My name is Evren (he/him). I’m 27 and have ADHD, as well as other chronic health issues. In my spare time I enjoy hand sewing!
Content warning: transphobia, ableism
I have had issues for over a decade related to gender care at the GP level, as well as mental health support, physical support for my chronic ill health and asthma. I’ve also had transphobia related problems on the administrative side of things, in terms of having my medical records lost, healthcare needs ignored because of ‘trans broken arm’ syndrome (when healthcare providers assume that all medical issues are a result of a person being trans), and also in accessing healthcare whilst unstably housed.
I’ve been faced with issues accessing healthcare for over a decade; whether trans related, mental health support, physical support for chronic illnesses or day to day stuff. I’ve had my medical records lost. I’ve had requests for care ignored, backtracked on, or outright denied. I’ve had tests rejected for incongruous gender markers. I’ve had threats to take away my HRT. I’ve had my fair share of ‘trans broken arm’ syndrome, and I’ve been lied to by healthcare professionals at multiple levels. A lot of this will either be familiar to trans readers or even something they’ve experienced themselves, which is a sad indictment of an NHS I and many others agree is institutionally transphobic.
Despite all of these issues, I’ve been mostly able to access the care I’ve needed – save those services, like transmasculine bottom surgery, that have been unavailable for a period of time and are now severely delayed – thanks to some advocacy skills I’ve picked up, as well as a lot of help.
Things that I’ve found helpful:
Knowing your rights: Having the relevant legislation and NHS regulations easily accessible – maybe as notes I take to appointments – has helped me feel secure and confident even when dealing with potential access barriers.
Peer support: Dealing with GIC visits and other care difficulties can sometimes seem designed just to be hurtful. I credit my support networks for helping me to stay calm amidst intrusive questions and offensive comments from providers. A friendly support group chat, with boundaries to avoid burnout, is great for sharing the mental, emotional, and administrative load!
Advocacy: Sometimes self and peer advocacy alone doesn’t cut it. When my GP refused to provide a gender marker letter for my passport and I was faced with not being able to leave the country in time for a job, QueerCare’s intervention worked wonders to cut through the frustration when my own complaint was ignored. Peer support is great, but more ‘official’ help can work in similar ways to having a union rep, and I really recommend it!