From RH Reality Check: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/01/30/psychological-medical-establishment-fails-transgender-patients/
by Molly Jane Knefel
January 30, 2014
Seeking health care when you’re sick or injured can sometimes be a confusing, nerve-racking, or frustrating experience. Patients, already in a compromised position, may not know how best to advocate for themselves or what rights they have. But for transgender and gender nonconforming people, just going to the doctor means risking mistreatment, misdiagnosis, hostility, or aggression.
A number of professional medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, have drafted resolutions in recent years affirming equal treatment for trans* and gender variant individuals.
And according to M. Dru Levasseur, transgender rights project director at Lambda Legal, 17 states and more than 150 jurisdictions now have protections regarding gender identity. “These are all great steps,” Levasseur told RH Reality Check. “But one of the things we still hear is that, when people are at their most vulnerable moment of need, like going to the hospital for emergency care, horrible things still happen.”
Indeed, while medical protections for transgender patients may be gradually increasing, many in the trans* community continue to experience disturbing levels of discrimination from health-care providers.
“Every once in a while I get really anxious about what would happen if I had a major accident and had to go to the emergency room,” Kara Baker, a researcher in plant pathology, told RH Reality Check. “I constantly worry about upcoming appointments with doctors or clinics I don’t know.” Baker, who identifies as genderqueer and prefers the pronouns “they/their,” says most of their negative experiences with medical care have been relatively minor, like a doctor or nurse using non-preferred pronouns. But those interactions still cause uncertainty, anxiety, and self-blame.
That anxiety can lead some transgender people to avoid seeking medical care when they need it. According to a 2011 survey of over 6,000 trans* Americans, a third of respondents had put off or avoided seeking preventative care, and 28 percent had avoided seeking necessary care. Patients may be flat-out denied treatment, and not just for transgender-related health needs—8 percent of people surveyed as part of a 2009 survey were refused emergency care, with another 8 percent denied necessary surgery. In the same survey, a staggering 70 percent of trans* patients had experienced abusive language, physical abuse, blame for their health status from health-care providers, or providers refusing to touch them.
Continue reading at: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/01/30/psychological-medical-establishment-fails-transgender-patients/