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Fulton State Hospital's non-discrimination policy includes gender identification

Mo. Dept. of Mental Health

Missouri's only state-run mental hospital has updated its non-discrimination practices to include gender identity.

That's despite the fact that Missouri's legal definition of discrimination does not include or protect sexual orientation or sexual identity.

Marty Martin-Forman is chief operating officer for Fulton State Hospital. She says their transgender patients provided the inspiration to make internal policy changes.

"The issue of transgender is one of those that we've educated ourselves on," Martin-Forman said, "and that primarily began because we have clients we treat that have transgender issues."

She also credits the hospital's cultural competence council for providing a series of educational events regarding the LGBT community.

"For example, we have new training right now that talks about what name (a transgender person) would like to use, versus what name is their official name in the chart, and what can we do for clinicians to help them when they're charting and when they're speaking to individuals about being respectful," she said.

Martin-Forman added that the new policy also extends to any transgender employees who may work at Fulton State Hospital.

The moves are being praised by PROMO, which advocates for Missouri's LGBT community.

"As a state-run facility, Fulton State Hospital has gone above and beyond state law to ensure all of its patients and employees are protected from discrimination," said PROMO's Andrew Shaughnessy.  "In doing so, FSH created a welcoming facility where LGBT Missourians can seek care and work, without the fear of discrimination."

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.