Monday, March 22, 2010

a hermaphrodite at the OB/GYN

Since I had a few doctors appointments this past week, and Obama passed his health care bill (thank God, or I might have moved Canada) I thought I would write about one of the most uncomfortable repeated experiences I have as an intersex person, trips to the gynecologist.

From the moment I step into the waiting room I can't help but think "the alien has landed." I am lucky, my gyno is actually very kind and understanding. That being said, I find the whole environment of the office and waiting room to be very unwelcoming, surrounded by diagrams and pamphlets of organs I don't have and pregnant women and parenting magazines when I'm sterile (if I wanted children that would be painful). Then, as if I'm not feeling out of place already, the nurse asks routine questions that really don't apply to me (When was my last period? Hmmm, let me think about that). I realize they are just doing their jobs, and I am probably being oversensitive, but it used to really bother me. Now I make a game out of being different, and have probably unintentionally scared a few of the expectant mothers, girly girls and conservatively dressed immigrant women when I swagger in with my short mussed up hair, wearing my Hard Rock t-shirt, jeans, and leather jacket carrying a radical feminist book (thank you Andrea Dworkin).

I think it would be a nice gesture of acceptance to the intersex (and transgender) community if the OB/GYN waiting rooms looked more generic. Even better would be researching there medical files beforehand to realize just how silly, awkward and often unanswerable their questions are to an intersex patient.

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