Heidi P. Breaux, LCSW, Program Manager for Online Education, recently provided her expertise on working with the transgender and gender-diverse communty to a Social Work Today article on "Building an LGBTQ-Affirming Practice." She points to the medical gatekeeping of individual process of getting written documentation from providers before being able to have gender-affirming surgery. The process calls into question the individual’s own ability to attest to their identity and advocate for themselves.
“Requiring clients to take extra steps such as seeing a psychiatrist when it isn’t required, again to make the clinician ‘feel comfortable’ is also the same, medical gatekeeping,” she adds. “All of these can have very negative mental health consequences for your client. The NASW Code of Ethics requires us to go further than just affirming our transgender and gender diverse clients’ pronouns or names. Advocacy for trans equity is part of our ethical obligations.”