King George and Queen’s Hospital Pride 2019: Transgender poet encourages staff to call out transphobia
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:37 02 July 2019
Healthcare staff were encouraged to call out transphobia and recognise the challenges that trans patients face during a thought-provoking talk at Redbridge and Havering’s hospital Trust.
Transgender performance poet Jay Hulme spoke at Queen's Hospital in Rom Valley Way on Friday, June 28, about his experiences of healthcare during his transition.
The talk formed part of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust's Pride celebrations.
Jay, now 22, visited his GP to start the transition just after his 18th birthday and told how he was "lucky" to only have to wait 18 months for a referral to a gender clinic.
In some areas the wait could be up to four years.
His message to healthcare workers was to be respectful of trans patients, not to ask weird, inappropriate questions and to call out transphobia.
Jay said: "I think it's really important to talk to doctors and healthcare staff about my experience.
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"Everyone will end up in hospital at one point so it's much better to be prepared for a trans patient before they come in."
Jay also raised important concerns about how being transgender could affect patients as they age, including how some illnesses may present differently in male or female patients which could be missed if a doctor does not know a patient is transgender, and how dementia could lead to them identifying with their former gender.
"As I'm not a patient here, it's easy for me to speak freely, whereas patients may feel unable to do so when things go wrong," said the poet.
"And it's an opportunity for them to ask me questions about all the things they want know - so they don't ask their patients those awkward questions."
There was also an exhibition of key dates since Pride began following the Stonewall riots.
More members of the trust made their rainbow pledges by signing up to the NHS' rainbow badge scheme to show their support for the LGBT+ community.
The celebrations were led by the trust's LGBT+ network, which aims to give a voice to staff and patients in this community.
Visit hbhrhospitals.nhs.uk/news to find out more.
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