National LGBTQ Task Force and AWN Release "Before You Go: Know Your Rights & What To Expect at the Doctor and in the Hospital Tips and Advice for Autistic Trans People About Finding and Going To Doctors"


October 14, 2020, Washington, DC…..Today, the National LGBTQ Task Force and the AWNNetwork released a collaborative guide for , "Before You Go: Know Your Rights & What to Expect at the Doctor and in the Hospital," a groundbreaking first of its kind publication filled with tips and advice for autistic trans people about finding and going to doctors. The publication was co-authored by Sharon daVanport, Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, and Lydia X. Z. Brown with illustrations by Erin Casey. It will be available HERE from AWN's website.

Research and community storytelling have shown that that autistic and trans people experience major health disparities in access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes for physical and mental health care. Many also experience discrimination, prejudice, and bias in doctor's offices and hospitals, even in clinics meant to serve marginalized communities. For autistic and trans people who haven't had reliable access to health care, the processes of finding providers and knowing how to plan for disability-related access needs can be scary, confusing, and complicated. This new guide will help trans and autistic community members know better what to expect when going to doctors or hospitals, what questions to ask to assess providers sensitivity, understand their rights and responsibilities, strategize for safety planning, effective communication, accommodations, and morE.

"This resource is so needed for our community, especially right now during the COVID-19 pandemic," said AWN Executive Director Sharon daVanport. "Autistic transgender people face huge barriers to medical treatment, high rates of abuse at home, and frequent discrimination. We also have higher rates of trauma and anxiety, so this resource will help autistic trans people prepare for the often very stressful experience of going to the doctor or the hospital."

"I hope that this tool assists other autistic people in navigating the complexities of our health care system, to the extent that it is one. It is the least we can do as we seek reform of the system," said Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, Senior Policy Manager at AIDS United

"Importantly, this guide highlights concerns specific to autistic trans people of color, survivors of partner and family abuse, and others at the margins of the margins in our community," said Lydia X. Z. Brown, AWN's Director of Policy, Advocacy, & External Affairs. "This guide both offers information about rights under law, and practical advice for survival when people in power disregard the law as they often do."

"The Task Force is proud to partner with AWN on the publication of this groundbreaking handbook," said Kierra Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. "Creating a world where all of us can be respected and embraced as our full selves is at the core of our mission, and for far too long there have been very few resources for autistic trans people. This handbook is an example of our commitment to creating tangible resources for trans and non-binary people, in this case the critical area of healthcare settings and the need for cultural competency from medical professionals treating our autistic trans siblings," concluded Johnson.

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equity for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we've made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. For more information go to

The mission of Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN) is to provide community, support, and resources for Autistic women, girls, nonbinary people, and all others of marginalized genders. AWN Network is dedicated to building a supportive community where we can share our experiences in an understanding, diverse and inclusive environment. AWN is committed to recognizing and celebrating diversity and the many intersectional experiences in our community. Our goal is to dispel stereotypes and misinformation which perpetuate unnecessary fears surrounding an autism diagnosis. We seek to share information which works to build acceptance and understanding of disability. For more information go to

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