Along life’s journey you stumble and fall. Your face slams against the jagged rocks and you need medical assistance. But who can you trust to help you?
Medical Mistrust and the Male Label
If you were given the Male Label at birth, you are less likely to seek help when you need to. Part of the reason is because of the way you were conditioned; you were taught to soldier on, no matter the injury.
Even if you do seek help, as someone who has been given the Male Label, your behaviour is more likely to be interpreted by the helping profession as ‘angry’ or ‘aggressive’. As the American Psychological Association makes clear, the Male Labelled are ‘more likely to be diagnosed with externalizing disorders (e.g., conduct disorder and substance use disorders)’ (APA Guidelines 2018). I discuss this more in my previous article (Surviving the Dark Void of Depression Part 1).
Medical Mistrust amongst the Gender Diverse
If you were given the Male Label at birth and you are Gender Diverse, you may be even less likely to trust that you will get the help you need. According to the Center for American Progress -
Medical Mistrust amongst other members of the LGBTQ+ community
If you were given the Male Label and you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community (because of your sexuality), your medical mistrust may be multiplied because -
Medical Mistrust amongst Persons of Color
If you were given the Male Label at birth and you are a Person of Color, you are more likely to delay seeking help for medical complaints. Dr Wizdom Powell, the lead author of a study in the journal Behavioural Medicine, claims that this is due to ‘medical mistrust’ of the health care system. Studies consistently show that
Regaining Trust amongst the Male Labelled
There have been some efforts to encourage the Male Labelled to seek help and to try and address the gender bias amongst the helping profession. Examples include The Good Men Project and the Movember Foundation. There is still much room for improvement.
Regaining Trust amongst the Gender Diverse
There are some worrying changes afoot with the Department of Health and Human Services. However, great organisations are working hard to address what is turning out to be the denial of basic human rights for some people who are Gender Diverse. Examples of the organisations doing great work to address this: National Center for Transgender Equality, Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign, World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and National Center for LGBT Health Education.
Regaining Trust amongst other members of the LGBTQ+ community
We have come a long way in addressing homophobia, but there is still much work to do. And there is even more work to do to address biphobia. However, there are organisations hard at work to address this, such as the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Center for LGBT Health Education.
Regaining Trust amongst Persons of Color
Although there are still significant structural obstacles for Persons of Color to access adequate health care, there are some important initiatives. For example, there is My Brother’s Keeper, created by former President Obama, the National Black Nurses Association, and the Lee Thompson Young Foundation.
Code of Ethics
Remember that each healthcare professional is bound by a Code of Ethics, and that should include a prohibition on discriminatory practice.
The Codes of Ethics have been created by the governing body for each profession. For example, there is the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, National Association of Social Workers, etc.
If you find that the conduct of a healthcare professional is in any way discriminatory, you can raise a complaint with that governing body
So what do you think?
Does any of this resonate with you? Get in touch by sending me a message privately via the Contact Page, or add a public comment below, and engage in the debate
Chris Warren-Dickins LLB MA LPC
Therapist, writer, educator, and LGBTQ+ advocate