Sunday, April 29, 2012
It's a She/He He/She Situation
Do they misunderstand or do they not care? Are they transphobic or -- do they not care? These are the questions that filled my head as I sat at the table.
A transgender patient on a psych ward; MTF. I started off referring to her as "she". The others followed. The next day a doctor began referring to her as "he". It was a game of follow the leader.
Doctors; even psychiatric doctors; must think about a person's anatomy when treating a patient. It might be easier to think of a trans person as their biological gender when assessing what needs tending to medically. So, what's an MD to do? Practice patience with yourself and understand that it's not about convenience but about respect.
Is it easy for a girl with a lil' ol' masters degree to say this? I don't have "MD" tacked on to the end of my name and I don't claim to understand what goes on inside of a calculating doctor; but we need to make space for transgender individuals. Straight folks take up a lot of room. I am now exposed to another arena where transgenderism is not fully embraced.
Finding resources for mentally ill transgender individuals is not easy either. Placing a transgender person in a hospital is all about the "plumbing" as one of my co-workers said. If you put an MTF person in a room with another female and the MTF individual has not had reassignment surgery, it might be allowed. If the person has a penis and is rooming with another female, then there is a liability issue.
There is a lack of support, a lack of brain storming, and a lack of sensitivity, when it comes to anyone who is not heterosexual. With the little power that I have in my work environment, I can at least give the respect that is deserved. If he is not "he", refer to she as "she".