LGBTI people need doctors to leave their prejudice at the door

LGBTI people need doctors to leave their prejudice at the door

I had my first pap smear at the age of 20. I had been so afraid to get one that I waited until I was worried about something my body was doing, and impulsively booked an appointment. It was damage control, not preventive healthcare.

On the way to my girlfriend’s tiny and bedbug-infested apartment, I parked outside a medical centre on Bondi Road. I was led into an examination room, where I was met by an Orthodox Jewish doctor.

“Why have you come in today?”

“For a pap smear.” I explained the issue I was worried about and fell silent.

“I see. Come over to the bed, please, and remove your pants and underwear.”

I didn’t know anything about the procedure, and waited for him to explain what he would be doing. He didn’t.

When I was a teenager, I had seen a poster reminding women to have regular pap smears every two years after turning 18 or after becoming sexually active. The poster worried me, and I asked my mother about the procedure. She had been honest and detailed in her description, but I was still scared and uncertain what it would feel like.

“So, you are sexually active?” he asked. He covered the lower half of my body with a sheet for privacy, prepared the speculum, and then applied lube.

“Yes.”

“Are you married?”

“No.”

“Do you use condoms? Or are you on the contraceptive pill?”

“Well, my partner is a woman, so no.” I hadn’t planned on coming out, but his question about condoms and the pill made me think he was more progressive than he looked. It hadn’t occurred to me that I had to worry about his professionalism… Read More>>

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

 

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