As a medical student, I was lucky to receive training on how to properly address genitalia for transgender patients. Are there certain situations, etiquettes, or practices that you see in the medical community that you find unsuitable, insensitive, or ignorant of issues often faced by the transgendered community?
I’m so happy that you received this training because there is still a lot of work to do with regard to trans cultural competency in the medical field – unfortunately, not everyone receives that training so there are still a lot of practitioner’s who don’t know how to treat and advocate for trans folks. Many providers don’t ask about pronouns, or preferred names, or about what names individuals use for their body parts. Stereotypes are also pervasive and extremely problematic – there is this idea that all trans people have or are at risk for contracting HIV, that all trans women are engaged in sex work – these things are true for some of us but to focus exclusively on these stereotypes is dangerous and harmful. Medical providers need to understand that being trans is not in and of itself an illness – being trans doesn’t harm us, transphobia does. Many trans folks are suffering because of transphobia and the violence it perpetuates. Many trans folks are also thriving and demanding dignity. We need to demand a medical model that lets people take the lead in terms of what their care looks like, that creates opportunities for providers to really listen to patients. There are still so many barriers to be removed to insure that trans people have access to health care that is not only culturally competent but that is accessible, affordable, and safe.