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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 7th, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 22 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 22

SBTAN offers transgender training to Marian intern doctors

By DAVID MINSKY

A Santa Barbara support group that offers training throughout the county on how to properly deal with transgender individuals is also training doctor interns at Marian Regional Medical Center. 

According to Max Rorty, Santa Barbara County Transgender Advocacy Network (SBTAN) has been offering training to medical staff at county hospitals for the last two years, Marian Regional Medical Center included. SBTAN is not a nonprofit, but it’s an extension of the Pacific Pride Foundation, which is a nonprofit, according to Rorty.

In particular, the training includes how to use proper pronouns on medical charts or when addressing transgender individuals. Essentially, Rorty said, they train medical staff how to take care of women with prostates and men with ovaries. 

For example, a man with ovaries ought to be referred to as “he” rather than “she,” according to Rorty. The proper medical treatment, however, would not change.

“Everything in the medical charts must reflect a man with ovaries,” Rorty said, adding that the entire medical staff must refer to their patient with the correct pronoun. “You have to reflect the anatomy. It’s tricky because you don’t want to actually call them ‘she.’”

Even while society becomes more aware of transgender and discrimination issues, Rorty said there is still a tendency to accidentally alienate people. 

The point of SBTAN is to help communities become all-inclusive. Besides medical professionals, their training extends to mental health professionals, members of the clergy, and schools, too.  

There are many ways that transgender individuals are excluded, Rorty said, one being the lack of public restrooms for transgenders. Rorty and SBTAN want to encourage individuals and public institutions to install unisex bathrooms for transgender people
to use. 

“Often our community members feel unwelcomed, and we need to make sure that everybody in their community has equal access to all of our resources and institutions,” Rorty said. 

Other ways include not being able to indentify with a particular gender on legal documents. 

“There’s a lot of little ways our infrastructure and paperwork obstruct access for transgender and gender non-normative people,” Rorty said. 

One of the ways communities tend to struggle with this is how to deal with gender non-normative, or people whose gender expression is not obviously male or female, according to Rorty. Gender identity is distinct from expression, Rorty said, such as a person who looks or dresses like a woman and might actually identify as a man. 

“Sometimes gender expression doesn’t give us clues about gender identity,” Rorty said.

Another focus is to get schools in the county to sign on with transgender training. So far, Rorty said that SBTAN has a contract with the Santa Barbara Unified School District. 









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