A transgender man says his sex at birth was required on his intake form when he was trying to donate blood in Virginia.
The man, who asked not to be identified because he’s still working through the demoralizing experience, said he went to an Inova Health System in Sterling facility Sept. 22 for his scheduled appointment.
He said a front desk staffer wrote down "gender at birth is female" and underlined it after repeatedly telling him, out loud in the busy clinic, that he must be listed by his birth gender on the paperwork.
"When you try to fight back, sometimes it just doesn’t work," he said. "They’re too big or too powerful, and in this case it happened, and I said, ‘I’m tired, I’m tired.'"
He stayed and donated blood because he says it’s important.
"I was angry," he said. "I kept thinking about the next trans person walking in there that does not deserve that."
"Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which contains its nondiscrimination provisions, protects people from this kind of treatment when they receive medical care," said Benjamin Brooks, a policy director with the Whitman Walker Institute.
Britt Walsh, director of Gender Affirming Care at Whitman Walker, says it’s about training.
"Knowing when you don’t need to ask those questions and under what circumstances you would need to," Walsh said. "The true difference it can make in one person’s day, to not put us through such a degrading experience in front of a room full of people. I feel that shouldn’t have to be said, but here we are."
In a statement to News4, Inova said: "We deeply regret that one of our valued blood donors had a negative experience at one of our centers. It is always our intention to respect the privacy of each of our donors, and we believe they deserve a comfortable, respectful and positive experience. We welcome and value the diverse community of donors whose generosity helps to keep our shelves stocked with much-needed, life-saving blood. We hold our team members to the highest standards and will use this as an opportunity to better train our team members and improve our processes."
"I know if it was me three years ago, this would be a different story," the man said. "I’m strong enough now to do this."
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