I need to tell you about my awesome friend. Sadly, I can’t tell you her name; if I blabbed her identity on the internet, she might have trouble finding or keeping employment, or she could be attacked.
My awesome friend is a post-surgical transsexual.
That’s probably the part that you’ll find most interesting, but what I think is nifty about her is how danged smart she is. I met her first, as a him, in one of my philosophy classes, then I met her again at a social event, and I didn’t recognizer her then (which she found highly complimentary). My friend has vast knowledge in philosophy, psychology, and mathematics, the last one being a science/art that I wish I could do more of. I am definitely not clever enough to pursue it, though. She is also gainfully employed, which is more than I am at present.
A while ago, I interviewed her for a video log. Here’s the result of that:
Knowing my awesome friend has been not just great as friendship, but great for what my instructors would probably call “generating and meeting learning objectives.” By which I mean I have learned loads about gender philosophy that I would never have appreciated without her. It’s definitely put me ahead of the game when it comes to patient-centeredness.
We have had a lecture about gender and healthcare in my Patient Centered Care course, but I feel like threeish hours is not really enough for something that, once you start to take a look at it, is complex though intuitive.
In class, we learned that it is polite to ask people what pronouns they prefer. From my friend, I learned that there are gender-neutral pronouns that some people like to use (sie and hir, I think). In class, we learned that we should remember to speak inclusively and be non-judgmental when dealing with LGBTTTIQQAetc. people. From my friend, I learned that talking to her is exactly like talking to anyone else.
My thought patterns on gender have become not just open, but automated to be open. I am nigh incapable of making assumption errors when I’m talking to patients. It is one area of medicine that I absolutely do not fear. In fact, I look forward to meeting people who need a physician who normalizes and validates all forms of gender identity, sexual orientation, et cetera.
It’s all because I happen to have an awesome friend. Thank you, awesome friend, for being the awesome that you are.