Sorry, no lesbians allowed here…

So at age twenty, after never having had experienced any personal homophobic attack in my life thus far, I always though ‘phew, I’ve passed the high school stage with no problems, what’s the worst that can happen now?!’… I held that thought until this morning. Never would I have thought that the first person ever to be homophobic towards me was a professional.

I recently reached that beautiful stage that I received a letter from my doctors and had all my male friends giggle and say ‘ahhh I bet it’s for a smear test!!’ So firstly that’s not very reassuring, in fact it’s terrifying. Do I really want a random woman sticking something up my vajayjay on first meeting, before noon on a weekday…not really, is the answer. However, I persevered and made an appointment as it’s my own health that’s in question after all. After days of thinking about how traumatic the experience was going to be (can you tell, I’m a bit of a drama queen), my male best friend said “don’t worry, she will have seen it all before”. Yeah thanks, I feel so much better after that. Really, I do.

As I walked into the room I was hit with so many questions I thought I was in a quick fire round of a game show:

“How old are you?” “Are you sexually active?” “Are you on the pill?!” “Have you had this test before?”

We certainly weren’t off to a good start on the ‘try not to freak out’ front. So after telling her I’m not on the pill, and watching her confused reaction when I told her I haven’t used contraception, I told her I don’t sleep with men. You’d have thought at this point that I’d told her I was sleeping with turtles as she looked so baffled. It could just be me, but it is normal to be a lesbian, yes?

I'm sorry, it's not you, it's me! Photo by: Phil's 1st Pix: http://bit.ly/19whbRe

I’m sorry, it’s not you, it’s me!

Photo by: Phil’s 1st Pix: http://bit.ly/19whbRe

 

Anyway, she let out a slight “ha!” and said that I wouldn’t need a test then as I hadn’t had sex with a man before….however, now comes the interesting part: she said that should the situation change within the next few years, that I should come back and get tested. Hold on a second…so she’s basically just told me that if soon enough I see the light, she’ll be happy to perform. I don’t think so, lady!

How does she think lesbians have sex, by kissing?! Surely she should have started with “Have you ever had penetrative sex before” then things would have been so much simpler.

So I left the surgery absolutely baffled, and also rather upset/frustrated. Why was I singled out as different? Why was I not entitled to this? All that working myself up for nothing. Although I have decided to go back and get a test, but not from that nurse again. I think I’d make a point of asking for a non-homophobic nurse to do the test on me this time, and see how they respond.

So a word of advice, if you’re going for a test, don’t let the nurse tell you you’re not eligible just because of your sexuality. Do try to tell them otherwise, and if that doesn’t work then I suggest putting in a complaint. It’s 2013, should a professional really be judging you on your sexuality?

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4 thoughts on “Sorry, no lesbians allowed here…

  1. You should have told her to read this as she is apparently not familiar with NHS information despite working for them: http://www.healthscotland.com/uploads/documents/13536-TheCervicalScreeningTest_LesbianAndBisexualWomen.pdf

    That’s really ridiculous and I’m sorry that had to happen to you. Apparently it is quite common though, worryingly. In a survey I worked on in volunteering for LGBT Youth Scotland, quite a few women wrote about experiences like this. The report about that will be out soon so if I remember I’ll come back and post a link here!

  2. Emily Button says:

    What the actual f? As a biochemist/biomedical engineer, I’m shocked that this nurse acted in such a way. Not just the homophobic attitude but the fact that she told you that having sex only with other females meant you were exempt from a smear test. HPVC can be contracted between women and your chances of cervical cancer are the same if you are under the age of 30. Women of the world, smear tests are important regardless of your sexuality. As a healthcare professional this nurse should have known this. If anyone needs proof of this all you need do is wiki “smear test” or “pap test”.

  3. Forbidden by Culture says:

    That’s so very wrong – you should still be tested. Your sexuality has NOTHING to do with smear testing. Such frightening attitudes by individuals who should know better. Please go back and make another appointment. And also write to the surgery to highlight the incident.

  4. claidig says:

    Laughing at the stupidity of your nurse. Good for you for making another appointment. No female is exempt; it was even in the damn marketing campaign! Really hope you complained. Although I suppose it could be blind ignorance. For a while, wasn’t it said that if you only slept with women you couldn’t catch AIDS or something equally as ridiculous? Things take time to make it through the grape vine, you would just think something like cancer would have gotten through it quicker.

    I agree, though. They are surprisingly judgy. Apart from asking me about the contraception me and my boyfriend use, she was alright. I appreciate she was trying to give me other options, but I’m pretty sure I was clear that I had considered others and said no for now.

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