First Mammogram 13 June 2018

Image result for classical sculpture breasts

I have been trying to get a mammogram set up for months. My old primary care provider would sort of shrug off referring me for one when I brought it up. I don’t think she really wanted to address my health concerns. I finally changed to a different provider who agreed that, yes, a mammogram to check out my B+ cup breasts would be a prudent thing to do. and unlike my old provider was proactive in other health areas as well.

A friend of mine, a trans guy who was assigned female at birth, gave me a quick run-though on how to prepare for a mammogram: no deodorant, no creams or powders or anything at all on the breasts, wear a two-piece outfit that permits getting out of the top and bra quickly, etc.

I should explain that these days I almost always get read as a cisgender female, which is what happened at the breast imaging place.  I was taken to a changing room where I wiped my beasts and underarms with a damp cleaning tissue and got into a pink gown that opened at the front. Despite all the horror stories about mammograms,  I have had far more unpleasant medical tests. The technician was very nice.

After the mammogram, I was told to go back to the changing room because someone would come for me to do bone density tests. Older trans women have many of the same medical risks that older cisgender women have, including osteoporosis, so my wonderful new primary care provider though we ought to check that out as well.

A second technician appeared, another pleasant woman, who took me to a room where a different machine waited for me. She started running through a series of health questions and came to one about my monthly cycles.

I told her that I was transgender. She and her smile froze for several seconds. I think she was experiencing cognitive dissonance between what I had just told her and the quite femme woman I really am.

I think she may have wondered whether I was kidding. I do not look like nor do I behave like the stereotype that many cis people have about trans women: according to bigots we resemble some cisgender guy on Halloween clomping around in bad drag.

Then we both laughed. I suggested that she just put down that I am not currently having periods. Once she got over the mild jolt, she was very nice.

It was a very good morning!

 

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Sorry, I Wasn’t Listening, I was, well . . .

I once read an account written by a trans woman physician who had transitioned in place while working on the staff in a large hospital  where she was surrounded by professional men who liked to think of themselves as liberal/progressive.

She said that, when she started to look and sound like a cisgender female, her cisgender male colleagues, who certainly knew who she was and didn’t seem to realize that they were doing this, started to treat her as if she had lost 30 IQ points.

They also tended to look at her chest more than her face in conversations and sometimes didn’t hear anything she was saying.

I suspect that most of them would deny being attracted to a trans woman, but it certainly appears otherwise. (Someone page a graduate student in social psychology looking for a thesis topic!)

Yes, guys, for women it is really like that, even in a “best case” situation such as the one she was in as a well-paid, high-status professional in a progressive setting where the employer and the HR department were on her side.

Women without such advantages–and that is most of us–fare much, much worse, as the #METOO movement is making painfully clear even to some men who previously didn’t see sexism and sexual harassment as real problems. Sexism, as the kids say, is a “thing.” Talk to me, gentlemen,  if you still don’t believe it.

By the way, it is insane to have interns who have had almost no sleep in days making life-and-death decisions. Women in these situations often have had even less sleep than the men, because female interns still are expected to do more than their share of the shopping, cooking, laundry, and cleaning in heterosexual relationships.

I’ve been in social situations such as potluck meals where straight guys who start flirting with me become markedly more interested when they discover that I can and do cook a variety of foods that include such male favorites as lasagna and baked pastries.

Are straight men mostly interested in women for the sex and food and don’t care what we think and might have to say? You tell me.