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Stories

Read 12 unique and personal stories from people with intersectional needs.

Selena

She/Her/Hers

“A 58-year-old woman currently living in a small country mining town in rural NSW and receiving basic health services in South Eastern Sydney. I have 35 years of extensive medical experience as an intensive care paramedic and began identifying as a woman approximately two years ago.”

Hi, I’m a 58-year-old trans lady living in a small, remote mining community. I travel to Sydney for my medical services, as they’re not provided for me in my local area. And I drive 6-7 hours at a time to present at doctors and to have further tests.

Now my journey started 3 years ago, post some trauma that I suffered to my groin due to a [safety] harness [at work], and I’ve found that even though the services are all doing what they need to do with tests and assessments and so forth, I don’t believe that I’m actually being treated with integrity and my perspective has actually been taken. And all the time, my integrity is being questioned, which I find very disappointing. I’ve got 35 years in the medical fraternity, having studied in various facets of emergency medicine.

I attend the surgeries, and all I seem to get is that everything comes back to my dysphoria and my transition, rather than sitting back and looking at what is actually happening. They don’t put the “what if?” What if I am telling the truth at the pain that I have or the injuries that I might have sustained are actually have occurred and are an issue and not just something in my mind just to hasten my transition to being the woman that I believe I am?

This seems to be across the board, doesn’t matter where I go or who I speak to. I’ve been down to the South Eastern health region [SESLHD]. I’ve had tests there, and I’ve had surgery there to investigate. Even though some results have come back with things to be further investigated, no further investigation has been forthcoming. It’s just been pushed under the carpet. And everytime I say anything, it’s all, oh, basically it’s gonna be in my head, there’s nothing wrong with me, and with my background and knowledge—and I’ve got quite an extensive [emergency medicine] background—it still seems that it’s all “tick and flick”, and there’s nothing there to actually listen to who I am or what I’m doing. And I feel that it’s very frustrating, because I know my body quite well, and I know the difference between certain injuries and certain pains and everything and the associated. I’ve got the inability to do the tests. I know the tests that generally need to be done and why they need to be done. If it’s an issue, and also, too, what feels that I’m being questioned once again in regards to the validity of what I’m saying, and they’re putting into all these other things that are usually self-inflicted, which I also find very offensive. And if I was not transgender and I had the injury, and the dysphoria didn’t come out, then I believe I would have been treated totally different and this would have been investigated and potentially resolved.

Now I’ve had to suffer for 3 years with things I should not have to suffer with, and just because it’s “too hard basket”, it’s just pushed under the counter. And I believe the reason it is pushed under the counter is it all comes back that I’m transgender, I’ve got dysphoria, and it’s all “just make believe”. And I’m being treated that way, which is extremely frustrating. What I think needs to be done is people—the medical fraternity, and that’s talking right up to specialists—that they need to actually get a reality check in a lot of respects, where they need to actually think about, “what if? What if this person is telling the truth?, and what if this did actually happen?” As opposed to saying, “well, I’m trying to put this person into a box and a container for what I believe is going on”, which really the signs and symptoms are not conducive to that diagnosis. But they try to say, “well, it is”, and then they report on what they believe is necessarily the case, when it’s not. And I find that extremely frustrating.

The fact that I have to travel, well, that’s unfortunate. But it would be nice if there was something closer. But it’s the associated expense with all these tests and everything else, and I mean, the fuel price alone is enough to take your wage each week, let alone the costs for your scans and everything associated with anything. And once again, the injury, it’s just too expensive to pay for it, and that is getting too hard. And I can’t have the tests that I need, purely from a financial basis. And it’s not because of me being dysphoric or me being transgender, it’s purely because I don’t have the dollars.

And once again, I would appreciate if we can have the medical fraternity educated towards understanding or just appreciating and realising that just because you have dysphoria or you’re transitioning, it doesn’t mean that you’re any different to anybody else in regards to all your conditions. It should not be put into that one basket. This is you, this is what you are, and we’re basically gonna ignore what you have to say.  Okay, thank you for your time.

Resources for People With Intersectional Needs

Watch videos for people with intersectional needs, clinicians and health staff about how we can do better together and download the project report.

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