Beings Trans in the Healthcare System: A Poem

Today I visited a doctor
and was surprised when he actually addressed what was wrong.
I was able to look him in the eyes,
joke with him about where we went to college,
and know that the tests he scheduled for me
were meant to address my worries and wellbeing.
I left with the unfamiliar feeling
of my needs being met.

Yesterday I visited a doctor
and he told me to undress for an audience.
He told me he wanted to examine my genitalia for growth
after telling me we were all going to become a family.
He held me hostage for six hours,
I was asked if I had grown a dick yet,
if my father was okay with this decision,
if I ever had an identity crisis,
if my transition made me want to stop having sex with men,
if I ever tried to kill myself,
what my breast size was –
while he was examining my breasts.
he laid me out on his examination table
and when I refused to continue to be his science experiment
he sent me for an ultrasound and told me
to come back in three weeks.
If I had shed all my clothes
and bore my naked self in front of him
like he had requested me to do,
he would have molested me.
How do I know?
He told me.

Two months ago I visited a doctor
who sent me to the man who wished to turn me into that research project,
Explaining that she would not continue
the life saving medication I have been on
for over three years
because that sort of thing was handled by a specialist,
even though it had never been handled by a specialist before
and she had sent me to the wrong specialist before
finally writing a referral to the correct specialist.
After I told her I wanted surgery to remove her breasts,
I think she just deemed me
too special for real treatment
and wrote me off.

Three years ago I visited a doctor
who respected me
and she has dashed me
because she has inspired a trust
in the healthcare system
that has since been ruined a thousand times;
it is so much worse when you know there are good ones out there
and positively destructive
to have to let them go.

Four years ago I visited a doctor
who provided me with the paperwork to start my transition,
my psychiatric letter of recommendation
I had learned about in a trans support group.
When I visited for the first time
he told me not to expect testosterone to change my life
then prompted me to ask him any questions he had
because he had been on testosterone for years
and suddenly I felt like I was an accessary to bragging
rather than a patient,
since it damn sure seemed to be life changing for him.

Four and a half years ago
I have learned that the trans community
is it’s own healthcare system
and the only medical referral you can trust
Is the word of a friend.

The average life span for a trans person is
45-56 years.

Every time I visit a doctor,
I’m unsure if I’ll even make it
that far.

I understand why
to be queer is to pack everything into your twenties.
You must marry,
succeed,
party,
face your fears,
find your passions,
and most importantly
fight to be free enough
to do it all
before you die.
That is because when you’re  trans,
being alive is not a right –
it is not something you take for granted –
it is a job you must work at every day.
One that takes a courage and a strength
that somehow must be mustered
for everyday tasks
like going to the bathroom
or going to the doctor
because you can’t guarantee
that the doctor isn’t going to try to
fix what isn’t broken
and ignore
what could be killing you.

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