Providing Affirming Care for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth: A CAI Learning Community

Transgender, gender-diverse, and LGBTQ youth experience higher levels of trauma, greater rates of HIV, barriers to obtaining life-saving health care, and higher rates of suicide than their peers. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are uniquely positioned to serve as leaders in offering culturally competent care and making a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of transgender youth.

Benefits of participating in the learning collaborative

  • Establishing or increasing the availability of comprehensive gender-affirming care services.
  • Engaging the community to shape health policy and accessibility of services.
  • Assuring access to HIV treatment and prevention through a status neutral framework.
  • Learning to navigate clinic and patient needs through coaching from experts.
  • Identifying and establishing partnerships and co-located services, including with primary care providers and community-based organizations serving gender-diverse youth.
  • Developing a comprehensive resource and referral network including schools, community leaders, behavioral health providers and clinical subspecialties.
  • Utilizing patient-level data for evaluation, CQI activities, and population health management.

Expectations of participants

  • Assemble a team with specific roles and responsibilities to participate in learning community activities.
  • Actively engage in 12 months of learning (approximately four hours of contact per month).
  • Engage youth and their families or caregivers with lived experience to enhance care.
  • Periodically submit performance data and other system data based on action plan.
  • Participate in regularly scheduled technical assistance encounters.
  • Contribute to shared learning with your peers and encourage uptake of best practices.

Team composition

Each participant will assemble a multidisciplinary team with specific roles and responsibilities to reach the learning community goals and objectives.

Key dates

  • December 19, 2023: Learning community registration due
  • Early-January 2024: Introductory Zoom call
  • January 25-26, 2024: In-person leadership meeting in NYC. Register for the meeting.
  • Week of February 26, 2024: Learning Session 1
  • Week of April 15, 2024: Learning Session 2
  • Week of June 3, 2024: Learning Session 3
  • Week of July 22, 2024: Learning Session 4
  • Week of September 9, 2024: In-person jurisdictional meeting in NYC
  • Week of October 28, 2024: Learning Session 5
  • Week of December 9, 2024: Learning Session 6
  • January 22, 2025: Summative meeting

Data demonstrate that gender-affirming care saves lives

Estimates of the number of transgender youth have doubled over the past few years. Increased access to language, representation, and societal acceptance has allowed youth to explore gender in ways previous generations could not​. Despite this, transgender and gender-diverse youth face legislation that attempts to limit their access to life-saving healthcare.

LGBTQ youth experience trauma at higher rates than their heterosexual and cisgender peers, including bullying, harassment, traumatic loss, intimate partner violence, physical and sexual abuse, and traumatic forms of social stigma, bias, and rejection. The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth and 53% of transgender and non-binary (TGNB) youth reported seriously considering suicide in the last year, and 19% of TGNB youth made a suicide attempt.

Transgender and gender diverse youth are also disproportionately impacted by HIV, with 30% of new HIV diagnoses among transgender people in those under the age of 24. Stigma, discrimination, poor experiences in healthcare, and other structural barriers are a significant barrier for transgender people with HIV seeking treatment. Gender-affirming care is demonstrated to improve youth testing rates, knowledge, use of PrEP, and engagement and retention in care along the HIV care continuum.