needed to treat your condition. In this case you may need
to ask your personal physician to act as an intermediary for
you in explaining your sexuality and helping the specialist
understand what he needs to know to treat you.
Once, while I was on duty in the emergency room,
a transgendered person was admitted in extremis (near
death). The on-duty anesthesiologist placed a tube
in the patient's throat so that she could breathe. This
anesthesiologist later made several disparaging comments
about the patient to other staff members.
Well, the first thing we all did was to stabilize the
patient a life-or-death situation is no time to begin
Sex Education 201. But later in the day I had a chance
to talk with the anesthesiologist. I began by explaining
the different types of people who fit under the heading
of "transgendered." Doctors tend to be curious people,
so he began to ask questions about gender and
transgendered people. A half-hour discussion ensued
about who transgendered people are, what they want,
and what they do. I am sure this physician's views were
not completely changed, but by the end of the discussion
he had begun to question some of his assumptions. While
I hope he will go on to learn more about all sexual and
gender minorities, I believe he is today at least a little
more accepting of transgendered patients. Confronting
him, however, would not have helped at all, and might
have further entrenched his opinions of sexual minorities.
And he did perform the intervention that saved her life,
whether he approved or not.
It would be a better world if everybody were able
to listen to complaints and disagreements carefully and
without defensiveness but most of us don't live in such