It feels mildly appropriate that the 20th anniversarry of the death of Tyra Hunter has fallen on the same week that the #TransHealthFail hash tag has been highlighting the poor treatment transgender people have to face when dealing with medical professionals.
For those unaware, Tyra Hunter was a twenty four year old African-American transgender woman, who after being involved in a traffic collision as a passenger was left to die by emergency medical technicians and ER staff after they discovered that she was transgender.
Tyra was insulted and and received derogatory comments from both EMT’s and hospital staff and had treatment withdrawn from her for nothing more than being trans.
The people responsible were found guilty in court in 1998 and Tyra’s family was awarded compensation due to breaking of the Human Rights Act, negligence and medical malpractice.
Twenty years is a long way for society to progress, and many of you might be thinking that following what happened to Tyra things must be much better now right? Well, if the accounts of mistreatment highlighted by trans people just this week is anything to go by, no, things haven’t got much better.
From the tweets that I myself have seen thankfully no one has spoken about anyone dieing due to negligence, but the sheer amount of disrespect, refusal of treatment and lack of compassion people have reported means that things aren’t really too different now than when Tyra was left to die.
As reported in a previous article, trans people have been reporting numerous acts of being intentionally misgendered and dead named even after expressly telling medical staff correct names and pronouns. People have been publicly humiliated in front of other medical staff and the public. They have been refused treatment, even when asking for help with issues that have nothing to do with being trans. They have been told that they are simply delusional by psychologists and therapists.
None of these things are what anyone should have to go trough when seeking medical treatment, especially when their have been proven cases, like Tyras, where it shows that people die because of treatment like this.
The world is patting itself on the back for how far we have come, for the progress of the LGBT+ community, for the new rights we have received. But no one wants to address an issue as massively important as trans people being allowed to suffer because medical practitioners simply have no concept of how to help us, or are letting personal prejudice cloud their view.
Tyra Hunter wasn’t the first trans person left to die in her hour of need by people who swear oaths to preserve life, and she isn’t the last. We can’t delude ourselves, things haven’t gotten any better for the trans community when our lives are on the line.