Linda Gromko, MD is a Board Certified Family Physician who has worked with the transgender community for nearly eighteen years. She is an author and advocate, and will be leading three workshops at the Seattle conference this year. She recently talked to guest blogger Nathan Tabak.
Tell us about your background working with the transgender and gender-diverse community.
I started working with the trans community in 1998, when a woman called and asked, “Does Dr. Gromko treat transgender women?” My answer at that time was, “Not yet!” But I said if she was willing to help me, I was willing to learn. That one client started years of word-of-mouth referrals. I enjoy working with the trans community immensely. I’m so glad I said yes on that life-changing phone call!
What subjects are you presenting at Gender Odyssey Seattle this year?
I’m doing two presentations at the Professional Conference: Trans Medical 101, and Trans Aging: Living Life with Dignity. It’s great to share information for other professionals, because we don’t get the information in medical or nursing school as a rule. I want people who haven’t treated trans clients to get the courage to start – to use the skills they already have and expand those skills to include the trans community.
The third presentation is for the general conference: “Affordable Aesthetics to Help with Transition.” In my practice, we do laser and electrolysis hair removal, CoolSculpting for fat reduction, microneedling for top surgery scar reduction, and Botox and fillers. I was amazed to see how much we can feminize or masculinize a person’s face without surgery. I want people to see some less expensive, non-surgical options that can buy time until more definitive treatment is possible or desired. I will also be covering breast forms and hair transplantation.
What do you see as the most important issue in care of transgender patients?
I think basic respect is the most important issue in providing good service to the trans community. Our gender identity isn’t a choice, it’s just a fact. What we as health care providers do and say to our clients can help them move forward, or injure them forever.
Tell us about your book.
It’s called Where’s MY Book?’ A Guide for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth, Their Parents, & Everyone Else. I decided to write it after a young patient of ours died by suicide. My book is blunt and honest – and gives kids and parents real information. It’s aimed at kids in middle school and older, though I think younger kids use it also. After all, many trans and gender non-conforming kids have been all over the internet. My first chapter is about suicide prevention, which isn’t typical for books on puberty – but is absolutely critical for the kids we care so much about.
I loved writing the book. I track its sales on Amazon. It literally sells one by one: a book in Georgia, one in Pennsylvania, one in Maine, and so on. It’s made so beautiful by the paintings of Jacqui Beck, from her exhibit, Gender Personal – presented several years ago at Gender Odyssey. I will be selling the book at Gender Odyssey this year, and on Amazon.com, or check out at my website: www.LindaGromkoMD.com.