Trigger warning: fatphobic and classist incident.
As it stands, I’m uncertain about when and even whether I will ever get top surgery. But if I ever do, you can bet it won’t be with the the local surgeon. Many trans people like him and are happy with their experience with him. That’s great for them. But I went for a consultation with him and was very dissatisfied with how I was treated. In the end, I paid $50 to be told, in a very disrespectful and dehumanising way, that I was disgustingly fat. The look on his face was one of pure contempt as he spat out: “Mais Monsieur, vous êtes ben trop gros, c’est ridicule!” (Exact translation: “But Sir, you are way too fat, it’s ridiculous.”) I’m used to Dr’s telling me that my weight is a problem. The issue of the too widely held assumption that all ills are caused by fat notwithstanding, at least most of them still talk to me like I’m a human being.
Interestingly, the minute the Dr. found out that I’m actually a PhD student and a college teacher, he got that toothpaste commercial glint in his teeth and started being uber friendly with me. Suddenly, he could smell money (HA! False assumption as I’m struggling to make it on a student fellowship that is designed for grad students who are not single parents and, even when I’m employed full-time, nearly $500 of my monthly income goes toward repaying a massive student loan, leaving me to struggle constantly to stay afloat.) and deemed that it was worth his while to be friendly to me.
At least that is my impression. I could be wrong, of course, but I definitely noticed a shift in the way he looked at me and spoke to me after he found this out. And I’m not one to usually assume that people treat me different because of the way I’m dressed. For the most part, I don’t see a difference. I tend to not dress like an academic. I like wearing worn jeans, work boots, plaid or other workshirts and I keep my beard kind of scruffy. But because I’m white, able-bodied, male and speak like someone with a university education, I usually get taken seriously and treated with respect no matter how I’m dressed. So I’m fairly sure I wasn’t imagining things.
All this was on top of the lack of competence of the person at the reception desk. Even though they deal with trans people all the time, they just could not wrap their heads around the fact that my ID still said Nancy and F. I explained that I was female to male. In a regular clinic that didn’t have gender reassignment as one of its mandates, I could understand why this would need clarification. But not here. Here, I would think that saying that I’m female to male, that my name is Jacky but that my ID still says Nancy and has an F would speak for itself. So…great job on educating your staff *holds up sarcasm sign.*
Overall, I did not feel respected. This is in such sharp contrast to the treatment I got at the hospital where I got my hysterectomy, which is ironic since that hospital doesn’t specialise in dealing with trans folk. Again, lots of trans folk around here like him and have had good experiences. I’m glad for them but I’m sure there are other voices out there that are not being heard. But I’m a paying customer and I have a right to express my dissatisfaction with the service I received.
If I decide to get top surgery, I will be taking my money elsewhere. I don’t care that the government would actually cover my surgery if I went to him. I’d rather pay and be respected.