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Reform Magazine | December 13, 2018

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I am… transgender

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

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the October 2018 edition of  Reform

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