A woman who requested a female NHS nurse to perform her cervical smear test was “embarrassed and distressed” after a person with stubble and a deep voice summoned her for the intimate procedure.
When the patient pointed out the mistake, the nurse replied: “My gender is not male. I’m a transsexual.”
This weekend, the woman, who decided not to go ahead with the examination, said it was “weird where somebody says to you: ‘My gender is not male’ and you think: ‘Well, what does that even mean? You are clearly a man.’ ”
The nurse “had an obviously male appearance . . . close-cropped hair, a male facial appearance and voice, large number of tattoos and facial stubble”, she said.
The woman received an official NHS apology after she made a complaint about her treatment.
The incident has been revealed as Justine Greening, the equalities minister and education secretary, is considering proposals that would allow people to change their gender legally without a doctor’s diagnosis.
That is, when is gender simply self-defined (when, say, deciding to wear a dress, adopt a name one wishes to be known by) and when do the expectations of others make a difference?