Content note: This is a post about birth control, sex, mild transphobia, and misgendering to the max.
So, I’m 19 (nearly 20!) and haven’t been on birth control for years. My hubby and I were using condoms for the first couple years and then that pretty much deteriorated, especially after learning cool stuff like how the pull out method is surprisingly effective.
I’ve been wanting to get an IUD for quite some time, for multiple reasons. I don’t want hormonal birth control (like the pill) because I really don’t want a body more full of femme hormones. I don’t want bigger tits and I’m scared of the dysphoria I’ve heard people experience just from having certain hormones in their bodies. I want to get one thing and then not have to deal with it again for a while, and since I don’t want kids for several years, a 5-year simple thing would be the best method.
(Plus, I’m a giant cum slut….)
Since I’ve started taking ADD medication, my ability to actually follow-through with stuff like this has gone up exponentially. I got my patient forms filled out at a generic family doctor place and had my consultation visit on Tuesday.
To be honest, I didn’t have super high expectations for any of this. Just business, get my shit done and go home. But because of the nature of my depression and how it interacts with dysphoria, I wanted to give myself an opportunity to talk to the doctor about how a hormonal IUD might affect my overall body chemistry as it relates to dysphoria. At the end of my patient forms, there was an option for extra information, and I wrote “Self-identifes as ‘genderqueer’. It’s kind of like ‘transgender’ but more gender-neutral. (It’s complicated…)”
As I sat in the waiting room, I heard the receptionists whispering to each other. “What’s [their] last name?” “Pickle.” (P.S. It’s not Pickle.) I’m used to this, so it was easily ignored.
After speaking with a nurse for a few minutes, I sat alone in one of those oddly-quiet rooms. When the doctor walked into the room, he was chuckling. He quoted what I had written about being genderqueer on my patient forms, and at first I thought he was amused with my idiosyncrasies having slipped into the text.
This was not the case.
He asked a couple questions/made comments like “Well you’ve got the long hair…” to which I replied that my husband has long hair also and it’s not a gendered thing for me.
(That’s not actually the shirt I was wearing, I just couldn’t find the Dalek one to show you how I was dressed that day. This is the basic idea though.)
He went on to ask me how it’s different from being bi. So I had to explain that. This entire exchange was lush with palpable condescension. I was not in a mood to be in a subservient position, so I handled everything really well. Conversation moved to the IUD, questions were answered, blah blah. They went to check and see if my insurance would cover it at all (answer: not a penny) and while the nurses were trying to figure that shit out, he came back in to do the general health check-ups like ears, eyes, etc.
While he was looking at my face to see my eyes, this happened:
Again, since I was feeling more aggressive and sure of myself than usual, my immediate response was “I make a pretty cute boy.” (Which honestly just came up from memory when one of my friends notified me that her aunt said as such about me.)
That was pretty much the end of the directly gender-related microaggressions. I was mostly unperturbed, tired and looking forward to getting home. I left with a prescription for a birth control pill which I will probably not fill. I was already thinking about finding another office that would let me split the payments for the IUD into a couple segments, since this office couldn’t do that.
It wasn’t until the next day that I really started to process all that transpired. Realizing that he was laughing at me as he walked into the room. Processing the condescension and identifying that it was a combination of sexism and ableism, plus the power position that a doctor is in over his patients.
The day after is when I really took the emotional toll of it all. I felt disrespected and invalidated in a number of ways. Gender has become more present in my mind now that other major issues have died down, so this is right on the heels of having some pretty weighty thoughts about how people treat me.
This is basically where I’m at now. My self-esteem is being fed by all these strong feminists I surround myself with, and I’m not going to tolerate bullshit. I will find a trans-aware doctor in the area. Shit, the main reason I said anything about my gender is that I’d like to be able to seek reproductive healthcare without being categorically treated like a woman, which is hard when you have a vagina. I probably should have taken the precaution in the first place to find a trans-aware office, but I honestly expected it to be a little more business-like than what I experienced.
To say the least, that office will not receive my business nor my recommendation in the future. I deserve better than being treated so poorly, even if that poor treatment is rooted in ignorance. It’s not my responsibility to educate medical providers about the medical needs of a portion of the population. What we learned from this experience is that even in fairly innocuous situations, doctors can be assholes and trans-related healthcare needs to be taught to practicing medical providers as well as students.
P.S. It probably goes without saying, but could you guess a couple of this doctor’s attributes? Older, white, cis. All the privilege.