02 March 2015

Transgender Doctor Leaves Selma For Seattle

In some ways, I've been luckier than other trans people.  I lost relationships, but am making new friends.  And my parents have been supportive.

Folks like Jennifer Burnett don't have it so good. After announcing her intention to transition, she lost her house, spouse and job within less than 24 hours.  That, after putting off her transition for 19 years so that she could gain custody of the children she had by her first marriage.  She'd begun hormones and electrolysis when, she said, "God told" her to put her transition on hold for the sake of her children.  

Then, after her second child moved out, she met a woman who married her, knowing of her plans to transition.  But when she started, Wife #2 bailed on her.

Now she offers the kind of support she didn't have.  And, just as important, she provides something trans people to often have difficulty in finding, or never find at all:  medical care from a person who understands their needs and feelings.

That is especially powerful when you realize that she has lived and practiced in Selma, CA, a town near Fresno.  It's about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, in the San Joaquin Valley (often called "The Inland Valley".)  That trans people from both metropoli would take the trip to Selma says something about her.  And the fact that she's been practicing there surely offered hope to LGBT people who were living in the area which, according to a native of the Valley, "produces more raisins and queer-bashers than anyplace else."

I'm sure that acquaintance of mine was being at least somewhat hyperbolic. Still, you have to wonder what sorts of trials Dr. Burnett have experienced.

Could that be a reason why she's leaving?  She says she's moving to Seattle to be closer to her children, which I don't doubt.  Still, it's not hard to think that she'll be in a more welcoming atmosphere than she's in now.  It's a loss for the folks in the Valley (She is also a general practitioner.) but surely a gain for trans people in Seattle.

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