Buck Angel wants to see your cervix.
I recently stumbled across Buck Angel’s “Public Cervix Announcement,” in which the transgender porn star reminds us that transmasculine folks still need to go to the gyno. If the Supreme Court signs off on Obamacare next month, queer and transgender people will take another step towards affordably and comfortably getting the plumbing checked.
Buck Angel reminds us that “having your plumbing checked regularly is a simple thing to do.”
But in order to reap the benefits of healthcare reform, we have to buck up and go to the doctor first. According to a recent report by the Center for American Progress and the National Coalition for LGBT Health, that’s not so high on our to-do lists.
Trans iatrophobia should come as no surprise—queers, especially trans folks, have a long history of facing barriers to healthcare and discrimination by healthcare providers. Plus, being a dude in the gyno waiting room can be a pretty uncomfortable experience.
But since transmasculine people are more likely to smoke, and are less likely to seek out regular medical/gynological care than heterosexual or queer women, we’re at risk for ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and whole host of other plumbing-related problems.
If healthcare reform gives us the insurance we need to take care of our bodies, we have to step it up and get in for that annual pap, especially since we can now expect trans-friendly gynecological care in the exam room.
Last year the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued new instructions advising its members to augment trans-specific services, including breast and uterine cancer screenings for female-to-male patients and hormone therapy consultation. Physicians have also been encouraged to provide trans-sensitivity training for staff members.
Of course, once your feet are up in the stirrups, there’s no way to know whether the “sensitivity training” taught your OB-GYN to ask how you’d like to refer to your junk. Fortunately, if lab coats make you cringe, you might find local health workers who are ahead of the curve in trans gynecological care.
The Chicago Women’s Health Center operates the Trans Greater Access Project (TGAP), providing transmasculine and genderqueer clients with access to sensitive basic gynecological care. The staff has been trained to ask about preferred names and pronouns, and if you don’t want the examiner to call the place where she’s sticking the cotton swab a “vagina,” patients are encouraged to provide a term that feels more accurate. Recently, the program has expanded to provide transmasculine hormone therapy and is holding focus groups on how to better serve transfeminine clients.
Still don’t want to saddle up in the stirrups? Well, you can always take matters into your own hands.