Catholic Bishops Stopped My Surgery Because I’m Transgender

After years of working to affirm my identity in a world where transgender people are questioned constantly about their decisions, I felt hopeful as I arrived for the surgery I had waited so long for. I was 27, and I would finally be closer to calling my body home.

Since I was a kid, I’ve felt like my body didn’t match my soul. I felt uncomfortable in clothes. I felt disgusting when I showered. Everything felt wrong, but it took me a while to figure out why.

Once I discovered that I am a man, I went to my doctor to start the process of medically transitioning. I began taking testosterone. I had a double mastectomy. The next step was a hysterectomy.

My surgery was scheduled for Aug. 30, 2017, at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, California. It’s the only hospital in the area, and I was so excited that my community offered transgender care. I could get the operation close to home and then recover with my loved ones.

I had a pre-op appointment on Aug. 24 that went smoothly, and I followed all the instructions to prepare for my surgery.

On Aug. 30, I arrived at the hospital and they checked me in and did the surgery prep, which was extremely uncomfortable and triggering. I was given a pink gown. I asked the nurse if I could have a blue gown, but she told me I was having a “female surgery” and should wear the pink. I felt like a child all over again, sitting uncomfortably in a pink dress. But I forced myself to do it, I had been waiting so long for this.

They hooked me up to an IV to get ready to put me to sleep. About an hour after waiting, my surgeon finally came to get me. But when I saw the look on his face, I got a terrible feeling. He told me my surgery was canceled. It was denied by the Catholic Church for ethical reasons. I didn’t understand how this could be happening. The Catholic bishops didn’t approve of my surgery. It seemed unreal.

I had an anxiety attack and thought about all the pre-op and mental preparedness I had to go through just to get here. I freaked out and started crying. I was given medication to calm me down.

Fifteen minutes after that, the hospital staff asked me to leave. I still had booties on my feet as a nurse led me outside. I felt humiliated and queasy as I sat on the curb waiting for my roommate to pick me up.

It seems the hospital does not understand how it feels to be treated inhumanely just because your body parts do not match your soul. This surgery was important — it was meant to balance my hormones. The delay disrupted my life. I felt like the hospital’s bigotry had set me back years.

Today, with the help of the ACLU, I filed a lawsuit. It’s unfair for St. Joseph to deny me care because I’m a transgender man. I should be able to go to the hospital where I live. Life in Humboldt County has been tough enough. Everyone thinks it’s a liberal place, but it’s not for trans people. I am regularly harassed and called names.

I didn’t expect discrimination from a hospital. The sting from the rejection remains, but I hope my story lets others know that this is unacceptable. And we should continue to fight until we are all treated fairly. No one should be denied health care because of who they are.

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Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

I am confused. Is the author of this article a male transgendering into a female (Heshe) or a female transgendering into a male (Shim)?

Anonymous

He got a double mastectomy and was requesting a hysterectomy. Female to Male (FTM)

Les Terrell

You for real?

Anonymous

Everything about this post is incredibly transphobia. He is having a hysterectomy, and using he/him pronouns as well as states they discover they are a man...So what do you think? They are a man. They were having their uterus removed to help reaffirm they are a man.

Transgender is an adjective, you do not add 's', 'ed' or 'ing' to the end. It's incredibly dehumanising at try and use "transgender" as anything other than an adjective.

Using "heshe" and "shim" are slurs. How dare you. Do not EVER refer to any trans people in this way. It is incredibly offensive. I know you're probably some awful troll who just lives to be edgy and hurt others, but do not use these terms for trans people.

Mr.Ollie

Why are you filling the ACLU comments with hate?

Anonymous

I'm confused why you feel the need to use inappropriate pronouns when referring to him.

Confused

Im confused. As the author of this commet are you just stupid or a huge asshole? I'm going to guess both.

Jules

This is a female person who wants to have surgery to remove her uterus. She has gender identity disorder, which causes a mismatch between her actual sex and the sex her brain is telling her she is. The surgeries and treatments are supposed to help her make her body resemble that of someone born male. Her sex can not change, but her gender presentation will be more masculine than feminine, if the treatments are successful.

Anonymous

Wow.

Laurie Olson Wi...

The verb you’re looking for is “transitioning”. Be aware also that terms like “HeShe” and “Shim” are incredibly derogatory. If you had read the article closely, the answer to your question would have been pretty apparent.

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