Health care settings require vulnerability from patients, but Planned Parenthood makes me feel safe in that vulnerability because they recognize the importance of my non-binary identity and how closely it ties into how I feel about my body — including the decisions I make for it.
Each person’s health care journey is personal and vulnerable, but when someone has to continually educate their doctor and advocate for themselves, it can discourage them and make them want to run away from their own health.
I would know.
I’m non-binary and the health care decisions I make for my body are deeply connected to my identity. Planned Parenthood is the only health care facility where I have felt safe, recognized for who I am, and respected for it too.
Safety is important
Being misgendered cuts through my body to my soul. While I’ve come to expect it in some public places, my doctor’s office should not be one of those places.
For so many reasons, walking into most health care clinics is scary and intimidating — you already feel guarded and closed off to nurses and doctors that you’re supposed to open up to. On top of that, the forms may not even list my correct gender and caretakers may not have had the training to call me by my correct pronouns. I am an “other.” Someone they aren’t listening to — they aren’t seeing — when they can’t even get my gender right.
That trust falls apart before it could be formed.
Add to that, the trauma and anxiety of coming out over and over again with each new person I interact with during a visit, and you can see why so many non-binary or non-conforming people stop seeking health care.
But Planned Parenthood is different — I’m not afraid to seek health care there.
Their passion for health care has translated into making each and every patient that walks through their door feel safe. Yes, women and girls use their services, but so do trans men and non-binary people with uteruses. We are so often left out of the conversation, but Planned Parenthood makes spaces for all of us — not only in the movement to fight for our rights, but also in our own important health care decisions.
At Planned Parenthood, my gender is not only recognized — I’m validated and accepted. They understand that my gender identity is wrapped up in my relationship with my body and its health. It makes the experience of receiving health care safer and more comfortable. I’m able to have more honest conversations with my doctors and nurses and I know they’ll align my care with my needs.
That trauma, that anxiety, that constant advocating for myself disappears. I can simply be a patient who needs health care. I am not an “other” at Planned Parenthood, I am just respected. They are there for me — and they’ll be there for you, too.
I’m so thankful for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood welcome all Iowans, respects all genders, and provides compassionate care to each individual.
Get to know Planned Parenthood. We’re more than you think.Read more from Planned Parenthood storytellers