Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission – Sanctuary and Support Services

Fellow: Jennifer Cruz

Grant Year: 2019

Location: Fresno, California, United States

Organization: Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission – Sanctuary and Support Services

Project Title: Equal Access to Transgender Healthcare in Fresno, California

Project Summary: The State of California has non-discrimination laws that should protect the rights of transgender people, however in Fresno, there is little oversight of the laws’ implementation, particularly around healthcare access. California State University Fresno (CSUF) held several recent focus groups to learn about the needs of the transgender community, in which participants expressed facing difficulty meeting their healthcare needs in the City of Fresno. CSUF revealed that healthcare discrimination and a lack of access was a real issue for the transgender community and many participants shared that they had been harassed and misgendered when seeking local care. They learned that most individuals travel to San Francisco and pay additional expenses to receive transgender focused healthcare. In Fresno, there is only one doctor that provides healthcare to transgender people. This lack of access to transgender sensitive healthcare providers and transgender healthcare services has multiple negative impacts on the community.

The Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC) aims to close this gap in care and stop healthcare discrimination for the transgender community in Fresno. They will advocate for the Fresno City Council and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to declare a proclamation in support of California’s non-discrimination laws and establish guidelines for implementation within their jurisdiction by July of 2020. Through a multipronged approach, Fresno EOC will work with various partners, including Trans-Emotion, the Fresno County Department of Health, GSA Central Valley, and local health providers to create a toolkit and accompanying training to ensure healthcare providers provide trans-friendly healthcare services and ultimately improve healthcare access to over 10,000 people who identify as transgender in Fresno.