FOLX Is the First Digital Healthcare Platform for Queer and Trans Community

A genderqueer person sitting in a medical exam room.

Broadly/Vice-The Gender Spectrum Collection (Creative Commons)

Key Takeaways

  • FOLX, the first telehealth platform for the queer and trans community, is set to launch on December 3, 2020.
  • The platform aims to improve the healthcare experience for LGBTQIA+ people by proving queer and trans-specific medical products and services.
  • With a focus on accessibility, trust, and convenience, FOLX wants to help the LGBTQIA+ feel respected and included in health care—an industry that has left them marginalized.

FOLX, the first-ever digital healthcare platform designed for the queer and trans community is launching on December 3. The platform's goal is to meet the specific health needs of LGBTQIA+ people—a demographic that is seldom acknowledged and respected in traditional healthcare settings.

LGBTQIA+ people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, queer, intersexed, agender, asexual, and ally community) are especially vulnerable to discrimination in health care, from humiliation and harassment to denial of necessary medical care. To avoid mistreatment, LGBTQIA+ people may delay or forgo medical care, which increases their risk of further physical and mental health conditions like depression, cancer, and chronic diseases.

With the help of LGBTQIA+ leaders and clinicians, entrepreneur and queer health advocate A.G. Breitenstein (she/they) founded FOLX to bring inclusion and equality to health care. 

"We're the first to focus on the full spectrum of the queer and trans community," Breitenstein tells Verywell. "The first to really focus on how to build an entirely new experience for this community given who we are, what we experience, and what we want out of health care."

FOLX Services

According to Breinstenstein, FOLX offers three pillars, or plans, that address queer and trans-specific medical needs: identity, sexual health and wellness, and family creation. 

Pillar I: Identity

For trans people, it can be difficult to discuss certain healthcare needs, such as gender affirmation. In fact, the National Center for Transgender Equality found that more than 50% of transgender individuals reported having to explain certain aspects of transgender-specific care to medical providers.

A.G. Breitenstein

Health care is so core to people's being and happiness. It's really about people just living their lives.

— A.G. Breitenstein

In the identity pillar, FOLX removes this barrier with LGBTQAI+ clinicians who can provide hormone replacement therapy and other services to support trans people in their transition journey. 

"[The identity pillar] is really about [building] a virtual healthcare offering around all the needs of folx that are doing a transition," Breinstenstein says.

Pillar II: Sexual Health and Wellness 

According to the Center for American Progress, 18.4% of LGBTQI people reported avoiding medical treatment out of fear of discrimination. Sexual health conditions such as HIV or HPV can have serious consequences if undiagnosed or untreated. 

To support LGBTQIA+ people in their sexual wellbeing, Breitenstein says that FOLX offers a wide array of services and products, including:

  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) kits and treatments
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) medication
  • HIV services
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to significantly reduce the risk of HIV
  • HPV testing

"Health care is so core to people's being and happiness. It's really about people just living their lives," Breitenstein says, adding that FOLX is committed to helping LGBTQIA+ people “have a happy, healthy sex life.” 

Pillar III: Family Creation 

Regardless of gender identity, family planning can be a process that is mired with confusion. However, for LGBTQIA+ people, discriminatory healthcare practices can make the journey even more complex and frustrating.

With 63% of LGBTQI people planning to use assisted reproductive technology, foster care, or adoption to become parents, it's essential that they feel empowered to make decisions.

Breitenstein says that the family creation pillar helps provide resources and support for LGBTQIA+ people looking to have children. People who could benefit from this plan might include:

  • Two women or two female-identified people who want to do reverse in-vitro fertilization (IVF) 
  • Two men looking for a surrogate 
  • A trans man who, after years of being on hormones, wants to bear children

"These are complex medical processes that are poorly served by most of the fertility and gynecological services out there today," Breitenstein says.

How It Works

Breitenstein says FOLX uses an informed consent model to ensure that all LGBTQIA+ people feel comfortable and well-informed when they are discussing their health and exploring different medical options.

Getting a Prescription Through FOLX

  1. A new patient will fill out FOLX's online intake form.
  2. A FOLX clinician (a physician or nurse practitioner) will thoroughly review the completed form. 
  3. The clinician will have a deep, informed-consent based conversation with the patient, ensuring that they understand the effects of any prescribed medication.
  4. The prescription medication will be shipped to the patient's home, usually within 3-5 days.

How Much Does It Cost?

"We're a self-pay service," says Breitenstein. "We don't take insurance. We price everything lower than a deductible or copay, so we make it as accessible as possible." 

FOLX plans start at $59 a month. Each plan includes the following benefits:

  • On-demand virtual visits with clinicians
  • Access to text notifications
  • The ability to get labs done in the home
  • Prescription medication delivered to the home 
  • Access to health education

"The way we think about our brand and ethos is to help people feel seen and heard for who they truly are," Breitenstein says, "Sometimes for the first time in their lives."

What This Means For You

LGBTQI people account for 4.5% of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, many face discrimination in our society. Becoming more aware of the health issues specific to the queer and trans community is key to making health care more equal and inclusive.

If you are part of the community, know that there might be LGBTQIA+ friendly medical providers where you live that can give you the compassionate, competent care you deserve.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Center for American Progress. Discrimination prevents LGBTQ people from accessing health care.

  2. Human Rights Watch. US: LGBT people face healthcare barriers.

  3. National LGBTQ Task Force. New report reveals rampant discrimination against transgender people by health providers, high HIV rates, and widespread lack of access to necessary care.

  4. Family Equality. LGBTQ family building survey.

  5. UCLA School of Law: Williams Institute. LGBT data and demographics.