Nurse in Black wrote:
Geez, cumom, just reading your post makes me ache inside. So sad for so many. I know when we've had transgenders and gay patients, nobody cares or openy judges them. I've never heard a snarky remark about them. Healthcare has alot of gay workers, I'd be surprised to witness open discrimination here where I live. I'm not ignorant in believing it doesn't exist, but the teams I've worked on are more CURIOUS about the transgender process an lifestyle, than against it.
I'm sure that a great many health-care providers, especially nurses, are hip to the LGBT thing, especially here on the west coast where we live. But the discrimination happens routinely outside of urban areas, with couples not allowed visitation, etc. Hopefully the big policy change (was it national or just here in california) where the patient gets to define his/her family for him/herself will solve a lot of these issues. And transgender folks have a nearly impossible time of it. There are informal networks to help transgenders get medical care with understanding and compassion; but they often don't have a choice.
The big problem with medical care is that the patient is at the mercy of the care-provider; the structures of the medical industry and the insurance industry and the HMOs and hospital owners, in addition to the massive dominance of medical practitioners—meaning that culturally Americans tend to defer without question to the judgment of medical doctors, even when the doctor is talking out of her ass—means that they are in a position to exercise a great amount of power, even unknowingly. And when they bring their religious or cultural prejudices to the job—e.g., homophobia—it can get pretty ugly.
Please don't misunderstand. I know that the majority of health care workers, especially nurses and GPs, are doing great work (surgeons I'm a little more dubious of). So we're talking about systemic power inequality + cultural prejudice = ethical stickiness.