Vaginal Discourse

[Content note: Transphobia, violence]

Eight years ago, when I came out to my HMO, they couldn’t give me proper healthcare. They didn’t know how to deal with people like me.

When I went to the co-op, they didn’t know what to do with my ID. They didn’t know how to deal with people like me.

I’d run across people in the street who didn’t know what to do with me. Once, a bunch of them chased me. Much more than once, they pointed and laughed.

I called a couple of fertility clinics to let them know that I needed to donate sperm. When I told them my name was Kate, they told me they didn’t know how to deal with people like me. Then they hung up.

I went on job interviews where people didn’t look me in the eyes, because they didn’t know how to deal with people like me.

When I found a fertility clinic that would store my sperm, they told me that they couldn’t put my name (“Katherine K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E”) into the computer, because people wouldn’t know what to do.

Shortly after I moved to New York, I sat through a murder trial where I heard an EMT testify that he paused for a moment when he realized the gunshot victim he was treating had a penis, because he didn’t know what to do.

When I moved back to Wisconsin, my new doctor didn’t really know what to do with people like me.

I had to get on an airplane for work, and the security agents didn’t know what to do with a woman whose x-ray looked like mine. They laughed.

I asked my HMO to cover my healthcare costs, but eight years later, they still didn’t really know what to do with people like me.

And now I’ve learned that Caleb Hannan, Bill Simmons, and the staff at Grantland (and an editor from ESPN.com) didn’t know what to do when faced with a story about a woman who was trans. A chorus of journalists has voiced the same sentiment. Journalists should do better, but dealing with trans people is hard for cis people.

Let me help.

Helpful hints on what to do when faced with a trans person:

1) Treat them like a human being.
2) Do your fucking job.

PS: If you do happen to fuck up, don’t act like you’re the first person in the history of the world to stumble into transphobia. Apologize and take your hateful shit down. There’s plenty out there for cis people to learn from. Your special little bit of fuckery just ain’t that special. Sorry.

  • http://destroyedforcomfort.com/ Rani Bakr

    THANK YOU

  • http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/behn.htm aphra_behn

    EXCELLENT.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    I heard an EMT testify that he paused for a moment when he realized the
    gunshot victim he was treating had a penis, because he didn’t know what
    to do.

    I admit that I’m not a medical professional, but I’m pretty sure the presence of a penis doesn’t really change how one would treat a gunshot wound.

    It just underscores how ridiculous this “didn’t know what to do” nonsense gets.

    • Whirlwitch

      I had this exact thought, as well as: “I bet that EMT actually had knowledge and experience of treating gunshot wounds in people with penes*”. So, y’know, this is doubly bullshit.

      *Actual plural. Vonnegut used it in Cat’s Cradle.

  • http://fullmetalfeminist.wordpress.com/ CaitieCat

    Yes. Well said, sister.

  • Smores

    What is so hard about that? THANK YOU.