How can Pharmacists improve gender-affirming care? An insider’s perspective

Editor’s note: Maeleigh Tidd continues to explore the role of pharmacists in the provision of gender-affirming care for LGBTQ+ people, and return to the Pharmaceutical Inequalities series with an interview of Dolyn Salm, a transgender pharmacy student at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Pharmacy. They discuss Dolyn’s experiences of navigating the US healthcare system during his transition, and his views on how pharmacists can be better prepared to support the needs of LGBTQ+ patients. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.

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History of LGBTQ+ Health and Ongoing Health Disparities & Inequalities

Editor’s note: Maeleigh Tidd returns with another contribution to the Pharmaceutical Inequalities feature, this time co-authored with a graduate student colleague, Lucy Abrams. Mae and Lucy discuss the history of LGBTQ+ health in the USA, and situate existing LGBTQ+ rights within the international context. They subsequently discuss how pharmacists play a key role in providing gender-affirming care, and how this can be improved upon. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.

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Resisting the pathologisation of women in research of alcohol and pharmaceuticals

I was recently reading Dr Jessica Taylor’s latest book Sexy but Psycho: How the Patriarchy Uses Women’s Trauma Against Them. Taylor is a working class, radical, lesbian feminist who has a proven track-record working with traumatised women and girls. In this book she argues for a trauma-informed approach to working with women and girls and documents the long-standing tendency by the patriarchy (systems that uphold male power) to pathologise them as a result of their traumas, reframe them as mental illness, and unnecessarily medicate them for these ‘disorders’.

Pre-existing research shows that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety and somatic disorders, borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, phobias, suicide ideation and attempts, postpartum depression and psychosis, eating disorders and PTSD (Riecher-Rossler, 2016). Furthermore, women are more likely to be diagnosed with multiple psychiatric disorders at one time (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2019).

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Women’s Fight for Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights

Editor’s NoteIn light of the forthcoming US Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v Jackson, Maeleigh Tidd provides her third contribution to the Pharmaceutical Inequalities series which considers its implications for women’s access to reproductive healthcare. In doing so, she reaches back to the 19th century to explore American women’s historical access to, and use of, contraception and abortion. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.


As we approach the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court ruling a women’s liberty to have an abortion, we were struck with a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion of overturning this Constitutional right for women. But, perhaps, this is only the beginning of the regression of women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health.  

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Disparities & Inequalities in Ending the HIV Epidemic: Treatment of HIV

Editor’s NoteMaeleigh Tidd delivers another thought-provoking post in our Pharmaceutical Inequalities series. She reaches back to the 1980s to consider how ACT UP protests led to greater affordability of HIV drugs, and argues that the persisting structural inequalities must be addressed by EHEI. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.


In 1987, six-years into the rampant spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and progression of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) leading to 40,000 deaths in the U.S., the FDA approved the first known antiviral drug for the treatment of AIDS. The approval of AZT (zidovudine) was the first scientific breakthrough in treating, and potentially ending, this “death sentence” of a disease. Yet, as the only treatment option available to the growing number of vulnerable and dying individuals with HIV/AIDS, it was outrageously unaffordable with a price tag of over $10,000 per year. 

This drug profiting and the overall poor response to the epidemic at hand, led to the formation of the non-partisan group Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), a group of LGBTQ+ activists ‘united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis’.

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Sex, Vaccines, and Drug Prescriptions

Editor’s Note: This post by Ejura Salihu is the third in our Pharmaceutical Inequalities series. Ejura’s experience of a disrupted menstrual cycle post-COVID19 vaccination prompted her to write a much-needed commentary on why medical trials repeatedly overlook women’s needs and health. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.

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Elizabeth Bass, The G-Woman at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics – Part 1

Editor’s Note: In the first of two posts which offer new additions to former ‘Points’ feature ‘Hidden Figures of Drug HistoryBob Beach explores the colorful career of Elizabeth Bass prior to her role as a G-Man within the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

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Criminalizing Addiction in Motherhood: A Modern Phenomenon

The third post in this three-part series on Drugs, Women, and Families is based on the valuable research of Jamie Feyko, who during my drug law seminar investigated how pregnant women with substance use disorders are treated in the United States. In short, they are blamed, villainized, and punished. The trend toward criminally charging pregnant women who use drugs with crimes began in the 1980s and has been growing ever since. Feyko’s review of major cases reveals the extent to which politics and racism drive this phenomenon. But she also contextualizes this history within a set of cultural assumptions about motherhood and pregnancy that leave many women with few options for treatment and care. 

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