Fresno doctor filling the medical void for the transgender community

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno doctor is filling a void in medical care for the Valley's transgender community.

That void was created after a well-known Selma physician, who specialized in transgender medicine, moved out of state. But patients now have a place to go to get the health care they need.

Jimi Pierson of Fresno is one of those patients. He was referred to Dr. Julie Nicole at Clinica Sierra Vista. She and her staff were vital in his journey to become the person he is today. "She's really supportive and she helps you feel better about yourself in every area," Jimi said.

Jimi was born as a girl and says he was three or four-years-old when he felt he was different. "I prayed every night that I would just wake up a boy," Jimi said.

Jimi was active in school and lived as a girl until he could no longer hide his true self. "I just kind of broke down and my parents are like what's wrong and I finally came out with it. And how were they? They were like, we knew,
we were just waiting for you to tell us and I was like, well you could have told me, you know," Jimi says.

To help other transgender people, Jimi started a Facebook page called Trans Connection to provide a way for the transgender community to share stories, experiences and most importantly, resources and referrals to physicians like Dr. Nicole.

The OB-GYN came to Fresno from San Francisco, where she also saw transgender patients. Her work at Clinica Sierra Vista fits in with the mission of the health care provider to serve the under-served.

Dr. Nicole said the medical needs of transgender patients aren't very different from any other patients, but there aren't enough providers who are trained with the right sensitivity. "It's all about treating the patient with respect. You may not understand what it means to be transgender, but you have to treat this person as an individual and treat this person with kindness and respect," said Dr. Nicole.

She said other valley physicians now call her to find out how to treat transgender patients and the results are rewarding. "It's very rare in medicine that we have a field that is so satisfying because 99.9% of the time I make my patients feel better," said Dr. Nicole.

And Jimi counts himself as one of those patients."I feel good about myself."

For more information on the transgender clinic at Clinica Sierra Vista call (559) 457-5800.
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