Going to the GP: I would rather not. I am afraid that a healthcare provider will misunderstand me as a queer, non-binary person of colour. I also know that medical research, diagnostics and medication guidelines are based on the white man. But I am not a white man. So who is to say I’m getting the right treatment?
I also think that the average GP has no idea of my position in society. It does not occur that as a person of colour I act extra friendly in the supermarket because otherwise, people think I’m stealing. I feel a big gap between my experience and that of the medics.
When I went to the GP for a referral to the gender clinic, I did not dare to explain that I am neither a man nor a woman. So I said that I did not want my breasts anymore. The GP deduced from that that I was apparently a man. Later, I waited for a very long time to tell them about my name change and that I now have an x in my passport instead of a v. What if they asked difficult questions?
It would help a lot if general practitioners list on their website that they are LGBTI friendly, for example. They do exist, but when I try to register, they will not accept new patients.
I have bad experiences with the gender clinic at the VUmc. Five years ago they had two flavours: man and woman. I had to talk their head off to keep from being pushed in the male direction. No, I did not want to take hormones. No, I did not want a sex operation. I am not a man. I mainly wanted to have my breasts removed.
Such a gender clinic has a lot of power. They determine whether you get treatment or not. I find it bizarre that a white, heterosexual, cis person decides whether a trans person gets the green or red light for the transition. I believe much more in informed consent: they give you information, you make your own choice, and you get the guidance and aftercare that you need.
I got the green light for my breast removal. That is because I talked my way through it. The trans community told me exactly what I had to say. I had just come out of a depression, but there was no way I was going to share that. Because then they will think you are not stable enough, and you will get a red light. I just pretended that I was comfortable in my skin. Many trans people at the gender clinic feel unhappy because their bodies are not right. They only start to feel better when the body changes. But they only get hormones or other forms of treatment when they feel good enough. Crazy, right?
Nanoah is 22 years old, a writer, a podcast maker and an activist