This year Columbus pride not only had HIV testing, but also Syphilis and Hep A & B vaccines. Awesomeness, for sure. I checked out the tent, curious to see if I needed any vaccines. The volunteer was very helpful at first…
“Since you’re a woman…” he began, and went on to list high risk activities and why I would or wouldn’t need a vaccine. I ignored the statement, reasoning to myself that I am female bodied so it makes sense to be grouped with women… right?
I listened in to a friend getting the vaccine spiel. He was female bodied also but was read as male. As a result, he got different information and different medical treatment. I started to think… Am I missing out on information I need? I’m female bodied but I live as a man. My sex practices are both like a female bodied person and a male bodied person. Which group am I supposed to be in?
There was no information about trans populations offered, and no options for trans identity to be selected. As the volunteer continued to speak I mentioned injecting testosterone, hoping he would take the hint. He seemed to get it, and then totally didn’t seem to get it. By the end of it, I felt too awkward to disclose. I let it go and was left wondering whether I had all the protection I needed –just in case. Of all places with queer health care, pride should be prepared for trans folks to be included.