Some tips for trans* people visiting the doctor

by Elliott D.

"We're not gonna take it Anymorrrrre!"

“We’re not gonna take it / Anymorrrrre!”

I had a rough week of emergency doctors’ visits and I’d like to try to see it as a learning experience. So I wrote some tips. Some of this is specific to my personal experience as a trans man on T, with top surgery, who has sex with men, with insurance, in Syracuse. But some of it may be helpful to others. The most important thing to remember is that your safety and comfort always come first!

1. Consider whether you need to disclose. If it isn’t relevant to your visit, you may have no need to. It’s your call, but it’s always an option to keep your trans status private.

2. If you decide to disclose: If you’re comfortable, provide as much as information on the form as possible. Personally, I prefer that to being drilled by the doctor. For instance, I wrote, “Transgender, female to male. Female genitalia.” I considered adding, “I use male pronouns: he/him/his.”

3. Bring a friend. Especially if you have trouble under pressure. Ideally, an assertive friend who knows you well and knows trans issues well. Someone you feel safe with. There is no reason they cannot go in to the appointment with you. They can help you remember stuff later. Plus many times doctors will just be on better behavior because someone else is there. If you don’t know someone, try a local LGBT center or group to find someone.

4. You have a right to say no. We are taught all our lives to respect authority, but doctors are just people. You can ask for a new doctor, walk out, refuse an exam, or refuse to answer uncomfortable questions on forms or aloud. A good doctor puts your comfort first.

5. “There is no such thing as an emergency pap smear.” -my doctor at the Mazzoni Center. Your comfort comes first. Don’t allow them to downplay past trauma or bully you into exams that don’t feel right.

Related specifically to STD testing: You can swab most things yourself. Urine tests can find most STDs. Shaming you, lecturing you, or asking invasive questions about your sex life is not cool and you don’t have to tolerate it.

Related specifically to the STD clinic in the Civic Center in Syracuse: I had a good experience with a woman named Tammy and a woman named Towanna. I have had horrible experiences with a couple others whose names I don’t recall. These women mentioned above said they would be happy having other trans people referred to them. I hope they treat others as well as they did me. See my post, An Open Letter to a Nurse on World AIDs Day. 

Another option: Come with us on our trips to the Mazzoni Center. CNY for Solidarity offers a free service that transports people to a sliding scale LGBTQ clinic in Philadelphia. For more information on this, contact us at cnyforsolidarity@gmail.com or call 315-464-0063.

For more information on this service, and to learn how you can help us keep it running, check out our Fundrazr page, Sponsor a Seat to LGBTQ Healthcare! 

Please do not hesitate to contact CNY for Solidarity for questions or referrals. Please also refer to our Syracuse transgender resource guide. General LGBTQ resource guide coming soon!

Report on Services and Expense

CNY for Solidarity is a VERY potent organization.  We thrive on volunteer hours and efficiently use our monetary resources to provide vital, tangible services to members of our community.

January 1 – April 15

With a budget of only $1200

And over 200 logged volunteer hours a month

Within only 10 weeks and resources listed above, we have:

Gotten people to 28 Medical appointments at Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia where

  • 11 received trans specific care.
  • 8 gained first time access to trans specific care
  • 4 had cancer screening
  • 5 had STI testing
  • 3 had issues stemming inadequate care in Syracuse addressed
  • 3 had mental health issues addressed
  • Most are continuing with follow-up and preventive health care regimens (only 1 has not continued care) EVERYONE has reported experiencing a profound improvement in their attitude about health care and quality of life, and efficacy as a result of their visit to Mazzoni Center. 
38 members of our community have made use of peer our support group where they were served a meal since beginning the Intersections program only 3 weeks ago.Literally tons of food have been distributed to our community through the Lost Boys’ Queer and Trans* Food Pantry project.

We have covered the expense of Incorporating.

And we are only a few weeks out from our second Queer Mart!

Intersections Cafe

At last night’s Intersections Cafe, we had an amazing turnout of 25 people! We drank coffee, ate pizza, and had some good conversations about what’s been going on in our lives: the good and the bad. Popular subjects seemed to be our struggles with discrimination, healthcare, and anxiety. There were many different identities represented from different walks of life, but I think most of us felt a real sense of community. Hope to see you at the next one! Here are some pictures.

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Trans* Writer and Activist Julia Serano to Speak at SU

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Trans* Writer and Activist Julia Serano to Speak at SU

TDOL 2

TRANS* INCLUSION ACTIVISM: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

7 PM APRIL 7 WATSON THEATER

In commemoration of the 3rd annual Trans* Day of Liberation, Julia Serano will draw from her new book, Excluded: Making Feminist & Queer Movements More Inclusive, to address the potential for trans* liberation.

Dessert reception and book signing to follow.

Julia Serano is an Oakland, California-based writer, performer, and activist who has gained notoriety in feminist, queer, and transgender circles for her unique insights into gender.

 

Intersections Café

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When: 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, 7-9 pm

Where: 500 Salina St., Syracuse, NY

Transgender, genderqueer, gay, queer, crossdresser, lesbian, asexual, bisexual, pansexual, whatever: As long as you are open-minded you belong at the Intersections Cafe! Come vent, share, or just listen… and have a FREE MEAL & COFFEE or TEA! (more details below…)

Continue reading

Syracuse Transgender Resources

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Trans* Resources for the Greater Syracuse and CNY Region

A Printable Brochure Presented by CNY for Solidarity.

We’re hoping to make more of these and expand our resources, but these are some of the basics of the services we offer and that are available in the Syracuse community. Please share widely and print if possible!

