“I’m tired of medical education erasing our bodies.

“In my first weeks at medical school, we learned how to perform ‘male’ (testicular) and ‘female’ (uterine & vaginal) examinations. The language throughout these gendered the patient as male or female depending on what body part we were examining. I am a man; my body is therefore male – but, it has a uterus and a vagina. The teaching sessions made me feel like I didn’t exist.

“I thought about the other trans people I know and love and the fear they have of accessing medical care because of these assumptions. We are still teaching doctors to assume gender based on genitalia. It’s time we stopped.

“When medics use gendered terms to describe body types, they not only alienate the trans community but restrict their access to healthcare. Many trans and also intersex people’s bodies don’t fit into either category, so gendered terms can be misleading when we’re trying to look after ourselves.

“Being specific about which body part, chromosome or hormone is relevant is much more helpful. This is a particular problem with sexual health services but causes issues throughout medicine.”

Photo credit: Rowland Goodbody
Editing: Rowland Goodbody and Harriet Evans

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