a healthy life.

If you or anyone you know needs help or someone to talk to, you can reach out to the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 or Text START to 678-678. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.

A list of trans inclusive providers compiled by The Center Project can be found here: https://thecenterproject.org/gender-affirming-provider-list/

Abigail Ruhman is a reporter and afternoon newscast anchor for KBIA. They are working on a special series, and have produced for KBIA's Missouri on Mic and Missouri Health Talks in the past.