written by Lisa_W

Visiting the doctor

I have just become aware of the discussion which initially was “what name should I use when I first present to a doctor”. It has morphed into people’s experiences with the medical profession.

Being trans & being a GP (the only trans GP in Australia I believe) I think that I have some insights that you may be helpful.


The first question has been dealt with but not completely. If you intend to make a claim on medicare or your health insurance then you should use the name that you are registered with. Of course you could ask your doctor & the reception staff to address you by your preferred name. However if you DO NOT want to make a claim on medicare &/or your health insurance you can use what ever name you choose. The choice is yours. Computers & bureaucracies cannot cope with 2 names for the one person.


The second area was the different experiences that people have had with their various doctors.
Firstly let me tell you doctors are there to help you in the best way that they see fit. Unless there is a mutual understanding of the treatment goals & the time frame in which you may wish to achieve those goals there may be misunderstandings. So it is encumbered upon all of us to be up front & honest with those who really are trying to help us.
Remember that GID is not an easy diagnosis to make. There is no simple blood test to give the correct answer. Also hormones are not party toys. They may have serious side effects/complications. Remember a recent survey in the US found that the suicide rate of people with GID was 41%. How many of you have known a person (not necessarily trans) who has suicided. Now, how many of you saw it coming. So you can see why doctors may appear to be slow or play the devil’s advocate (to test your mettle).
A recent survey from the Netherlands reported on the complications found in 400+ trans people (MtF & FtM). The average follow-up time was 11.4 years. The major complications were in the MtF group – 6% with cardiovascular complications & also 6% with thromboembolic events (clots etc). So you can see why your doctor may want to control your hormone dosage. I understand that it is not fun standing in the dock explaining your decisions on the way that you treated a particular patient to a coroner.

Antagonistic, bullying, non-truthful behaviour will get you no where. As my mother used to say “you will catch more flies with honey that you will with vinegar”. Having said that you do not have to be a submissive doormat, just be respectful & try to understand where the doctor is coming from & you will receive the same respect.

Finally dress code. Discuss it with your doctor. If you are not ready to be seen in public as your femme self, tell your doctor. Take him/her on your journey. Relate your experiences (good & bad). They are actually interested in how you are coping.
As someone has already said dress appropriately. Frilly maid’s outfits belong in the boudoir, 6” stilettos belong in the nightclub. Your doctor wants to see how you cope being just an average woman.

Another related topic. We all have personalities. Some can find an instant rapport with friends, work colleagues etc. Some people we just cannot get on with. Doctors try to suppress their personality so that it does not effect the consultation. However if your personality does not mesh with your doctor then, find a doctor that you are happy with.

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