Transgender woman refused prostate cancer test at clinic in Central

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 January, 2014, 5:33am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 January, 2014, 5:33am

A transgender woman wants a formal apology from a Central clinic after she was initially refused a prostate cancer screening test because a doctor said a pap smear was her only option, given that her identity card stated she was a woman.

The 59-year-old woman, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2010, said the clinic should have been more flexible about her medical needs when she booked the test in November. "I was so angry that I wrote to the Equal Opportunities Commission [EOC] on that same day," Michelle (not her real name) said.

A spokeswoman for the clinic, Dr Vio & Partners, said the general manager was not available for comment yesterday. She said the clinic had verbally apologised to Michelle on November 24 and a prostate cancer test was carried out on December 24.

However, Michelle is seeking a formal apology: "The clinic doesn't think it's necessary, but it's a matter of principle".

The clinic spokeswoman confirmed that the clinic was in discussions with the EOC on how to resolve the matter.

"We regret what happened, but we didn't apologise. The EOC didn't say we had to use the word 'apologise'," she said. "We had no intention to discriminate and it was the doctor's inflexibility as she did not seek advice from higher management."

On the EOC's support of Michelle's complaint of unfair treatment under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, the clinic spokeswoman said "our higher management disagree" with the finding that being transgender was a disability.

"We are open to discussion, but if someone wants to victimise herself, I don't know," she said.

The EOC defines gender identity disorder as a psychiatric disability which falls under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance.

Michelle's complaint is one of two being handled by the Hong Kong branch of the Association of World Citizens, an NGO with consultative status with the UN's Economic and Social Council.