I am a transgender man. Like many of my peers, I still have a uterus, which means I need to get annual Pap smear screenings. When I moved here five years ago, I established a relationship with a primary care provider in Hillsboro. Despite my repeated requests, my doctor told me I didn’t need Pap screening in my early twenties, contrary to standards of care for a person my age. I continued to ask. After three years, my doctor acknowledged she did not know how to treat me and recommended I find another doctor.
Two years ago, I finally received the Pap screening, which is critical to preventing cervical cancer. It came back positive for pre-cancerous cells. To prevent the spread of cancer, my physician recommended a hysterectomy, which I was prepared for, but was denied this care because my mom’s insurance provider denied treatment. The insurance company didn’t have a code that would allow a transgender man to have a hysterectomy.
In January, my mother changed jobs and we now have new insurance, so I started the process again. Fortunately, I also have a more knowledgeable doctor, who is well versed in serving transgender people. A recent Pap screening has revealed the cancer cells have spread, making my need for a hysterectomy even more acute. It’s been two months, I am currently working with my health insurance provider to approve the procedure so the pre-cancerous cells can be removed.
Sadly, my story is not unique. Transgender men like me face this kind of health care discrimination all the time, including in Oregon.