Episode Six: What It’s Like To Be Trans In The Exam Room
Navigating the healthcare system isn’t easy for anyone, but this episode examines the particular challenges trans and gender nonconforming people face accessing quality and affirming care. What can those both inside and outside the healthcare system do to improve health outcomes for trans and gender nonconforming patients?
What don't I know?
Morgan Givens says that healthcare providers, journalists and others have a massive lack of knowledge about the experiences of trans and gender nonconforming people. Without immersing yourself in history, narratives and first-hand experiences of trans and gender nonconforming folks, you don’t know what you don’t know. For many trans and gender nonconforming folks in the healthcare system, this lack of knowledge means that they end up having to educate their providers on how to treat them.
What did you learn from Nick Smith’s story about “trans broken arm syndrome?” Did hearing the personal stories in this episode challenge any of your assumptions about the health needs of transgender and gender nonconforming people? Have you ever anticipated or experienced neglect or dismissive treatment by a health professional? If you are a health care provider, how much education do you have on the particular health needs of patients of diverse gender identities?
How much do microaggressions matter?
As many as a third of trans patients delay necessary health care because they are worried about having a bad experience at the doctor. These experiences can range from intentional mistakes to those born out of ignorance, but the impact is the same: poorer health outcomes.
Microaggressions inside and outside the health care system — like being misgendered, asking invasive questions or deadnaming (the non-consensual use of a trans person’s given name) — can take a toll on people’s mental and physical health. Educator Rebby Kern digs further into the data, explaining that 72% of transgender and gender-expansive young people report hearing their families making negative remarks about LGBTQ people, and youth who are transgender or gender nonconforming are more likely to engage in self harm and experience anxiety and depression.
What types of microaggressions did this episode draw to your attention? Did this episode challenge any of your beliefs around the importance of language? How much do you know about education around gender in your community’s schools and community institutions?
Want to dig in further?
- PBS Frontline’s “Growing Up Trans” >>
- Standards Of Care For Treating Gender Nonconforming People >>
- U.S. National Transgender Survey >>
- Understanding Pubertal Blockers >>
- Trans Journalist Association >>