BMJ, September 9, 2019
Care providers need to be aware of the damage of inappropriate curiosity when working with people who are transgender, say Adam Shepherd, Benjamin Hanckel, and Andy Guise.
Encountering inappropriate curiosity is a common experience among people who identify as LGBT. This kind of behaviour shouldn’t happen in a healthcare facility, yet recent reports from Stonewall and the government’s Equalities Office confirm that this is a problem in healthcare and that it particularly affects people who are transgender.
What do we mean when we say that a healthcare provider is showing “inappropriate curiosity?” Researchers provided insight into what this is in a study where they describe trans participants being asked intrusive questions about their personal lives and being subjected to invasive physical examinations. Participants felt that these were irrelevant to why they had sought out medical care, and that their only purpose was to satisfy the personal interest of the healthcare practitioner. Imagine, for example, going to your GP for a chronic cough and being asked what genitals you have, or going for a foot X-ray and the radiographer making comments about your breasts.