Catharine posted this comment:
“I rarely have gone to doctors. I’ve always received hormones through ‘other means’ and these days from online sources without prescription. I haven’t been to a doctor in years that know anything about me being WBT and because I’m not willing to open up about my past, it’s doubtful I ever will seek medical attention for anything if it is related to something that would be perceived as “trans”. I’ve heard too many horror stories and with the US doctors being allowed to discriminate based on religion, I wouldn’t even call 911 if I had to in the US.
In Europe I do go to the doctor but not for anything “T” related. In my job, early arthritis is common so I’ve been seeing a doctor about that but my “past” isn’t an issue and there’s no reason for me to bring it up.
I just don’t feel comfortable dealing with doctors who will most likely throw into the transgender category, because of something I did when I was a kid. I am too afraid to ever see a US doctor because of ignorance and hatred and the assumption that I’m like every other transgender person they’ve seen on the tele.”
I am afraid you have a false stereotype of American Doctors.
That aside the biggest barrier many of us have to receiving adequate medical care for any issue is not faith based hostility but rather lack of health insurance.
I’m not afraid to educate doctors when I have to. If I had been I would have had a far more difficult time in becoming in 1969 when I had to teach doctors what transsexualism was and wasn’t about. This was particularly true during the period of 1969-70 when I had social workers in the Berkeley welfare office using me as a test case in an attempt to get the federal government & California government’s medical assistance for indigent people to fund both SRS and employment training for me at a time when LBJ’s Great Society/War on Poverty programs were still functioning (although Nixon was already in the process of killing them and turning them into welfare).
They sent me to several psychiatrists who all wrote me what would be excellent surgery recommendation letters. During our conversations I educated them and came off so articulate that they didn’t see me as disabled. The Social Services Dept. needed them to see me as disabled. Finally a psychiatrist wrote the letter before meeting me.
Basically I photocopied chapters on hormones from Benjamin’s book as well as the Green & Money book and taught doctors what to do when it came to prescribing hormones.
Later I lived in cities where there were doctors who saw WBTs as patients and knew which tests were important to occassionaly administer.
Now my partner and I live in a place where we are pretty much disconnected from any other sisters residing locally so we do not have some one to ask. “Who do you see?’
When I had the serious problem of my implant forcing its way out through the skin I looked up a woman who was a board certified reconstructive surgeon who specialized in treating women with breast cancer. I automatically dismissed going to most of the male doctors because at that piont I just wanted the damned implants out. 35 years of one problem or another with them was enough.
I looked at her web site. I took Tina with me and asked for her to be with me during the examination. I made it clear she was my partner and that she could not be excluded.
I did not tell of my history. It was not relevant in this situation. Although were I undergoing a complete examination because of concerns for other issues I would tell since taking the hormones can have an impact on the liver as well as other matters such as blood pressure, clots, cholesterol etc.
We were treated with respect and dignity. I might add that the surgery was performed at Presbyterian Hospital and we were also treated with the utmost respect and dignity there.
Recently Tina had to see a doctor. She had lost a great deal of weight and was experiencing numbness of her feet and hands as well as other symptoms of major concern. I had to nag her for months. The Doctors we were referred to by my surgeon (who had removed the implants) did not see Medicare patients(Our government medical insurance for seniors and the disabled) but gave us a referral to a doctor who did.
Tina was open regarding her history. The doctor respected us as a couple and while he was not fully knowledgeable only asked a couple of unnecessary questions. Over the course of two visits he spent nearly 3 hours with us taking a history and making a diagnosis of diabetes. He was very thorough in his explanations of the ramifications and the necessary actions.
Fear or shame has no place in dealing with health issues. We sometimes have special needs. So do a lot of people. Why should we be any more embarassed than anyone else? We are equal human beings and have a right to be treated with the same expertise and respect as any other human being. Our transsexualism is just another medical fact and not some sort of shameful short coming.