This is an article that was printed this month, about a woman in Muncie, Indiana who was mistreated in an emergency room. She went to the emergency room of Ball Memorial Hospital with her wife and son because she was coughing up blood. Erin Vaught was born male, and transitioned to female. She had identification that stated she was female, yet had to be entered into the computer system as male. The hospital staff referred to her as “he-she” or “it.” This was after she waited two hours just to see a doctor that refused to treat her for being trans variant.
Vaught met with Ball Memorial President Michael Haley and other members multiple times to guarantee that others would not receive the mistreatment that she had. In response to these meetings, the hospital announced that all of their employees take mandatory “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender awareness training” starting last month. The hospital announced that they would also “update their policies on non-discrimination to include language specific to sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Vaught later announced to a Muncie newspaper that she was happy with the outcome and that she and her family would return to the hospital in the future.
This article is a good representation of a few of the stereotypes that we discussed the first week of class. To begin with, a large misconception is that all trans variant people are gay before transitioning. For Erin Vaught, that is obviously not the case. She was born male, and has a wife and son.
Another topic we discussed was about referring to trans variant people in terms that they approve. For example, Erin Vaught is a woman with every right to be called “she” and “her,” not “it” or “he-she.” When appropriate terminology is unknown, it is simply best to be as polite and non-discriminatory as possible. The hospital staff was being intentionally disrespectful, not just uneducated. The steps that the hospital board took to educate them was a step in the right direction, but it should not have taken protest for them to get there. There should have been repercussions for the staff’s disrespectful and disgusting behavior at the time of the hospital visit. It should also never have occurred. Training should have been in place before the incident. However, I understand that until occasion calls for it, many policies will not be put in place. And yet, even though there was no policy-all employees should have had common decency and respect for others.