Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Being Gay and Gender-Fluid -- Don't Expect Respect

Hey folks,

Sorry about the long lapse in blogging, I've been having 15 hour days, so extra time is dedicated to sleep. But alas, I'm here and queer, and very angry.

So today I participated in a preliminary research study on asthma and allergies. This visit was about getting my medical history, testing my lung capacity, and testing me for allergies to put my information in a bank to be drawn out for various studies (which pay big money...chachangggg). Now, usually I have decent luck with doctors. But this was not a pleasant visit on multiple accounts. For being public health representatives, these doctors had no sort of empathy or compassion, let alone understanding.

The first offense: Homophobia. So she asked me if I was sexually active, and I said yes. Then she asked me how many men I was having relations with. I told her none. She looked at me oddly and questioned my first affirmative answer. I replied "I'm gay, I sleep with women." She looked me dead in the eyes and said "Oh, that doesn't count."

EXCUSE ME? My sexuality doesn't count? If you only wanted hetero responses you should have asked "Are you sexually active in heterosexual relations?" (not that I wouldn't be offended by that either). I'm sick of society assuming that there are A. No STI's or diseases that can be spread in lesbian sex, B. There is no "real" penetration in lesbian sex, and C. Women want to sleep with men, and if they sleep with women it's not because they actually care about it or it's just an experiment and consequently doesn't count.

The Second Offense: Transphobia. While filling out one of the surveys, I told her that I go by my middle name "Rae" not my legal first name "Sarah." She looked at me and said that she doesn't do nicknames, she does legal names. Cool lady, real cool. Then I got to the dreaded "Circle one of the following... Gender: Male or Female." I looked up and said that when they print off more copies of this sheet they should change "Gender" to "Sex" since that's what they were really asking, and that they should include "Intersex."

She told me they don't include intersexual individuals in the studies. Which, HOLD THE PHONE, 1 in 2,000 newborns are intersex, I think they need asthma treatment too. Not to mention intersexuals have different biology in terms of reproductive systems, not lungs. Then she told me "You would be the type to want to not want it to say gender."

Excuse me? I look the type? What does that even mean? Because I'm gay I automatically want to transgress gender? I should note, she didn't know my gender identity previous to this. When I explained I don't identify as either gender, she said that if I didn't pick female that I wouldn't be used in the study. What did I do? I wrote in "Gender-Fluid" next to the gender. Don't ask for gender if you mean sex, and if you ask for either, you best lay out all the options.

The Third Offense: Lack of Empathy for Medical History. So here's where things get real personal. I have a history of struggling with anorexia, it was a long battle and I've been in remission for a full year and three months now. When I told her about it (part of giving medical history) she looked at me with this disgusted look and judgment in her eyes saying "Which one is that again? The one where you starve yourself?"

As a medical professional, this should never occur. Anorexia is a disease and should be treated as such. You should NEVER judge, blame, or ridicule a patient for such. But unfortunately both society and medical professionals view anorexia as a choice, something crazy people do for attention. Talk to anyone battling anorexia, it's not a choice. It's not nearly that simple, it's a crippling disorder that consumes your life and can lead to death if untreated for too long. This isn't something to scoff about.

I don't plan on ever going back to that place, helping doctors who don't have enough respect for their patients to maintain them. Doctors visits should be relatively pleasant, and shouldn't leave you with disgust, guilt, or shame. We need to rework how the medical world views diseases and social concerns. I understand they are only human, they have their biases like everyone else, but if you work in a place that helps people of every background imaginable, you should have no choice but to put judgements and bigotries on the shelf in the locker room. As far as I'm concerned, bigotry only deteriorates patient's health, never improves it.

Signed a very angry queer,



  1. Seriously all I can think is "WHAT?!". What an ignorant ass hole. You shouldn't be allowed to do any of that if you don't know what the definition of anorexia is. And you really shouldn't be allowed to work in a profession like that if you're so insensitive to people's diverse backgrounds!

  2. I can't believe you had to go through that crap! Completely ridiculous and aggravating. As if the gender/sex and nickname remarks weren't enough, to be THAT insensitive to a disease like anorexia when you're a "medical professional" is just disgusting.

  3. that is fucking rediculous! you should report it to the upper levels of that company, because that is fucking harrasment, straight up.*hug* sorry that she was a douche bag and a half.

  4. I would definitely look into reporting that bitch, it's completely unacceptable!

  5. Wow... I don't know what that girl is doing there, but she does NOT deserve to have a job working with fellow humans. No compassion whatsoever...it's so depressing. She needs to be fired ASAP. I thought medical professionals, no matter how low on the totem pole they may be, need to be open minded and, well, PROFESSIONAL. This makes me sick.

  6. A few thoughts (with my famous cynical wit):

    Since there's no dick involved, clearly you should've known that it didn't count. I mean, come on! what's wrong with you?

    While homosexuality is a choice, gender is not. Whatever is between your legs defines you. Intersex people are freaks of nature that should've been surgically corrected at birth.

    What do you mean, "anorexia isn't a choice"? Of course it is. It's all in your head, after all. No diseases happen there, unless you're a pedophile or a necrophile.


    In all seriousness, though, what the fuck is wrong with the person asking questions? I don't think I've ever met someone with such a terrible bedside manner, even when they believe such things! I'd half expect them to walk up to someone who had a stroke, kick them in the leg, and tell them to quit faking.

  7. So Is It Okay To Be Gender-Fluid and Gay?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I'm genderfluid and gay. Why wouldn't it be OK.

    3. I'm genderfluid and gay. Why wouldn't it be OK.

    4. I'm gender fluid in gay why wouldn't be ok

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Because I think I am... I hope it isn't a Bad thing... :(

  10. So Is It Okay To Be Gender-Fluid and Gay?

  11. I am gender fluid and gay born with male genitalia. I went to donate blood one time at a plasma center and they provided me with question after question after question after question until the very end and ask have you ever had gay anel sex and of course I had to say yes .I'm so sorry we can't help you go away. They were very rude to me when they found out that I have had Anel sex. I had wasted three weeks of my time going back and forth with appointments coming up question ears and taking blood tests . I Didn't find out till later that anyone having anal sex cannot donate blood or plasma in the United States. In this day and age that is still a law. that disgusts me

  12. Just read your blog - as recently (@36 years old) finding myself as relating as Asexual and having empathy for others on the LGBT+ alphabet soup I find this irritating, annoying and a discrimination to a degree or more.

    While I have better male friends I prefer female doctors, I have my friends to speak to who understand, the doctors realize I know what the * I'm on about (my old doctor signed the prescription 9/10 - a couple of questions once in a while with my depression and done).

    Rae - I understand you were upset and I hope you can/have find a good doc out there among all the quacks and garbage. As from now I will always state 'other' in forms if needed.

    I'm personally waiting for the time when I get a department which I don't like and I will fill in the 'do not write in this space' "I have Asperger's(autistic spectrum), I'm Asexual and also Pagan. Care to complain?" - all true.

    Also an aside my my best friend's step-daughter (14) is Pan-Romantic, my ex neighbour is(was) Lesbian and I have another friend who is Pan-Sexual with a person transitioning from M to F - she sounds like a keeper and they are happy together. :)

    Whatever happens in life - know that there are people out there that accept, understand and will love unconditionaly.

    Be well all..