Hospital Passes a Surprise Exam!

My local hospital just passed a secret surprise exam. “Secret” because they did not know they were being tested. “Surprise” because you never know when you or a family member will be in the hospital. You see, I have had bad experiences with this hospital in the past. My body mocked by technicians performing a diagnostic test. My person denied treatment by more than one physician. But still, whenever I have a new interaction with this institution, I say, I will give them another chance to show that their staff has learned to act professionally and humanely towards gender variant persons.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when my spouse was admitted to the emergency room. She ended up being admitted for a week. The staff had many opportunities to fail. Would I be hassled by security at the emergency department metal detector because they are not able to identify my gender? Would staff members revert to calling me her husband? Would I be denied admission because I am her wife? Would they, in short, make this about me when she is the one lying there ill?

I visited my spouse morning and night. The biggest challenge was early in the morning, when I stopped at the hospital before work each day. Only one door to the hospital is open at that hour. An older gentlemen is the security guard. I said, I am here to see my spouse in room such and such. He looked me up and down a second, then rang up the floor and said, there is a spouse for room such and such. Then I was in. No hassle. No papers. Each day was the same, with several different guards. Some days, I was the wife for room such and such. Still no hassle from the guard.

Two things are going on here. One is progress on the part of the hospital and its staff. I should not be so surprised, as many parts of our culture have progressed. But I am surprised, first because of my poor experiences with this institution in the past, and second because of the dread of having to deal with this stuff when my partner is sick. We have been together 22 years. She is sick, and I am worried.

The second thing going on here is progress on my own part. I am many years onto medical and social transition. I am not male in any sense. I identify as female. But, my stubbornness about gender norms has always held me back. I am a feminist first. I am no less female because I don’t submit to all of societies gender rules about being female. The progress, for me personally, is that I can confidently exist in the world as female without trying at all, and without bending to the rules that are to me, tiresome.

My spouse is mostly better now.

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