When we think about the "LGBT" community, most of us tend to focus on the "L" or the "G." Nell Gaither, executive director of Dallas' Trans Pride Initiative, has been exclusively focusing on what is likely the most underserved population in the LGBT community, transgender and gender non-conforming people. In its relatively short life as a nonprofit, the Trans Pride Initiative has helped provide the local trans community with access to necessary healthcare services, housing and employment assistance, and educational programs.
This weekend, the organization will host its third annual Connect-To-Care Health Fair at Parkland Amelia Court. The key focus of the event will be providing healthcare services like breast cancer screening, routine health assessments, HIV testing and basic dental care, along with assisting qualified patients in signing up for Parkland Hospital's health plans. Since 1999, Parkland has offered a community health plan that provides access to comprehensive healthcare services for low-income patients.
For the transgender community in Dallas, these types of health screenings can be hard to come by. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender people are disproportionately likely to experience extreme poverty and homelessness, which makes regular visits to a doctor nearly impossible. To aid in making these services more accessible, organizations like Planned Parenthood and OUT2Enroll will be able to advise visitors about signing up for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, which also requires that many insurance companies provide access to transition-related healthcare for transgender people, like hormone replacement therapy.
In addition to the healthcare services, the Connect-To-Care Health Fair will feature an extensive slate of presentations on topics that affect the transgender community, ranging from the safety of silicone body injections to the ins and outs of changing one's legal name and gender marker in Dallas County. The Dallas Fair Housing Office will also be on hand to help patrons with discrimination in housing and any city of Dallas offices.
To encourage people of all gender identities to come out to the fair, Trans Pride Initiative has assembled a pretty attractive bunch of door prizes. Electrolysis services, pin-up makeup sessions,and burlesque lessons are all up for grabs, largely because Trans Pride Initiative and their supporters really, really want people to come out and get checked out and covered by an affordable healthcare plan.
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The Connect-To-Care Health Fair will be held at Parkland Hospital's Audelia Court from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. All breast cancer screenings being conducted at the UT Southwestern Center For Breast Care, and shuttle services will be provided between both locations. Admission to the Fair is free, and if you're interested in signing up for one of Parkland's health plans, you'll need to bring a valid ID and proof of residency and income.