Misadventures in #BeingTreatedWhileTrans Today

Even though my name was legally changed last week, I’d been holding off changing my name with my healthcare providers until my health insurance company changed my name in its records — otherwise you end up with billing headaches.

Got to the surgical center, which apparently is affiliated with my healthcare group, but not part of it — and my “preferred name” (i.e. my new name) didn’t get communicated to their system.

Which ended up causing a lot of (non-malicious) use of my old name and misgendering, even after I explained the situation and that legally my name was now Marla. (It didn’t help that — not being blessed by the androgyny fairy — and not being able to wear make-up or breast forms, that I’ve got fewer visual cues to remind people I’m a woman.)

I realize some of that was required, e.g. they had to make sure my patient wristband matched my name on file. Some of them tried to make an attempt. One admitting nurse apologized in advance, saying she’d do her best, but that she might slip up. Another admitting nurse put a big Post-It note, reading “Prefers to be called Marla,” on the file she handed off to the surgical team. And still the slip-ups on continued. They weren’t intentional, rather slips of the tongue, But every time, as my wise friend put it, every time it was a bee sting to the heart.

Honestly, I pretty much expected it. I’ve had this sort of thing happen every time I’ve been presenting as a woman and had to show official documentation with my male name on it — airports, car rental counters, hotels etc. Embrace the suck. But it could’ve been handled much more gracefully, e.g. “I’m sorry to have to do this, but could you state your male name.”

Coincidentally, my primary care physical is on a task force to make my healthcare group’s patient record system more trans friendly, so I just messaged him a heads-up about what happened. Not looking for apologies, just changes to make it easier for the next trans person.