Brettany Renee Blatchley (Asheville, NC)
I had changed, was snuggled under the threadbare hospital blanket on a gurney in a frigid staging room. The nurse had been sweet as she took my hand in greeting, then started a saline IV; I thanked her and she left me. Then the doctor came in, another gentle hand; he asked me questions he already knew the answers to, and at last I added: “You know that I am a transgender woman, with mixed anatomy? I don’t want anyone to be surprised.” He smiled reassuringly and replied, “Yes, I knew from the notes. There’s no problem; we see all kinds of bodies here.” I thanked him and then he left…
… It was time, and the anesthesiologist came, introduced herself and wheeled me into the dim procedure room nearby. Once inside she introduced me to the other members of the team, and they all smiled and greeted me, touching my hand warmly. I thanked them and gently, pensively said, “Just so there are no unpleasant surprises, I am a transgender woman and my anatomy is mixed.” The anesthesiologist must have seen the concern on my face, and as-if she was giving me a warm hug, she thanked me and said, “You’re in a safe place here…”
… Amidst friendly chatter about the place I most wanted to visit (Australia), I quickly felt myself… enter… oblivion…… seemingly moments later we resumed our conversation, this time everyone was talking about their favorite local craft beers. Procedure done, I asked them if I had been a good patient while I had been “under,” and they reassured me that I had done perfectly and that there appeared to be no cancer. Once again, I thanked them.
“You’re in a safe place here,” her words reassured me throughout the rest of the day.
This is how I spent my Transgender Day of Visibility.