Angels of the trans universe

At that time, Felipe Hurtado was also working on his own, and also received women in his sexology consultation. The story is traced. “I saw that this could not be so, because they were doing a lot of damage and without controls of any kind“. He began to inquire and search the bibliography” to see what was done in this type of case and somehow self-train “…. And Marcelino met Felipe.

The endocrinologist and the sexologist are two angels. It is what comes out of the mouths of many trans people who have cared for over twenty years. Today they are part of the Gender Identity Unit of the Doctor Peset University Hospital. They are mainly dedicated to treating trans people, make sure your health and that your transition is as smooth as possible. But we must go back twenty years, when there was no unit, no experts, and no legislation to protect these people.

At the beginning of the 2000s, public health did not contemplate any part of the treatment for a transgender person. As Felipe and Marcelino say, the transphobia present in society made them (the vast majority were women) end up earning a living by practicing prostitution in places like Avenida del Oeste in València. The cocktail was completed with self-medication, caused by the helplessness of Social Security. “They ended up taking toxic drugs, contraceptives that came from Brazil of poor quality …” recalls Marcelino.

It was then that he began to receive visits from several NGOs to his practice and made a courageous professional decision, moved by something that “is justice.” Despite being out of the service charter, he began to help these trans women together with Felipe. To treat them, to get them out of the well. “Those women in black and white ended up being multicolored when they left the consultation,” he says.

“I perfectly remember collecting samples of oral contraceptives that my fellow gynecologists had in the office, next door. Later, I would meet with the Red Cross, or with Doctors of the World, and we went to areas such as the Valencian neighborhood of Velluters. We saw the women and changed them. We picked up the bad ones, the ones they didn’t have to wear, and in exchange we gave him the modern and safe. He explained that they did not have to take that, that they should not prick it. And they asked them to come to the hospital, to see how they were doing. ”

“The era of the banner is over. We have held it for a long time, but now we need more resources.”

Marcelino Gómez – Endocrino


May Chordá, one of those trans women who, although she was not treated by Marcelino went through all this, remembers it that way. “Women jabbed each other, or jabbed triple doses because they were eager to finally be as they wanted. Many developed even cirrhosis. We were killing each other little by little, “he explains.

Marcelino and Felipe formed a team. And they kept working on the tightrope, on the allegiances. Word began to spread, and people from Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, the Balearic Islands began to arrive through word of mouth … But they did, they remember, out of goodwill and commitment, because “it was justice.” At that time “no doctor wanted to get into that garden, no one wanted to treat the problems of these women,” Hurtado recalls. Really tough cases came. “I remember a boy who went to a private clinic in Valencia where they promised to remove his ovaries and uterus.” And they did … but without hormonal treatment afterwards. “I had serious problems, a decalcification, in short I was experiencing menopause at the age of 20, how could I not treat that person?”

Many treatments, as you recall, were done compassionately. “Thanks to the goodwill of some people.” They say that “here with the PP they have put breast prostheses, things that were not done anywhere else in Europe. We managed to talk about it. What does the head of service say? That he does not care. And the anesthetist? Little objection, but in the end it was done. We went on a case-by-case basis and in the end the doctors said ‘look, this is a matter of justice’, they put themselves in the shoes of those people and they understood it “. For Marcelino this shows that “society is always ahead of the laws”.

It was with the law 3/2007 regulating the registration rectification of the mention relative to the sex of the people just approved when his first meeting of the council arrived. Then they began to talk about the subject and give some guidelines, although nothing in writing.

The rights for the trans community have been expanding over the years until reaching the Valencian law of 2017, considered by those interviewed as “the most complete in Spain”. But this was not always the case, and Felipe and Marcelino had to fight and invent tricks to guarantee the benefit of these people and achieve something that, today, is common sense.

We couldn’t prescribe birth control if the name was male, then we ‘forgot’ to put it whole in the prescription, or we put only the initial so that they could pick them up and have access to modern drugs. “Another” humiliating “procedure was the law that forced trans people to undress in front of officials so that they could check their genitals. Felipe and Marcelino recall that “we always attached karyotypes in the report so that the official could see it and it was not necessary to go through that procedure for people.”

Felipe himself remembers well his passage through dozens of trials, where he was called to testify about whether the person had a gender identity other than his biological sex. As for the diagnoses “we couldn’t put ‘transsexuality’ so we wrote hypogonadism or something similar to be able to prescribe what he needed, “recalls Marcelino. Felipe even contacted social workers and NGOs to find work or job training for these women.

On the street, transphobia took the lives of many women ahead. “The dangerousness law had been in place for a long time, but many of them ended up in jail,” says Marcelino. As Chordá qualifies, who had to prostitute herself at the time “we saw ourselves doomed to it or to the world of show business,” there were no other options. She explains that she was disowned by her family in 2002, by trans and prostitute. “What were we exposing ourselves to? Being stoned, raped, verbally and physically assaulted …”, she recalls.

Chordá says that he stole medicine bottles from his mother to distribute it among his companions and that electric shocks were applied to the face in hair salons to remove facial hair. Many women continue with brands today. “Many women injected themselves into the hips and breasts. People did it from their private apartments in Madrid and Barcelona, ​​in terrible hygiene conditions. A friend was injected with liquid silicone into her vein and she almost lost her life …” , recalls.

“We attached karyotypes in the reports to prevent the official from undressing the person and having to go through such a humiliating process”

Felipe Hurtado – Sexologist


Much has happened since that situation, with an advance in rights and undeniable recognition for the group. Now Marcelino and Felipe ask to stop holding banners. “We have taken them a long time, but the era of the banner is over, we need more resources“Marcelino claims.” He is right that the law is fantastic but it has to be developed and put the necessary means “, complements Felipe.

The sexologist explains that, for example, this year He already has 170 patients “whom he does not have to see just once”, and that in his day to day he does not stop forcing the agenda. Marcelino the same. “The vast majority of the unit team suffer from burnout syndrome. We want to throw in the towel but we don’t do it for the usual, out of commitment, but we can’t spend our whole lives working by will. ”

Other problems that weigh on the Gender Identity Unit are, for example, that it does not appear on the hospital’s website and it is almost impossible to find a contact telephone or email. “We already don’t know the letters to Health to solve this, but nothing,” Felipe complains. Also the ignorance about its existence, “until recently I have come across cases that their GP had told them that there was nothing like that.” Nor is there, for example, the possibility of contacting them by consultation. “Sometimes they get my personal email or call, but after asking for a long time,” Hurtado denounces.

There is also a lack of training and awareness. “This subject in the faculties is not touched at all, only in some postgraduate programs in which I participate, but it is already“Hurtado says. And unethical behaviors are still reproduced in hospitals;” there is still a lot of transphobia in the health field. Colleagues who tell us ‘these are mentally ill’ or ‘I don’t treat this one’. It is still a reality, transphobia is still embedded in the shell of many doctors “, denounces Marcelino.


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