Sunday, February 03, 2019

Our Visit to Planned Parenthood

As many of you know, my kid is trans masculine.

Image result for planned parenthoodOver the past several years, we have done mountains of therapy, culminating this year with a new therapist who specializes in working with LGBTQ people (the genderman, as the kid calls him). The genderman agreed that the kid should start HRT (hormone replacement therapy) sooner rather than later.

He also advised us that Planned Parenthood in the kid's college town was the best place to go. (We live in Arkansas, so it can be hard to find physicians that will work with trans people, or prescribe HRT. Fun fact! It can also be hard to find a pharmacy that has T in stock. Ours had to order some.)

So Friday the kid had his first appointment with Planned Parenthood. And may I say, as happy as I have been to support Planned Parenthood in the past, this experience has increased my approval rating 1000%.

First, scheduling the appointment was super easy. They have an online portal, and you just find the time you want to come in and book it. They ask for other things, like if you have insurance and what you're coming in for, but it's all very easy to use.

And we had to reschedule, from Friday before last to this Friday, and that was also very easy!

The facility was small and a bit run-down, but very clean and cheerfully decorated. One wall had a trans-positive poster on it; another had a statement in both English and Spanish explaining that no one could make you get an abortion or any other treatment against your will, and that you had the right to call the police or social services if anyone was abusing you or trying to compel you to seek treatment against your will.

While the kid and I were there, two girls came in who looked like they were seventeen or eighteen, and a little later, two women in their 30s with a toddler in a bright pink parka. The toddler was there for a wellness check. The girls were there because one of them wanted birth control.

As far as I could tell (I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but it was a small waiting room) no one who was there was seeking an abortion -- although if they had been, that would have been their business and their choice. This fits with the statistics PP releases, which show that most people show up for health and medical reasons not related to abortions.

The toddler, by the way, was adorable. Her mothers clearly loved her deeply, and she was happy and bold, toddling about the waiting room demanding that people  pick her up or look at her toys. Everyone there was enjoying her immensely.

The nurse took my kid back alone, to make sure I wasn't coercing him into treatment. This seemed to be standard procedure -- everyone had to go back and talk to the nurse first on their own first. (Except the toddler, obviously.) After my kid had been back there about an hour, they let me come in too.

First the nurse and then a doctor (all of them women, interestingly, and all of them very calm and friendly) discussed the kid's history as a trans man, how long he'd been out as a man, how long he'd been in therapy, and so on. Then they talked to him about what HRT would do and what it wouldn't do. They did a complete physical. They drew blood to run tests. Only after all of this did they prescribe T.

They also made sure the kid knew if he wanted to stop transitioning at any point, that was something he could do.

Over the next year, they'll be monitoring the kid's health and his blood work to make sure everything's working.

A second nurse came in and taught the kid how to inject himself with testosterone. And the nurse up front, who gave us the actual prescription, told us if the pharmacy or the insurance company gave us any trouble, we should call them and they would handle it.

Though the kid is a little nervous, mainly he is buzzing with excitement. The T is supposed to arrive on Tuesday, and he will probably start taking it then.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because all over the internet, people who know nothing about trans people or about being trans are making, frankly, ridiculous claims about what it's like to be a trans parent or how doctors force "confused" "children" into going on HRT, or how being trans is a "fad" or a symptom of misogyny or 9000 other things.

This is what it's actually like to be trans. Years of misery,  years of therapy, years of careful, even obsessive, thought and research. Only then does the trans person -- who is an adult, not a child -- start HRT.

And everyone, every step of the way, is being as careful as they know how not to make a mistake.

So when people make these really ridiculous claims, writers of transphobic blogs and Fox News fans, Jordan Peterson and Rod Dreher, about trans people, all they're doing is showing how incredibly ignorant they are.

Not to mention how incredibly hateful.

My Wonderful Kid
As we were leaving Planned Parenthood, a tiny little mob of protesters with their ridiculous gory posters lit up with delight -- fresh victims!-- and began shouting at us about how abortion was murder, how we were murderers, how every life was precious.

I mean, except trans people's lives, of course. Fuck trans people.

The mob has to stay a 100 yards away, by law. So they couldn't get in our faces. But as we were leaving the parking lot, one of them came over to smash his silly poster against our car window. I made an obscene gesture at him, which appeared to shock him very much. Apparently scarlet women are supposed to be too mortified to fight back.

tl;dr Donate to Planned Parenthood. They're the best.


Nanani said...

Congratulations to the kid! I hope his transition goes smoothly.
Random internet strangers support you!

jane said...

Thank you for accurate reporting and factual PP reality.
Glad you love your kid!!! I love mine. Makes it all simpler.

Bardiac said...

I'm really glad you had a good, positive experience. Planned Parenthood is a wonderful organization in so many ways!

delagar said...

Thank you, everyone!

Contingent Cassandra said...

Best wishes to the kid! I'm glad he's getting the support he needs on all levels. And hurrah to PP for providing a diverse group of people with what they need, with a maximum of integrity and no judgment.

delagar said...

PP really is wonderful.

Revanche said...

I'm glad the kid has you for a mom and has access to PP. We're supporting them!

delagar said...

Thank you!

Jenny F. Scientist said...

I love pp! used to volunteer the in grad school (mostly filing as I did whatever they wanted).

May your kid's medical experiences continue to be smooth and positive!

delagar said...

Thank you! And I agree, Planned Parenthood is the best.

heebie-geebie said...

The. best.