Congratulations to Madi Scull, who successfully defended their Bachelor of Philosophy thesis, "Barriers, Boundaries, and Borders: An Investigation into Transgender Experiences within Medical Institutions" on April 5, 2019. Graduating this spring from Communication; Sociology; and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies; Madi is the second Communication major to earn the Bachelor of Philosophy honors degree at Pitt.
Madi's thesis committee congratulates them on a successful defense. Left to right: Lisa Brush, Sociology; Julie Beaulieu, GSWS; Madi Scull, Class of 2019; Lester Olson, Communication; Natalie Kouri-Towe, GSWS
Barriers, Boundaries, and Borders: An Investigation into Transgender Experiences within Medical Institutions
Madison T. Scull, BPhil
University of Pittsburgh, 2019
Abstract: As a population that has been often dismissed, neglected, discriminated against, and abused by medical institutions, the relationship between the transgender community and medicine has remained shrouded in silence until recent history. As a result of being forced to contend with transphobia, violence, and erasure, the transgender community in the United States suffers from tangible health disparities when compared to the health outcomes of the national adult population. This thesis addresses issues of boundary enforcement, gatekeeping, and Western ethnocentrism that face transgender people in dealing with healthcare. Each chapter addresses a different aspect concerning the experiences of transgender people seeking healthcare in the United States by reviewing scholarship on these experiences, considering available evidence of health disparities in medicine, and exploring medical perspectives on the lives of trans individuals. This project contributes to trans studies via an exploration of some of the nuanced experiences trans individuals face in medical settings. Through this work I argue that harmful boundaries and borders must be deconstructed, specifically those that exist within the medical field, to improve the quality and access of healthcare for transgender populations. The first chapter discusses the theory in transgender studies on transgender healthcare. The second chapter centers the experiences of trans individuals within healthcare institutions and discusses the health disparities that exist for transgender communities when compared to their cisgender counterparts. The third chapter looks at these topics from the perspective of medical practitioners and engages with methods of communication that can help to bridge the chasms in the health disparities that exist for transgender populations. This project works toward a future in which trans people in medical institutions are able to access compassionate, gender-affirming healthcare of a high quality.