For many transgender people, accessing gender-affirming care is a labyrinth of insurance coverage trap doors, referral letter hoops, and discriminatory falling axes. Social media and online communities are often the guiding threads out of the waiting room.

Gender-affirming care is lifesaving. It has been shown to reduce the risk of suicide and increase the mental health and overall wellbeing of trans individuals. The American Medical AssociationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association all released statements this year on the life-threatening consequences that restricting gender-affirming care would have on trans youth.

When legal protections for transgender people are something that can be lost with a mere flip of the political switch, and healthcare systems still don't know how to meet their needs, many trans people turn to online communities to help them live as their true selves.

Like many others, Schuyler Bailar, the first trans NCAA Division 1 men's athlete, looked to social media when he started medically transitioning.

"Nobody was talking about these things in a way I had access to. I felt like I had to do it on my own," Bailar said. "And I think a lot of people still feel like they're stumbling through it alone, because most healthcare providers are not trans-informed."

Before trans people can be considered for gender-affirming care, they first have to prove that they are trans.

Medical gatekeeping for gender-affirming care, or the many checkpoints patients must pass through before accessing hormone therapy and surgery, typically takes the form of one to two referral letters from a therapist for each treatment, often alongside separate medical evaluations. These measures are intended to confirm that trans patients are both "psychologically" and "practically" prepared to medically transition.

Read the full article about transgender healthcare by Vivian Lam at Mashable.