When I was accessing gynaecology services, I did not know I was non binary. I did not yet have the language to explain my experience. All I knew was that my bodies ability to fall pregnant caused me psychological distress. It felt like the constant threat of betrayal.
I was on the Pill from age 21, but the failure rate was of such concern to me. I attempted to access something "more permanent" at 23. I did not flat out ask for a hysterectomy, because I knew even then about gatekeeping of bodies capable of gestation. My male GP told me my options were, The Pill, condoms or falling pregnant. Arsehole.
A change of GP, a couple of years wait, and I tried again. This time I was able to access a hormonal IUD. That caused me even more distress, because the action caused periods to cease but there was still a known failure rate. The entire time I was in constant distress, was this lack of period because the IUD was working or because it had failed. If it failed and I didn't have a missed period as warming how would I know I was pregnant before it was too late. I also hated the little plastic string that poked out of my cervix and I ended up pulling it out myself. My GP did not believe it were possible until I showed her the IUD wrapped up in tissue I had with me.
I still tried to access something more permanent. I wanted a hysterectomy, but I would settle for tubal ligation. My new GP refused to refer me, saying I was too young. I was 25. At 28, I bypassed my GP and went straight to Family Planning. They were willing to refer me for a tubal ligation, but only if I were to bring my male partner in to prove I had his support.
I realise I was seen by the system as a cis woman and treated accordingly. My experience is probably no different to other cis women. It was the emotional distress caused by even the possibility that my body could betray me and actually sustain a child. No one ever asked me why I was so desperate for a hysterectomy.
At 28, I had a tubal ligation. It was somewhat reassuring, but there was still that niggling dread about the failure rates.
Cut to decades worth of menorrhagia and anaemia and I finally convinced a GP to refer me for a full hysterectomy. At 37 they finally agreed that I was unlikely to change my mind about having children.
The Gynae was great and even performed a single oophorectomy, because I said I had "never got along" with my left ovary. It wasn't until I turned 40 that I found the words to describe what I had always felt. I was non binary. Luckily I had already removed the part of me that had caused a lifetime of dysphoria.
I really like the term "people who menstruate" because it firmly declares that message is not for me. By Shelle