5 Horrible Ways the U.S. Health Care System Fails Transgender Individuals

Picture This:

You are in a car accident and are rushed into the ER. Doctors move you from the stretcher to the hospital bed, remove your clothing, and immediately seem shocked to see that your genitals do not match your outer physical appearance. Instead of focusing on your broken bones, they are too concerned with your genitals to address the real concern.

This scenario may seem like it’s unlikely, but several trans patients have to experience this type of scenario every year. While most of us do not like going to an ER or even the doctor’s office, for transgender individuals, this experience is typically much worse.

  1. Obsession with Gender Status instead of Medical Concern

@TerokNorTailor states: Went to ER for concerns about possible burst ovarian cyst. Told doctor I was transgender and she asked if I had testicles. #TransHealthFail

Often when a trans patient needs medical assistance, the provider is so concerned with the patient’s genitals, that the doctor sometimes do not address the real concern. Doctors sometimes spend more time interrogating trans individuals about their gender status instead of focusing on treatment.

  1. Immense Pressure from Medical Providers to be “Trans Enough”

@KimberNicole360 “how can you be trans? You’re not wearing a dress, no makeup, and you need to shave”… from a gender therapist”

Sometimes providers use gender norms to evaluate whether or not they believe a person is entitled to getting hormone replacement therapy. If doctors do not believe the person is “authentic enough” to have gender dysphoria, then they may deny the individual necessary prescription drugs.

  1. Outright Abuse and Discrimination

@ciabr My first endocrinologist repeatedly molested me, saying it was ok because he was “just checking for growth” #transhealthfail

Medical professionals may feel that their professional status entitles them to power, but they have NO right to abuse anyone. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey of roughly 6,000 trans people, 28% of them stated that they experienced sexual harassment by a doctor.

  1. Can’t Afford Treatments

Sex change surgery can be up to $50,000, and is covered by few insurance companies. Transgender individuals are four times as likely as non-trans people to live in poverty. While the reassignment surgery is covered by very few insurance companies, many trans people are denied coverage because their gender does not correlate with their genitals.

  1. Lack of Understanding about the Lives of Trans People

@codenameradical My primary when I came out barely even knew what trans was. Changed primaries out of concern at a lack of familiarity.

Some health providers have little education about the experiences and medical needs of transgender individuals.

In order to improve the healthcare of transgender individuals across the nation, providers need to be educated about the health of transgender individuals. Patients should never feel scared to go to a doctor, and if trans people refuse to seek medical care out of fear, the health of citizens in this country will suffer.   Gender and sex are not the same, and providers need to focus on treating their patients instead of obsessing over their genitals.

Photo: Wikipedia

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