Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
I’m Kelly and I grew up in Connecticut, and I’ve been living in San Francisco for four years, and now I’m back in Connecticut and I’m going to school to become and adult and geriatric nurse practitioner. Anytime I went to a health care provider it was just assumed I was straight and the kind of care you receive when there are those heteronormative assumptions can be really detrimental. And as a general rule I don’t correct assumptions and kind of just go with it and find humor in it. But it’s not humorous when it comes to health care. And so that is part of what inspired me or fueled me to go in to health care. Recently this happened again. I’m at Yale, so I’m at the Yale Health Plan and I was seeing a provider, I needed a certain medication in order to get the medication they needed to prove that I wasn’t pregnant. I’m getting weighed and all that and she saying, “Oh I’ll give you the pregnancy test.” And I say, “It’s not necessary.” “Why is it not necessary?” “I don’t sleep with men.” “Oh! Oh okay, okay!” “It’s alright, calm down, everyone calm down.” And then it’s the next assistant that takes me from the waiting room for the second time, “Oh I need to give you this test.” And I explain again, “No, no, you really don’t. There is no way.” And I do explain this to three different assistants before I got to the provider, so it was like coming out, coming out, coming out – which if you’re not comfortable, you know, can be wearisome. When it got to that point in the conversation with the provider, she looked at me and was like with this – stuttering, just totally thrown off, “You’ve never had sex with a man?” And we went back and forth and she was just like “No, I want you to take this test.” And I was like, “I’m not taking it, this is totally ridiculous.” And she was like, “You may have forgotten.” I was like, “Did you just say I might have forgotten sleeping with a man?! Is this happening, you know?” And so, it’s these things happen every day, all the time at really – you think you’re getting good care and then you get a provider like that and so, that’s sort of – that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to be righteous, I want to stick by my guns but there’s a power dynamic there and I couldn’t receive the treatment that I needed if I didn’t suck it up and take the test and that’s really unfortunate because it’s incredibly degrading and that happens all the time and that’s why so many of the members of the queer community just avoid health care all together because they can’t handle that kind of treatment and they can’t handle being emotionally and psychologically beat down like that. The power dynamic is huge and I wish it was addressed more in nursing and medical schools that – it’s not.