Making diagnostic imaging services transgender friendly

Creating a transgender-friendly radiology department or outpatient imaging center can be very easily achieved, say radiologists from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, who offer recommendations in an article published in the June 2019 Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.1

The percentage of adults in the United States who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) was estimated to be 4.5%, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. This represents an increase of 1% since 2012, the year that Gallup began tracking this measure. The company reports that the rise in LGBT identification occurred mostly among millennials, and that 5.1% of women identify as LGBT compared with 3.9% of men.2

Lead author Daniel L. Kirkpatrick MD, a fourth-year radiology resident, and colleagues, advise that this population may experience discomfort and fear of being discriminated against when seeking medical treatment. Use of appropriate terminology is important, starting with registration, intake and patient data forms. These forms should include “they/them/theirs” as well as “he” and “she” as personal pronouns, and forms should include an entry for both a chosen name and a legal name, which may be different. The authors advise that collection of gender identity include both a patient’s gender identity, followed by the sex assigned at birth.

A facility should have at least one gender-neutral restroom, preferably single occupancy. It should be clearly labeled for use by men and women.

If a patient requires a wristband for a procedure, it should list both a chosen name and a legal name, if different. Patients, however, should be addressed by their affirmed name and gender.

The authors encourage interventional radiologists in particular to focus on the clinical problem of a patient when obtaining clinical histories and performing physical examinations. Inquiring about a patient’s genitalia or transition-related surgery is only appropriate when radiologists need this information to provide clinical care.

In cases where interventional radiologists may be consulted to help manage postoperative complications from gender-transitional surgeries such as phalloplasty and vaginoplasty, the authors recommend that they become familiar with imaging which may be used after these procedures.

The authors include healthcare provider-oriented websites as sources of educational material in their article.


  1. Kirkpatrick DL, Stowell J, Grimstad F, et al. Creating a transgender-inclusive interventional radiology department. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2019;30(6):928-931.
  2. Newport F. In U.S., estimate of LGBT population rises to 4.5%. Gallup News: Politics. May 22, 2018. Accessed online June 10, 2019.
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