Whenever I started this blog I wanted to give an insight into the life of a trans man, and with that means honesty, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
So today I’m going to talk about: Smear tests
As I entered into the world of physically appearing male, some may think I adopted all male privilege. Let me tell you there is nothing privileged about having to lie, legs spread, on a nurses bed awaiting a duck beaked speculum to enter you.
This is something many assigned female at birth people can agree with, the thought of a smear test, is well, horrific.
Now imagine the stress on top of the basic fears of a smear test, along with:-
- Will my nurse understand?
- Will I be misgendered?
- Will everyone at the clinic know?
- Am I in danger?
The list of fears goes on but essentially it’s a fear of rejection, embarrassment and awkwardness.
However, pushing my fears aside I had to admit the facts: With lower surgery being on hold (not by choice but due to issues within the medical care), my 25th birthday being over 3 months ago and having been sexual active for some time now.
I was due a smear test.
Valuing my physical health over my mental health, I summoned the courage to mention this requirement to my GP during a general appointment. Thankfully my GP is clued in and polite enough that he didn’t question it too much, asked was I sure I could handle it and booked me in.
But then came smear day
Now one of the biggest issues with appointments like this is the personal admission that there are still parts of you, as a trans person, that do not match your gender identity. And due to this you have to go to appointments that feel they shouldn’t be for you. This is a large mental strain and one that I can admit I struggle with from time to time. But the truth of the matter is, I am transgender and that means, to me, that I was born the wrong gender. Transitioning from this gender is a process, and takes time, and until then I am still going to have certain female body aspects which mean I will have to under-go medical treatments linked, generally, with females. This isn’t a bad thing or something to be ashamed of, it’s simply different to the norm and that shouldn’t be an issue.
So with that personal pep talk over I state in a calm tone “I’m here for a smear test“, after the nurse asks what she’ll be doing today.
No shock horror.
Just: “Okay that’s no problem we’ll go into the room”
She then went on to very respectfully ask about periods ,to which I laughed saying it’s been a while and she responded “Of course cause you’re going through the… I just have to ask”
I get where she was going with that comment. She meant I was going through “The Change”
Although not politically correct, she meant no harm.
The rest of the test was pretty straight forward. Pop your kit off, bit of paper to cover yourself and lie legs apart.
When the nurse returned she reassured me the entire time and carried it out efficiently so it was over and done with before I could even be too worried.
Despite being a tad uncomfortable, both physically and mentally, it was nothing to worry about.
The nurse was respectful, she did not misgender me, she wasn’t shocked by me being transgender, nor was she shocked by the physical changes testosterone has had on my sex organs.
So if you’re a cis-gendered female reading this and have been putting off a smear test due to embarrassment or fear, if I can do it, you can do it too.
Honestly, your physical health is so important and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Take care of yourself,