Transgender Awareness Week, typically taking place the second week of November, has been a one-week observation to help raise visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face. The week culminated in the annual November 20th Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honor the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence over the past year.
To further the inclusivity of transgender older adults in mental health care, Dr. Regina Koepp, a nationally-recognized clinical psychologist and gerontologist and creator of the Psychology of Aging Podcast, recently hosted Loree Cook-Daniels, M.S., a renowned expert in transgender aging and founder of the transgender aging network, on the topic of providing affirming care for transgender older adults.
In the episode, Cook-Daniels discussed clinical considerations for mental health providers providing treatment to transgender older adults, such as the relationship and social factors affected when someone transitions earlier in life versus later, and the disproportionately high rates of mental health concerns, suicidal thoughts, and discrimination that transgender individuals face in the healthcare system.
Cook-Daniels also notes the unique role that mental health providers historically have played as “gatekeepers” to determine an individual’s ability to tolerate gender-affirming hormone therapy or surgeries. She comments on the potential consequences this role can have in deterring some transgender people from seeking mental health care due to a concern that the provider may deny them access to these necessary treatment or procedures.
Finally, she shares a number of free resources for family, friends, mental health and medical providers, and other geriatric care providers. As each of us have an important role to creatie safe and secure spaces for healing for transgender older adult clients, we encourage you to check out these resources and informative, insightful podcast episode with one of the nation’s leading experts on this important topic.