Last Updated on December 22, 2019
Transgendered man and woman Jaden Fields and Katelyn Burns have reported their search for healthcare as full of disrespect and disappointment.
These transgendered women aren’t referring to specialists in trans health. They are targeting OB/GYN offices.
In a HelloBeautiful article, Fields describes his experiences at an OB/GYN in Los Angeles:
“With testosterone, I stopped menstruating. It does a lot of other things, too, but my uterus is essentially on pause. There isn’t a lot of research about the long terms effects testosterone can have on my uterus because we are just starting to have enough trans people actually reaching geriatric age.”
This statement appears to openly acknowledges that a typical OB/GYN would not have the resources or the medical experience needed to treat a patient who is undergoing a testosterone hormone treatment.
Fields seems to indicate he is aware that there is very limited research available to treat someone in his position, yet demands that the OB/GYN take him as a patient despite several times being told that the facility in question was not equipped to diagnose or treat him for any ailments that are being cause by this “pause” of his not non-menstruating uterus.
In the article, Fields tells the story of how the attempts to get treatment by this same OB/GYN resulted in the office calling the LAPD on him because they felt threatened.
Similarly, Burns, a trans women and freelance writer for Vox, also describes her experience with doctors as ” a scary proposition.”
“The health care system’s lack of general competence with trans people absolutely is a deterrent for all trans people to go to the doctor,” writes Burns. “But when we do find good medical providers, we tend to stick with them.”
Understandably, having limited availability of studies for geriatric transgendered people, and subsequently limited numbers of doctors trained enough to treat trans patients can be stressful and intimidating. Still, Burns seems to consider this an attack on any transgendered person.
In the articles, the writers seem to note that only recently have there been enough transgendered people of elderly age available for doctors to be able to see the long term effects of hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgeries.
General practice doctors and OB/GYNs typically would not have this information readily available for reference, nor do they have doctors trained enough to take on transgendered patients.
As reported in the Huffington Post:
“Burns encountered this general lack of competence after seeking treatment for minor post-surgery complications. The gynecologist she was referred to was inexperienced in dealing with her issues and offered few solutions. After this, she decided it was time to find a new doctor. Her search ended when a trusted friend recommended one in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Here, she was treated with respect by a physician who was “worth every penny” despite being out of network.”
As acknowledged in the article, the discomfort that comes with going to the doctor as a transgendered person is immediately alleviated and “worth every penny.”
When doctors are given sufficient information prior to appointments, the authors indicate that transgendered patients have pleasant interactions, ultimately getting the treatment they require.
National File recently reported on the famous transgendered activist, Jessica Yaniv, complaining that a gynecologist refused to see her due to her transition:
Yaniv, who has been accused by Internet commentator and fellow transgender woman Blaire White of sexually targeting children, posted to Twitter to voice her frustration over being refused service by a gynecologist’s practice.
“So a gynaecologist office that I got referred to literally told me today that ‘we don’t serve transgender patients,’” wrote Yaniv. “Are they allowed to do that, legally? Isn’t that against the college practices?”
In a followup tweet, Yaniv wrote that “Gynaecologists form a part of the multidisciplinary team who engage with transgender and non-binary patients, either as part of the transition stage performing surgery or managing pre- or post-transition gynaecological problems.”
In emergency situations, the change in gender markers has even proven to be fatal despite the alleviation to the mind of the dysphoric patient.
In order to be considered transgendered, patients must suffer from gender dysphoria, meaning they experience psychological and bodily discomfort when presenting as the gender assigned to them biologically.
In May 2019, a transgendered man was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pain that was, in fact, a pregnancy.
The nurse, unaware of the biological gender of the patient, wrote it off as nothing life threatening. The patient was medically obese and had stopped taking a prescribed blood pressure medication.
This pain was actually labor, and the baby was eventually delivered in a stillbirth.
“The point is not what’s happened to this particular individual but this is an example of what happens to transgender people interacting with the health care system,” said the lead author of New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Daphna Stroumsa of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
The patient was classified as a man in the medical records and presented with masculine features, “But that classification threw us off from considering his actual medical needs,” says Stroumsa.
Huffington Post quotes another transgendered man, Ian Harvie over email:
“Initially, for me, I think the problem was fear of going to a doctor at all. I think that’s one of the major obstacles for getting trans people health care, is getting us over our own fears of the unknown in the doctor’s office,” he said. “I told myself a lot of negative ‘what if’ stories. What if physician or office staff are not understanding, or don’t know what trans is? Will I be mistreated or misgendered, intentionally or unintentionally? A more graphic fear was: ‘As a man, will getting in the stirrups for an exam make me feel like a girl?”
Huffington Post refers to this as “medical bigotry,” in what may cause a fear-of-doctors narrative to be driven further into the transgendered community.
With the change in definitions with the newest Diagnostic Standard of Medicine (DSM), there is far less emphasis on therapy for transgendered individuals, and instead a push for hormone replacing drugs and surgery. Some say this could be why the suicide rate in the transgendered community is equally high in both pre- and post-operation transgendered individuals.
Additionally, there is debate among those in the World Health Organization regarding what classification would cause the least amount of bigotry against transgendered people in the general population, because they believe that due to the nature of dysphoria, the transgendered person is likely more susceptible to a shaken equanimity when their diagnosis inherently questions their sanity in the feeling that they were born in the wrong body.
“The terminology is difficult because nobody likes anything,” Dr. Reed of the WHO said. “People have made suggestions that have been all over the map. One of the people at one of the meetings said we could call this happy unicorns dancing by the edge of the stream and there’d be an objection to it.”