I hate visiting the doctor, I hate it to the point where I have to pretty much be on the verge of death before I’ll visit a doctor. Part of the reason is the usual lack of punctuality for almost any doctor that I’ve been to, and part of it is because I am transgender. Today I was in so much pain that I forced myself to see what my wife refers to as a “Doc in a Box”, basically it’s a quickie clinic that is normally filled with kids sick from school or people looking to avoid a large co-pay from their insurance companies. They are still, however, a doctor and can do any of the doctorly things a general practitioner would do.
So I went into Patient First in Richmond, VA as I was already in town shopping for groceries for the house. The wait was fairly short, as was the visit with the doctor. I explained why I was there and what the problem was. For those of you reading that are curious I have a lump in my throat on my right side, and really have no effing clue what it is…still. It’s painful to swallow, turn my head and even breath at times if there is pressure on that side of my neck at all.
The first thing that the medical assistant did was do a swab test for strep, which I expected because let’s be honest, a lot of people don’t know strep from just a sore throat. When that came back negative, the doctor finally saw me. His examination consisted of looking in my ears and shining a light in my throat, all the while keeping as much distance from me as he could.
He asked me if I was taking any medications, I told him that I was taking testosterone. It was then that he demanded to know “what for”. I told him that I was transgender and it was for hormone replacement therapy. He nearly sneered at me and took a step back. I then had to tell him more than five times the list of medications that I am allergic to. (Such a huge list at only three items). The doctor never told me what he thought was wrong with me and instead said he was going to give me some antibiotics to deal with “that thing” and gestured towards me.
He printed about seven sheets off from the printer in the room, thrust them at me and then left the room as quickly as possible.
It is times like these that make me detest going to see a doctor. I absolutely refuse to see any doctor in an emergency room. I would rather die than go to the ER while conscious. The sad thing is the way I was treated is not the exception but rather the rule for anyone that is transgender and reveals their status to a medical professional.
I once met a transwoman that was harassed and mistreated by hospital staff so badly that there was a discrimination case opened on the matter. They refused to treat her, and instead only referred to her with derogatory terms before discharging her from the ER. She had broken her foot and went untreated until visiting another hospital.
This is the common type of treatment we get, and from so-called professionals. When you are a medical professional or any professional for that matter, you need to be able to put your own personal biases aside so that you are able to fairly treat each and every patient you treat equally. You never know, when your biases result in the death of someone…