I don’t know about you but I always smile to myself when people are surprised to learn that I am a transsexual. One of those moments happened this morning.
To keep my doctor (actually, she’s a nurse practitioner, but who’s quibbling?) happy, so she’ll continue to prescribe hormones for me, I needed to go to the local medical lab to have blood drawn to check my estrogen level. (I know, I know, there is no research to support the use of hormone levels to determine the optimum hormone regimen for a MTF transsexual (like me), but my insurance covers the cost of the tests and it keeps Carol, my NP, happy, so what the heck, I do them.) Also, when I saw her last month, she also did a complete physical exam. As part of that process, she also wanted to check my PSA (prostate specific antigen, a marker for prostate problems and, thus, a male only test). So, the order she wrote for my blood tests listed only 2 items: estradiol and PSA.
I knew before I went into the lab, which is mostly staffed by women, that there might be some questions about why I would need my PSA checked, especially when the only other test I needed was to check my estrogen levels, which, of course, is normally only done for females. I am fortunate that, in most situations, I am perceived as a woman, and not trans, so there was little chance that the people at the lab would figure out on their own how someone could possibly need both tests.
So, I dressed in my normal feminine way, grabbed my purse and headed to the lab. When my name was called, I handed the woman behind the desk my lab ID card and the test order. She looked at the order and kind of muttered, “Is this right?”
I said, “Yes, it is.”
She looked very confused and said something about having never seen “this” before, obviously referring to the odd combination of tests. She then picked up the phone, said, “I need to check this,” and began to dial.
At that point, I decided to relieve us both of any more confusion and said to her, “I’m a transsexual.”
Her only response was to say, “Oh,” and hang up the phone.
Hoping to be helpful, I then added, “So, I still have a prostate that needs to be checked.” I also agreed with her that the order asked for a pretty unusual set of tests. To her credit, she didn’t seem embarassed or disturbed by my revelation. Instead, she simply directed me back to the first open booth, and, since this is a small lab, came back and drew my blood with no further comment, other than to admire my bracelet.
It’s always interesting to see how people react when their assumptions about who I am are shattered by the news that I’m trans. Thankfully, in my experience, most people are simply surprised, and not disturbed, by that news, so it simply becomes one of those humorous moments in life when we get to see that things aren’t always what they seem to be. And, since I am trans, it also becomes a brief education in the fact that transsexuals exist and aren’t really any different from anyone else.