NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A first in the nation is right here in western Massachusetts as a new healthcare center dedicated to the trans community opened Tuesday in Northampton.
Today is a monumental day for the healthcare industry and trans rights in western Massachusetts.
We attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for Transhealth Northampton to get answers on how this center is transforming how the trans and gender-diverse community will access treatment and care beyond the doctor's office.
“There were many naysayers out there and we said no, we’re going to shoot for the moon and we did,” said Dallas Ducar, CEO of Transhealth Northampton.
Transhealth Northampton opened its doors on Tuesday, making it the first independent, comprehensive, trans healthcare center in the country, Ducar said this space will provide a place for the trans community to call home.
“For years, for generations, the trans community, trans and gender-diverse community have been locked out of systems of power places in politics, healthcare, out of life as we know it. This is a brick and mortar space where we can say we’re proud to be here and we’re proud to be who we are,” Ducar explained.
The center will offer primary care for adults and children, as well as mental health services, but that’s not all.
“The first time my grandmother bought me a dress, that was gender affirming care. The first time I had a friend actually teach me how to do my makeup, that was gender affirming care,” Ducar noted.
She said classes for makeup and weightlifting will also be offered.
Western mass news spoke to Perry Cohen with Transhealth's board of directors. He said specialized healthcare facilities often exist in big cities, which leaves people from rural areas with a lack of access, but now, that may change.
“What this means is people can have care in their backyard and it’s significantly more accessible and I think there’s a reason why we live in western Mass. and not Boston and we want to stay here,” Cohen said.
Because of the pandemic, there is room for extreme growth.
“With COVID restrictions have loosened around telehealth, we’ve been able to see folks across the New England area, which is really exciting,” Ducar said.
The grand opening marks a milestone for those who fought so hard to make it happen.
“It’s hard to understate the significance of this for me. I mean it’s been a dream I’ve had that folks in our community could get gender affirming care right here in our backyard and the fact that’s it’s happening is just monumental,” Cohen added.