From 17th to 19th March Action for Trans Health attended the National Union of Students annual LGBT campaign conference. On the second day of conference we organised a fringe for delegates to share their experiences of trying to access healthcare as a trans person – the Trans Health Rants fringe. The fringe proved popular and successful, and we agreed to meet again on the third day to continue sharing, Francis Myerscough writes:
(Content-note: erasure of trans experience, cissexist healthcare experiences (including but not limited to medical transition) – no details, more writing about talking about healthcare.)
This was organised to provide a trans-only space to share with each other our stories of accessing healthcare, be it transition-related or no. We thought this might be useful for multiple reasons.
Firstly, it can be very validating to share these experiences with a room and to not have them questioned; there was no (hopefully-)well-meaning-but-ignorant cis person in the corner to pipe up “but what if these are all secondary symptoms of your transness”. In sharing our stories and listening to those of others we form the bonds of solidarity that we are so often denied by cissexist society, both by the medical professions and the lay population.
And knowing there is that belief makes it easier to tell the stories. When we’ve stayed quiet about our experiences for so long, to be able to share them is a cathartic experience. So there’s also this therapeutic potential.
Finally, these acts of sharing have the potential to serve as a record of the routine health injustices faced by trans people. While the fringes were not minuted, we agreed as a group that ATH would start a Trans Health Rants blog which trans folk could submit our stories to. These would then be published anonymously online. In this way, we can continue to share our experiences in a space maintained and moderated by other trans folk so hopefully that sense of validation and catharsis will still be there. As a bonus this also means we have a record of the injustices we face that we can direct others to for use in organising campaigns.
You can find the Trans Health Rants blog here. Submissions are anonymous; they just require a title, any content warnings, the rant itself, and any tags. Rant away!