In an effort to offer comprehensive transgender services to a wider geographical area, Maine Family Planning will now be expanding its Open Door program with a trained provider at its clinic at 147 Waldo Ave. in Belfast.

The statewide program offers gender-affirming care, with in-clinic services available in Lewiston, Waterville, and now Belfast, according to Julie Jenkins, a nurse practitioner at the Belfast clinic.

Jenkins said until now, people were forced to travel to Portland, or as far away as Boston, to see a specialist. There are some private doctors who provide transgender services but the main obstacle is information and knowing where to go, she said.

"Many people didn't know this service is available," Jenkins said. "Sometimes folks would go off their medications because they didn't know where to find a provider.

"It's not easy," she said.

Two other providers, one in Bangor and one in Presque Isle, are currently being trained to offer transgender care.

"We're not at the point to offer this service at all of our clinics, but this will help so people won't have to travel as far," Jenkins said.

Family Planning clinics also offer "Tele-Health" services through a computer or iPad. Anyone can access a HIPAA-compliant clinic from anywhere in the state.

Services provided include hormonal transition therapy and monitoring for trans people 18 years old and older, onsite self-injection lessons for hormone injections, and referrals to specialty providers and community resources, as well as yearly wellness visits, preventive care, birth control and safer sex supplies, STD testing and treatment, and abortion care for patients of any gender.

“Gender-affirming care is a key tenet of reproductive justice, and at the core of Maine Family Planning’s mission,” Jenkins said. “I am glad to have the opportunity to offer that care, close to home, for Belfast and the surrounding community. It is very important.”

MaineCare, Medicare, and private insurance are accepted for covered services, and there is a sliding-scale fee schedule available for those without insurance.

Call 922-3222 for more information or to make an appointment.