My Pharmacist Humiliated Me When He Refused to Fill My Hormone Prescription

(Update 7/20/2018: Hilde appreciates that CVS took her experience seriously. She spoke with a CVS representative who offered a sincere apology on behalf the company and said that the pharmacist who mistreated Hilde acted outside of the company’s guidelines. Hilde hopes that CVS will make its nondiscrimination policies public, so that transgender and non-binary customers have some assurance the corporation will take appropriate action if similar discrimination occurs in the future.)

On a recent day in April, I left my doctor’s office elated. I was carrying my first prescriptions for hormone therapy. I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be.

I went straight from my doctor to the CVS in my town, Fountain Hills, Arizona, which is a suburb of Phoenix. I handed over the three prescriptions that my doctor, who specializes in hormone therapy, had just given me.

That’s when my day took a turn. After years of working to affirm my identity in a world where transgender people are questioned constantly about how well they know themselves, the pharmacist refused to fill one of the prescriptions needed to affirm my identity.

He did not give me a clear reason for the refusal. He just kept asking, loudly and in front of other CVS staff and customers, why I was given the prescriptions.

Embarrassed and distressed, I nearly started crying in the middle of the store. I didn’t want to answer why I had been prescribed this hormone therapy combination by my doctor. I felt like the pharmacist was trying to out me as transgender in front of strangers. I just froze and worked on holding back the tears.

When I asked for my doctor’s prescription note, the pharmacist refused to give it back, so I was not even able to take it to another pharmacy to have my prescription filled. I left the store feeling mortified.

When I got home, I called my doctor’s office to explain what happened. The office staff tried to intervene by calling the pharmacist, but he still refused to fill my prescription without explicitly explaining why. My doctor ended up having to call the prescription into the local Walgreens, where the medication was filled without question. I transferred all of my prescriptions there so that I never again have to see the pharmacist who discriminated against me.

I have contacted CVS’ corporate complaint line multiple times, but no one has addressed my concerns or offered me an apology.

Tell CVS: Transgender Customers Need Their Prescriptions, Too

My family supports me, fortunately, and helped me work through the anger and humiliation this experience caused. But many other transgender people are not as fortunate as I am. I don’t want to think about what might happen if this pharmacist mistreats a transgender person who does not have a good social support system.

Today, I filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy and am publicly asking CVS to take action and apologize for the way I was treated. CVS has received perfect marks for the past four years in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which is a valuable tool for assessing corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. But something is still not right. Measures should be in place to ensure no other customer is humiliated like I was.

Through training and written policies, the company needs to make it clear to their employees — especially their pharmacists — that transgender customers deserve respect. No healthcare worker should rely on personal beliefs to reject decisions made by doctors and their transgender patients about medically necessary care.

View comments (484)
Read the Terms of Use

J Fox

It would seem that medical professionals would understand that some people cannot even get through puberty without additional hormones, and some people have to choose which sex they want to become because they have an intersex diagnosis. See Swyer's Syndrome. My child was born looking like female but is genetically male and identifies as male. People, it's not like everyone was born strictly female or male in either their body or their mind and it's their choice, their right, and they deserve respect and dignity. What they go through is difficult.

woofy

I went out and peed on a fire hydrant and was arrested even though I told the cop I felt like I was a dog at the time-where in the hell was the aclu then?

Anonymous

why do we call the person a "her"?

This is a man

Anonymouse

I just love how all you libtards spew the same hate you claim to fight...people all people have the right to their opinion whether it agrees with yours or not...and tough shit if it doesn't...but they have the same same right to spew their shit as you do...stupid snowflakes...

Anonymous

What was the pharmacists name

Shelia

I for one am so sorry that you had to go through something like that, which should have never happened in the first place. I support you and the choices you make to be happy and live authentically, and hope that things will get easier for you, not everyone is a pompous ass. Sending love your way. Take Care.

Anonymous

Transgender identification is delusional and should be compassionately treated in the same way other delusional illnesses are.

L Whitaker

I'm curious about this practice of pharmacists confiscating prescriptions.
This is the third time in two months that I heard of a pharmacist doing this.
How is this legal?

Anonymous

We don't need anymore freaks in this world.

Scott

Mr. Hall is a deluded man who thinks he's a woman. Its time for people in the healthcare establishment to stand up to the transgender freaks and steer them towards mental help as opposed to hormone therapy and transgender surgeries. It is no more possible to turn a man into a woman than to turn a dog into a cat. Taxpayers are tired of paying for that freak show and publicly shaming those deluded men might knock some sense into them.

Pages

Stay Informed