May 17, 2019

THE MAIN PROBLEM IS THAT SHE WASN’T A PREGNANT MAN: Blurred lines: A pregnant man’s tragedy tests gender notions.

When the man arrived at the hospital with severe abdominal pains, a nurse didn’t consider it an emergency, noting that he was obese and had stopped taking blood pressure medicines. In reality, he was pregnant — a transgender man in labor that was about to end in a stillbirth.

The tragic case, described in Wednesday’s New England Journal of Medicine, points to larger issues about assigning labels or making assumptions in a society increasingly confronting gender variations in sports , entertainment and government. . . .

“The point is not what’s happened to this particular individual but this is an example of what happens to transgender people interacting with the health care system,” said the lead author, Dr. Daphna Stroumsa of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

“He was rightly classified as a man” in the medical records and appears masculine, Stroumsa said. “But that classification threw us off from considering his actual medical needs.”

If your classification rules out a serious medical issue that you in fact suffer from, then you’re not “rightly classified.” And when you have a news story that reads: “Moments later, the man delivered a stillborn baby,” well, your classifications systems aren’t working right.

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