How to combat health care discrimination

Ever broken a bone? You know your first thought: “Ouch!” But what if said health care worker was too busy asking about your gender identity instead of focusing on mending your broken bone? Sure, it’s essential to record and review medical history, but why would questions about hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery be relevant in that case?

A term exists for this phenomenon: trans broken arm syndrome. It’s when a healthcare provider – consciously or not – assumes all manner of medical issues results from a person being trans.

Transgender people require equitable health care just like anyone else – and experts advise using all the tools in the trans community’s arsenal to fight discrimination.

Douglas Knutson, Oklahoma State University assistant professor in counseling and counseling psychology, co-authored a paper for the Journal of Research on Women and Gender in 2016 called”  ‘Trans broken arm’: Health care stories from transgender people in rural areas.”

When he started researching access to mental and physical health care for trans and nonbinary people, he discovered that individuals seeking treatment faced negative experiences, particularly in rural areas.

“I think at its core, a trans broken arm is about not allowing trans people to be people,” he says. ‘Tears of joy’:Mj Rodriguez, the first trans performer nominated for lead drama Emmy

Paula Neira, board secretary of Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, puts it this way: “Whether I have a penis or a vagina doesn’t matter because I’m here for a broken arm because somebody kicked me in the arm.”

Such biases could have deadly consequences, according to D. Ojeda, health policy advocate for the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“These biases impact the ability for a provider to identify serious medical conditions before it becomes too late,” Ojeda says. “And unfortunately, even sometimes fatal, because they aren’t able to identify it based on their biases.”

Something cisgender people forget – likely because they’ve never juggled feelings of gender dysphoria – is that “being transgender is not a medical condition,” Persephone Rose, a 28-year-old nonbinary transgender woman, says. It’s only something that you can discover for yourself.

Gemma Broadhurst
Gemma Broadhurst is a 23-year-old computing student who enjoys extreme ironing, hockey and duck herding. She is kind and entertaining, but can also be very standoffish and a bit evil.She is an Australian Christian. She is currently at college. studying computing. She is allergic to milk. She has a severe phobia of chickens

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