By Morgan Dunlop
Oct 10, 2013
After years of self-questioning, hormone treatments and surgery, Chase Ross, 22, is now legally a man.
Ross was born a woman but always felt like something wasn’t quite right. After finding a network of transgender people online, Ross figured out what was wrong.
“I realized this has to be my life. This has to be me for me to be happy,” he says.
Since coming out as a transgender person, Ross has discovered that some of the hardest things to deal with are the most unexpected — like what happens at a visit to the doctor’s office.
“To add on to society’s hate, you have to deal with the doctor — the people you’re supposed to trust. It’s not fun,” he says.
Ross says he’s routinely asked irrelevant questions about his sexuality, name change and genitals.
However, he says one of the worst experiences was being refused treatment during a recent visit to a psychiatrist.
“She basically just went off on how she doesn’t know how to deal with anything trans-related, because it’s not her field of expertise. That kind of hurt because I wanted immediate help,” says Ross.
As an advocacy worker with Concordia University’s Centre for Gender Advocacy, Gabrielle Bouchard counsels hundreds of transgender people in Montreal. She says Ross’s experience is not unique.
The most common complaints she hears include medical professionals refusing to address a patient as the gender he or she identifies with, asking invasive and unnecessary questions, and — in some cases — refusing treatment.
“People will say, ‘I would rather die than go back and be misgendered or feel unsafe. So I will die of pneumonia before I will go back to the hospital,'” says Bouchard.