“I mean gendered, unlike the fucking bathrooms in everyone’s house” is what I wanted to say back to the person, but they’re a stranger. Instead I say, “Ones with men and women signs on them.”
“I think the restrooms inside our facilities don’t have signs on them.”
I let out a sigh of relief. Eventually we finish this predictable conversation and I have an appointment scheduled for a few weeks from now. Are you as exhausted as me?
I get to the clinic 15 minutes early, as requested. I’m greeted by the receptionist — and a bunch of stares. If you ever want to know what people look like when they see someone they think shouldn’t be somewhere, be my guest at the OB-GYN. I’m sure the white ladies clutching their purses (since my transness comes with Blackness) would love it.
“Hey! Are you here to pick something up?” the receptionist asks me.
“Nah. I’m here for an appointment. KB at 8:20.”
“Oh, OK! I’m sorry. Take this with you and bring it back when you’ve filled it out.”
When you live your whole life with the world thinking that you’re a Black girl, and you decide to give up trying to fit into Black girlhood, and you become a man that you didn’t ask to be, no one gives you an injection of “male privilege” juice. There is no packet that says “you’re a man!” with balloons and stickers on it. When you’re in the doctor’s office, they treat your ass like a Black girl plus worse. All the things that Black girls deal with in medical settings is doubled when someone is uncomfortable with your presence, your nonconformity to their ideas of gender.
If you’re leading the crusade against men, I’m sorry to burst your bubble; I get hell too, and I’m not a man, just forced to be one by a binary world. When I say anything about pain, or pleasure, or fertility, or disagree with anything a provider says, I might as well have cussed them out. Their insistence on being the “expert” gets in the way of care I need. I’ve been made an expert on transgender care due to the gaps in knowledge I’ve encountered from professionals and my desire to learn from medical settings so I can advocate for myself because there is no one else equipped or willing to do so. There is no magic wand or alternate universe that saves me from womanness.
A gynecologist isn’t so different.
“Oh yeah, that’s right. So sorry about that. What are you needing today?”
I wish I could say understanding. I wish I could say someone I don’t have to explain my humanity to. Someone with a more-than-101 understanding of what it means to be trans. Or what it means to be trans and Black and filled with fatigue. Someone wanting to be competent and humanlike to both demographics. Someone I trust to hug me.
Instead I say, “I want to know if I can have kids.”
It’s 2022 and Texas abortion providers are still fighting an anti-abortion bill that became law. There are still many, many outlets greenlighting unintelligent, reductive, unhelpful, and inaccurate pieces that defend using bioessentialist language when talking about reproductive justice. There is such a lack of research and competence around trans men and masculine people that providers who actually are trans-competent can’t tell me whether taking testosterone impacts my number of eggs. Yet wanting people to use accurate language like “pregnant people” or “birthing people” instead of the limiting and inaccurate term “women” has so many trans-exclusionary (you can’t possibly be radical if you think this way) and ignorant “feminists” rising to the top of a boiling-over pot.