I am… transgender
Alex Clare-Young confronts medical injustice as a trans person
People think that it is easy, popular even, to be trans today. That hasn’t been my experience and isn’t the experience of many trans people I know.
Just weeks ago, I needed some minor abdominal surgery to help alleviate some tricky and painful physical symptoms. I would have needed this surgery even if I hadn’t transitioned. My referrals were all in place so, I thought, we were good to go. I attended a consultation where, as is often the case, questions were focussed on my transition and ignored my symptoms. Later that evening, I received a frustrating phone call from the surgeon, stating that my funding had been denied.
I wrote to the hospital explaining my situation and the funding decision was reversed. I found out that the original decision to deny funding was based on an assumption that my symptoms were all related to mental, not physical health. I am trans, and I have a body, but medical professionals often focus on my mental health, believing that being trans is all in the mind.
This wasn’t the first time I had difficulties accessing medical treatment. My experiences have ranged from being denied prescriptions to nurses not wanting to treat me and all sorts of difficult conversations in between. Once, I went to the hospital about severe chest pains and was asked questions about whether I had had genital surgery! My trans friends and colleagues can tell similar stories…
Alex Clare-Young is training for ordained ministry at Westminster College, Cambridge. Alex’s website is www.transgenderchristianhuman.com
This is an extract from an article that was published in the October 2018 edition of Reform