Lack of Agency

The third most reported challenge was being pressured to make specific healthcare decisions. As youth, we often face difficulties navigating power imbalances with our practitioners. Pressures to make decisions prioritize practitioners’ perspectives and values over our agency.

Pressured decision-making

  • “As queer and trans youth, especially as we have more intersections, we often do a lot of research on what we want and need for our bodies. It’s a protective measure. What can happen when we’re going in for help, is medical professionals telling us what we need and don’t need. I’ve had situations where I’m looking for hormones and a medical professional tells me I don’t need that, or they tell me they don’t think that’s important.”
  • “It’s hard to advocate for yourself. There is a power dynamic that shows up with healthcare practitioners, being knowledge keepers and telling you what you need to do. Even if you don’t want to do that, it’s pressured.”
  • “Some of us don’t feel like we have power in our relationships with our practitioners. It feels like being under another authoritative individual, who is usually white, asserting their role and that they know best. There’s a lot of indirect and hidden racism in those relationships, but a lot of physicians don’t see this. BIPOC youth who show up in these scenarios have questions and real concerns and real fears that they want to be addressed. But they aren’t addressed. We’re told they don’t matter, and they’re shoved aside. And that we just need to follow the practitioner’s instructions.”
  • “It’s a very arrogant attitude, it’s very ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about. We are here to help you and you’re being ungrateful that you’re not taking this opportunity.’ It’s this attitude that makes the individual who is trying to seek healthcare feel bad if they’re not of the same opinion as the healthcare provider. That’s not okay.”
  • “It’s like when practitioners use words like ‘Oh, but that’s so dumb. Are you sure you want to do that?’”