Still Here, Still Proud: Plume and FOLX Health

It’s Pride month, but it’s a little harder to celebrate this year. Compassionate, comprehensive LGBTQ+ healthcare is under attack across the country, and patients are suffering. It’s more important than ever to learn not only about LGBTQ+ history, but also about the current community – and how that community cares for its members. So just like we did during Black History Month, we’ve decided to use The Beat to boost the signal of current healthcare leaders and startups who are giving back to their own communities.

Even before the recent flood of discriminatory legislation, it wasn’t easy to be an LGBTQ+ startup founder. LGBTQ+ people are the targets of bias and discrimination, are less likely to be approved for business loans, and receive less than 1% of venture capital funding. Of course, in an intersectional world, non-white, female LGBTQ+ founders are up against even more terrible odds. And yet, they succeed.

Here at ScriptDrop, we believe that in order for American healthcare to meet the needs of the people, the startup environment needs to reflect all the diversity of our country. So without further ado, let’s get learning!

Today we’re highlighting two telehealth companies that focus entirely on the needs of the LGBTQ+ community: Plume and FOLX Health. Both companies offer comprehensive care, a supportive community of clinicians and other patients, and secure portals for virtual appointments and messaging.


Founded: 2019

Founded and currently led by: Dr. Jerrica Kirkley, CMO (she/her) and Dr. Matthew Wetschler, CEO (he/him)

What services does Plume provide?

Plume provides gender-affirming hormone treatment (GAHT) and telehealth care for trans and nonbinary adults. It uses a direct-to-consumer model, allowing patients to seek out care independently. Patients sign up for a monthly membership which includes video appointments with trans-health experts, a personalized treatment plan, prescriptions for gender-affirming medications such as hormones, lab work, and progress monitoring. Plume also provides a wealth of support and resources to help patients thrive day-to-day, like support groups and medical letters for legal name or gender marker changes.

Plume is currently available to patients in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The monthly membership is $99 for most patients regardless of insurance coverage status, but can be less if patients have an eligible insurance plan and live in an eligible state. Prescriptions can either be provided by the patient’s preferred local pharmacy or delivered directly to the patient’s home.

What makes Plume special?

Plume was founded for trans people, by trans people. Dr. Jerrica Kirkley has been providing gender-affirming care throughout her career, but when she transitioned, she saw firsthand how a lack of cultural and clinical competency can hurt patients. She wanted to offer better care in a safe space. As Dr. Kirkley said in a 2022 interview with Wharton Digital Health, “For our community, we knew [virtual care] was important beyond the pandemic,” because trans people are stigmatized – even by healthcare professionals.

As an organization, Plume is keenly aware of the obstacles trans people face in the United States. They offer resources for Plume members who move to a different state, become incarcerated, or need to apply for grants in order to afford hormone therapy. As states propose and pass rules and restrictions on gender-affirming care, Plume is working to stay within the law while continuing to help their patients. On their website, they even include a guide on how to navigate the pharmacy and how to refill testosterone (classified as a controlled substance in some states).

FOLX Health

Founded: 2020, fully launched in 2021

Founded by: A.G. Breitenstein (they/them)

Current leadership: Liana Douillet Guzmán, CEO (she/her)

What services does FOLX Health provide?

FOLX Health is also an LGBTQ+-focused telehealth company, but their mission is slightly broader than that of Plume. FOLX’s services include:

  • Monthly memberships for hormone therapy. Memberships combine virtual appointments, lab work, and home delivery of medication. The cost ranges from $60-140 a month, depending on the hormone and the patient’s needs.
  • Monthly memberships for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications. Memberships are $90 a month for unlimited access to clinicians, lab work, and three-month supplies of medication shipped to the patient’s home.
  • Virtual primary care appointments with culturally-competent providers. Appointments can be scheduled for general health and sexual health concerns, as well as for referrals to specialists.
  • FOLX is also launching a mental health service specifically for LGBTQ+ patients (currently available to patients in Colorado, Florida, and New York).

What makes FOLX Health special?

Like Plume, FOLX was also inspired by personal experiences. As A.G. Breitenstein wrote in a 2020 Medium post,

I can’t count how many times I have had the following conversation: 'Yes, I’m sexually active. — — No, I don’t use birth control. — No, I’m not worried about getting pregnant.' Then comes the awkward pause and the confused look. And I usually wait a beat too long because I’m a smart ass. And then I add, 'I don’t need a lecture on how babies are made — I’m gay.'

Breitenstein wanted to deliver a different care experience for LGBTQ+ patients: one that didn’t require patients to explain themselves over and over.

As they’ve grown, FOLX Health has remained fully engaged with the LGBTQ+ community. Like Plume, they are also navigating recent legislation and doing their best to continue supporting patients in Florida and other states. Their recent blog article, “How to Thrive at Pride: the FOLX Survival Guide” not only directs readers to useful resources about safe sex and sobriety, but also takes an honest and empathetic perspective on the current political environment LGBTQ+ people face.