A trans woman who went to hospital in Muncie, Indiana, last month with a serious lung complaint has said she was ridiculed and ultimately refused treatment by staff.
Erin Vaught was reportedly refused treatment after waiting for two hours at Ball Memorial Hospital where she had gone after coughing up blood. She also claimed to have been the victim of verbal abuse, enduring such taunts as “he-she,” “transvestite” and “it”.
Trans and gay activists in both Indiana and throughout the US were quick to protest, and the hospital had soon received 2,000 emails of complaint.
Hospital President Mike Haley responded swiftly. According to EdgeBoston.com, his statement said: “Ball Memorial Hospital is engaging with Indiana Equality [and] Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance to assist with review of [our] care policies, employee benefits and diversity training.
“[We are] committed to providing preeminent health care services for all our patients, and to continue [our] tradition of treating all patients and families with dignity and respect.”
Speaking to EdgeBoston, Doug Whitinger of Indiana Equality said that he was proud Ms Vaught had been brave enough to speak to him about the incident. He added, “Erin has really brought the issue to light that there are areas of the state and country where people are experiencing this discrimination . . . it’s happening in locations close to people here, not far away . . . I think that’s motivating people to act.”
According to data released earlier this year by LGBT organisation Lambda Legal, incidents such as the one experienced by Ms Vaught are sadly not so unusual for the trans community.
The survey had over 5,000 respondents, and 70 per cent of trans people claimed they had been discriminated against in healthcare environments, compared to 56 per cent of LGB people who suffered mistreatment over their sexual orientation.