Monica Roberts

Stupid Medical Profession Tricks

Filed By Monica Roberts | July 27, 2010 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: medical, Monica Roberts, trans discrimination, transphobia

One of the things that continues to be an issue in the trans community is the medical flatline2.jpgnegative treatment that trans people receive at the hands of people in the medical establishment.

While some doctors, nurses, EMT's and other medical personnel are caring, compassionate and professional, we have some nekulturny fools in the bunch as well.

We have doctors who fail to live up to the Hippocratic Oath, and nurses, EMT's and other medical personnel who are more concerned with maintaining their faith-based bigotry of trans people than providing the quality medical care their trans patients need and deserve.

Even at the expense of that trans person's life.

ts-Tyra Hunter_50th and C street.jpgThe nightmare scenario for many transpeople took place almost 15 years ago on August 7, 1995.

Tyra Hunter was on her way to work in Washington, DC, when the car she was riding in was involved in an accident. She was refused timely treatment by DC Fire Department EMT Adrian Williams and later at DC General Hospital that would have saved her life.

Worse, while Williams was not treating Tyra, he took the time to disrespectfully mock her. And what was his punishment? A promotion by the DCFD.

Sadly, the less than stellar treatment trans people receive in medical facilities still happens.

I had a transwoman recently e-mail me about her needing to call in her congressmember to get her Medicaid application approved that she filed in April 2007. They glacially dragged their feet on a process that normally takes only 90 days for kidney patients. She heard nothing about her status until July 2008. Once the congressmember's staff started making phone calls on her behalf it was approved two weeks later.

To add insult to her injury, she endured a jacked up transphobic medical experience while getting needed kidney dialysis treatment.

Less than 24 hours after reading her e-mail, I heard the story about a transwoman getting disrespectfully treated July 18 at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN.

Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie IN.jpgHer life partner took her there because she was coughing up a large volume of blood.

The patient showed emergency room intake staff her Indiana state ID, which had her female name and female gender marker in clear print on it.

So what did the Ball Memorial ER staff do? Logged her into their system as a male.

The fun and games continue. They proceeded to ridicule the patient and loudly refer to her as "it" while the patient's partner was disrespectfully asked by these infantile health care "professionals" if she was a "he/she." To add even more insult to injury, the patient was quizzed about her length of time as a "transvestite."

That incident was so jacked up a protest is going to take place there on August 17, and a petition is already circulating on the Net condemning it.

ts-robert eads.jpgMedical disrespect and poor service happens to our transbrothers as well. Just as Tyra Hunter is our nightmare scenario, Robert Eads has the same significance to many transmen.

They will sadly recall how he was refused medical treatment by two dozen doctors for the cancer that took his life in 1999. His story is detailed in the 2001 documentary Southern Comfort.

And that's before we even get started with pharmacists who refuse to fill hormone prescriptions on specious faith-based grounds or if they grudgingly have to do so, disrespect the trans person availing themselves of their services.

So, yes, there's a lot of work we must do to ensure that no transperson is denied care or mistreated while receiving it.

But at the same time the medical profession needs to look inward, do the right thing and come down on those people in its ranks who presume their religious beliefs and transphobic attitudes outweigh their solemn oaths to do no harm and take care of all patients who seek their services.

And the point also needs to be driven home to the medical profession that "all patients" includes trans people as well.

Crossposted from TransGriot

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stephanie trower | July 27, 2010 3:27 PM

Thank you

I live in the uk where such crap treatment towards trans people is banned by law especially by so called professionals.

It breaks my heart to hear of such terrible bigotry.


It amazes me that this sort of thing continues. Thank you for letting us know and keep sounding the alarm.

It amazes me that this sort of thing continues. Thank you for letting us know and keep sounding the alarm.

My order for hormones is not being processed. they are saying I'm too old! 56 is too old???

Of course, I have heard horror stories of how trans veterans have been treated by the VA medical "professionals" over the last three decades. It is a problem that has a solution, but the VA is still holding off in putting out the new policy. Rodney Dangerfield got more respect.

I was just a little surprised at the negative treatment that was aimed at me - in Ft. Lauderdale -- of all places (not Broward General, they were wonderful). Once someone tweaked that I was trans on the third day, I was immediately moved away from my roommate (with whom I had developed a good connection to a private room where the door was ket open. Once there nearly every CNA, housekeeper ans a few of the RNs just glared at me everytime that one would walk past my door. They also usually ignored any call for assistance.
These women (for they al were women) shared a commonality, they were all from the Islands, home of superstitious level Fundamentalist Xtianism.

On the other hand, 300 miles north, in Gainesville the only hassle was when the Dr who oversaw my diagnostic week and did my Colonoscopy was going over every one of my tests with me in a sweet and compassionate way, finished her review of the CAT Scan findings by saying..."and they also found "something" that none of us expected! (angrily) Would you like to explain that, Missy?"
She was terribly unhappy that I hadn't told her that I was a womon with a transgender history.

I smiled sheepishly and explained that a) she was in and out of my room so fast each time I didn't have time to do ought but answer her direct questions and that b)I truly do forget, I've been me for 13 yrs.

Her intense reply was, You really must tell your Doctors this, it could be important."n She then chuckled and went on to discuss further treatment plans with her normal good humor and compassion.

This is more like what my experiences in Gainesville have been like, Thank the Goddess.


Care for Transgender Veterans has improved greatly. Currently, in the VA Healthcare Systems there are 18 VA Hospitals that have LGBT EEO Special Emphasis Program Managers. I head the Phoenix LGBT, we have had inservice education, over the past 2 years there has been a Transgender Support Group that meets weekly, Transwomen get treated through the Women's Clinic for the postop, their is a therapist on staff along with endocrinologists that have had training for the dispensation of hormones and the mammography department gives routine breast exams for breast cancer screenings inclusive of Transwomen. I have used the services being a Veteran and have always been treated with dignity and respect.