Meeting, February 3rd 2014 (Notes by Elliott)

In attendance: 11

Discussed:

  • Lost Boy’s Queer & Trans Food Pantry, partnering with SAGE
  • Incorporating CNY4S as a non-profit- does not include 501(c) which makes donations tax deductible, but can do so with fiscal sponsorship through another non-profit (SAGE)
  • Queer Mart: Westcott CC booked for May 3rd 2014, 4-8 pm. Early registration opens Feb 4. Two floors, approx. 15-20 slots. More info and meetings to come.
  • Grants?
  • Helping trans* people with free needle exchange at ACR
  • Future community center- project of CNY4S as opposed to separate? Law center, bookstore/café, meetings, headquarters, info, clinic?
  • Meeting at SAGE possible in future, sticking with Wegmans for now
  • Fundraising: panel about trans misconceptions and an auction instead of Queereoke?

A lot was talked about and it was a little scattered. Hopefully online discussions will clarify things over the next few days.

Committees

PHONE TREE

Working to create a hotline for trans* and gender variant people when they need a safe ride. Many of these people lack transportation and face verbal and physical assault when they must walk the streets. (Remind me I have some data and maps about where violence is most common in Syracuse. Hint: it’s everywhere)

Committee leaders: Jourdan and Mica

TRANS/GENDER VARIANT HEALTHCARE

Working to create a database of trans* friendly resources in CNY. It seems like there is currently no clear path or guidance available and everything is word of mouth, dependent on who you know. Long-term goal is to reform CNY healthcare to be trans* friendly, to have informed consent for hormones as opposed to outdated model, and to have a center or work with other centers to provide healthcare to trans* people in a safe space.

Committee leaders: Joey and Kenzi

QUEER MART

An arts and crafts fair for LGBTQ people and allies. The next one will likely be in April at the WCC once more. We also are looking into having one in Ithaca.

Committee Leaders: Blake, Elliott, Aila, Jourdan

SELF-DEFENSE AND EMPOWERMENT

Ideas for this include a R.A.D. (rape aggression defense) course that welcomes trans* and queer people of all genders. Other ideas- a more inclusive “Take Back the Night” style event. Long term: Adequate support for trans* survivors, queer survivors, of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, rape, assault, PTSD and eating disorders. Raising of public awareness.

Committee Leaders: Elliott, help from Mica, Will (?)

Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil. Syracuse, NY 2013.

Thank you to everyone who came out for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, thank you to all those who helped make it happen, and thank you to our wonderful speakers. It was an honor and privilege for CNY for Solidarity to help organize it this year.

18 candles were lit for the 16 transgender people murdered in the US, LaTeisha Green, and 1 for suicides.

18 candles were lit for the 16 transgender people murdered in the US, LaTeisha Green, and 1 for suicides.

Photo by Andrew Renneisen, Daily Orange Staff Photographer.

Photo by Andrew Renneisen, Daily Orange Staff Photographer.

Ellen Myers, Staff Writer. The Daily Orange. 

In front of a crowd at Syracuse City Hall on Wednesday night, Terri Cook said it was difficult to write her speech because it is hard for her to think about violence against the transgender community.

Cook was among a group of speakers at the Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil at city hall. The vigil honored the lives of those who died because of the expression of their gender, and included several representatives from the transgender and Syracuse communities.

During her speech, Cook said she attended the vigil to celebrate the life of LaTeisha Green — a Syracuse resident who was murdered in 2008 for being a transgender woman — in addition to others who lost their lives because of their identities.

As a mother of a transgender child, Cook wanted to be there for Green’s mother to let her know that her daughter’s life mattered to people more than just her family and friends.

“I have dreams, hopes and fears for my children,” she said. “But as a parent of a transgender child, there’s an added layer of worry and fear that I could never imagine or prepare for. There’s a fear that my son could be harmed or beaten or killedsimply for being who he is.”

Elliott DeLine, a recent Syracuse University graduate, led the vigil, which honored and immortalized those who have lost their lives this year for the way they expressed their gender.

DeLine read off the names of the 16 people in the United States who have been murdered this year for being transgender. Three more candles were lit for the murder victims in Brazil, those who committed suicide and Green.

Al Forbes, a graduate intern at the LGBT Resource Center, said the center decided to hold a vigil after Green’s murderer was released on a technicality during the summer.

“It shook up our community in Syracuse, knowing someone that was actively violent in a major way was released,” he said.

Forbes and other members from the Syracuse community spoke at the vigil, including Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, who spoke on behalf of Mayor Stephanie Miner.…

Meeting #2 Summary

In attendance: 6

  1. We discussed the Transgender Day of Remembrance and what we had heard about it from other groups. We are still a little unclear on it and want to have a meeting with the other groups to discuss it (TG Alliance, Embody, Q Center group).
  2. For those in attendance, Tuesday nights worked well for future meetings. We are going with every other week. This is the tentative plan, though if it doesn’t work for people who want to attend we can potentially change it.
  3. Some ideas and goals for the future: a “phone tree” for people who need rides places and are harassed on the street. An all gender inclusive version of an event like Take Back the Night. Queer arts and craft fair. Self-defense clinic. More graphics, pamphlets, and using the internet to spread messages (particularly tumblr).
  4. Blake and Aila volunteered to continue work on a resource list for the website.
  5. Elliott is still working on a PDF of the LaTeisha Green pamphlet for people to print and to put up on the site. Technical difficulties >.<
  6. We want to create a mailing list to keep people updated because sometimes facebook doesn’t work well.

We are still in the beginning phases where we are sharing ideas and brainstorming. As we have more regular meetings, we hope to get more focused with our plans. Next meeting is planned tentatively for October 8th.

If you would like to be included in the planning and scheduling of meetings, either contact us on facebook or email info.elliottdeline@gmail.com.