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Dr. Nick Gorton from Lyon-Martin Health Services Speaks to SMU Community

After decades of discrimination in the healthcare field, transgender patients are just now starting to get a fair shake.

Dr. Nick Gorton said during a standing-room-only discussion at Samuel Merritt University Wednesday. Gorton, an openly gay and transgender physician who practices in at Lyon-Martin Health Services in San Francisco, spoke to students, faculty, and staff as part of a Transgender Celebration Day hosted by the SMU Pride Committee.

“The wave is finally crashing on the shore,” Gorton said. “It’s taken a long time, but a lot of good things are happening right now.”

Gorton said when he entered medical school in the 1990s, medical insurers routinely dropped transgender patients from plans or refused to cover basic treatments due to their gender identity.


“If you were transgender and said you had bronchitis they wouldn’t cover it,” Gorton said. “They’d say your bronchitis was a transgender health problem, which they would not recognize.”

But new laws and a string of court victories are helping pave a path to equality, Gorton said. There’s still progress to be made by MediCare and private insurers, Gorton continued, but the outlook is positive.

“I’m hoping these students enter a field where everyone is educated as to what it takes to provide treatment for transgender patients,” Gorton said before his discussion. “It’s not difficult to learn, we just need to take the time and effort to do it right.”

pictured: Dr. Nick Gorton and Pride Committee Co-Chairs Josh Campbell and Tanya Grigg