The Gender Affirming Letter Access Project (GALAP)

When I opened my inbox and saw “The Gender Affirming Letter Access Project” in the subject line of one of my emails, I was intrigued. As someone whose partner is trans and who works with trans clients, I have been critical of the gatekeeping within healthcare for people getting gender affirming surgeries, particularly those that require letters from mental health professionals.

The email came from a Bay Area colleague, one of the “group of trans, nonbinary, and allied clinicians” behind the launch of GALAP, according to the message. After I finished reading, I went directly to the website and signed the pledge. I replied to ask if I could share about the project and was told yes.

According to GALAP, it is “a movement of clinicians organized to address the legacy and present day practices of gatekeeping through a commitment to an informed consent model of care as well as a commitment to provide free and low-cost letters for gender affirming medical care. Most healthcare systems continue to require that individuals seeking gender affirming care obtain assessments and letters from mental health providers. This requirement can be a significant barrier to care for many reasons, including cost. By organizing together, providers can stop participating in and profiting from a system that is exploitative and disempowering.”

By signing the pledge, I have joined a community of therapists who have committed in our own practices to discontinue charging fees for letter writing for gender affirming care and offer at least one spot in our practice each month for a pro bono assessment and resulting letter.

For those in need of gender-affirming letters:

1. Check out the list of pledge signers for therapists who you can contact for letters (and if you’re in California, you can contact me).

For therapists providing letters:

1. Commit to a practice of providing care based on an informed consent model when conducting gender affirming medical care consultations, informing sessions, and letter writing.

2. Create space in your practice for at least one pro bono letter per month for clients seeking gender affirming medical care that requires a therapist letter.

3. Sign on to the statement and join the GALAP community.

Thank you to my colleagues who are organizing GALAP and have shared this resource with me. Like myself, you can also share this with your networks.

Image from GALAP’s website

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