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We Do Not Share Your Beliefs
in which I list the beliefs
I am not in anyone’s fcuking cult. I keep telling y’all this. So, just be forewarned when you read this. Some will be pissed off I wrote this, oh well cry harder—NOT IN ANYONE’S CULT. Mama and Daddy raised a free and critical thinking me.
This is what I think of the moral panic response around the Princess Grace Hospital story—I choose to specifically confine my analysis to the correspondence and Twitter response thereto, because my interest revolves around the misinformation part of this story, and overall my interest lies in the mindset that leads individual to over-commit themselves to misunderstanding + misrepresenting others, particularly those with whom they have fundamental disagreements. What story are you telling yourself, as you move through the world of humans?
This missive describes what I think based upon the details provided in the email exchange made public via Twitter. Note I considered the emails and the response thereto, not any interviews etc, because my interest is in the misrepresentation of facts to stir panic and outrage, and how this detrimentally affects human connection + society, and the ability of activism to forge real + compassionate change.
*Do you want more compassionate activism in your life and in the world? Stick around til the end and find out more.
For the purposes of completion + clarity + continuity, HCA did end up offering the patient the surgery at another facility, according to Carolyn Farrow via Twitter. In addition the CQC accepted Baronness Nicholson’s letter of concern, and will investigate Princess Grace Hospital’s response + conduct in this incident.
Five days ago Gender Critical Twitter blew up with an inflammatory tweet about Princess Grace Hospital in London, UK—in describing one of the most shocking stories you could read … the tweet tells us about a woman scheduled for major critical surgery which the hospital cancelled, for no apparent reason, citing lack of shared values. These details grab you immediately and hook you into outrage mode, the intent of the tweet thread and the MO of this particular Tweeter, as demonstrated consistently over time. The tweet thread leads the reader on an outrage journey, in which the reader concludes that Princess Grace Hospital cancelled this critical surgery because the patient requested female only nursing care.
Muslim women get female only care so why is this happening, readers cry?
We do not share your beliefs and are unable to adhere to your requests and we have therefore decided we will not proceed with your surgery, the hospital email reply reads. Ouch dude, that reply sounds abrupt and my amygdala is not impressed at this, y’know? Amygdala asks, who do I need to yell at about this? Cue the saviour mindset— what beliefs, huh, what if this was a Muslim or Jewish Orthodox woman, huh, huh? People tweet a response to this effect, it becomes an orgy of outrage and the amygdalas are running things now, rational thought has quietly slipped away whilst no one was looking.
Oh, okay, so we’re doing that now are we? We are going to use Muslim women, whom we called LARPing religious rape culture a while back on one of our collective feminist rants, because it suits us to promote our misandry in this instance, are we? How do you spell an eye-roll? Cuz if I knew I would type that sh1t out right now dude. Sigh. Anyway— let’s review what beliefs the hospital did not share, since people are having so much trouble reading these very clear and concise emails provided in screenshot form by the Tweeter who tried to raise an outrage mob about the story.
I choose not to amplify extreme thinking + misinformation, so I won’t link to the tweet thread, if you’re clever you can find it when you search
Princess Grace Hospital on Twitter.
So, what are these beliefs which Princess Grace Hospital did not share? The beliefs the patient expressed in her emails I have listed as follows:
Men are a danger to women
Online porn is a growing thing and I might end up someone’s porn if men are allowed to be around me while I am unable to care for myself
I don’t have to treat trans or non binary hospital staff with dignity by honouring their preferred pronouns, it’s my right to deliberately ignore that and have them feel uncomfortable cuz muh beliefs
Mixed sex hospitals facilities promote sexual assault and rape on an industrial scale
The incident during my pre-op assessment shows a lack of disciple and training amongst HCA male staff wrt to boundaries of female patients
Female only care comprises of the following three components: a.) no male staff, b) only male docs I pre-approve can enter my room, c) all male hospital staff should knock and wait for permission to enter.
Okay, wow. So, let’s clear up some misunderstandings. Muslim women would not declare their intent to deliberately harass1 trans and non binary people, which is what declaring your intention to NOT honour preferred pronouns does. Secondly, Muslim women do not require that no men enter their rooms. Thirdly, Muslim women aren’t these exotic props you can trot out when you need a certain spice for your cause.
I asked a Muslim hijabi surgeon who practises here in Canada and who has also practised in an Islamic country. She told me there is no requirement that a man is not allowed in the room where a woman is staying. My Muslimah friend told me it’s common sense. She explained they provided care in pairs, and that docs often also visit the bedside in pairs, and that the aim is to find balance and remember that everyone, including men, are there to help. This is a socially conservative woman who will not shake a man’s hand telling me this.
Next, lets get realistic—do you know how an intensive care unit works? There are no doors, no single rooms with ensuites—by design ICU provides maximum visibility of patient at nursing station. By design, ICU involves a multi-collaborative effort of many different types of staff from various departments, not just nursing + medicine, to operate the technology and manage the high level of acuity. Everything comes to the ICU—x-ray, lab, everything. THERE ARE NO DOORS IN INTENSIVE CARE. ICU STAFF DO NOT KNOCK BEFORE ENTERING. It’s called critical care for a reason. It’s intensive, 1:1 or 2:1 care at most. These are highly trained professionals engaged in a job to save lives and manage care and the technology related to care. Not everyone is a porn film maker looking for a target to film creepy porn to feed a porn habit.
So, the hospital responded, explaining the logistics of ICU and the lack of private rooms with ensuites, as well as the mixed sex staffing, and the inability to guarantee female-only care as the patient had outlined (see no. 6 above). You can read screenshots of the emails here. In her last response to the hospital, the patient outlined her beliefs.
I disagree with your analysis, the premise you cited for cancelling my surgery is ridiculous and during this whole experience the hospital has been highly unprofessional
This experience I have had means PGH does not value the dignity + privacy of women
You have misrepresented me by portraying me as a menace to staff, I am of good character, you don’t know what harassment means, I do though since I’m a lawyer and declaring as I did my refusal to honour a trans person’s preferred pronouns is not criminal harassment, I checked.
I’m a good person I don’t harass people, also I know the law and I know where the limit is and I never cross it
You are discriminating against me by refusing what I think is a reasonable request (see no 6 above).
The Hospital Did Drop the Ball
Okay. Wow. When I read the emails, a definitive aura of rage emanates from the patient’s own writings—the snark grabs me immediately. Nothing wrong with rage, when it’s channeled constructively. Rage = natural and definitely expected in such a scenario. However, remember the hospital is indeed here to help people, whatever our frustrations might try to tell us. The patient does write I am sure we would have found some form of compromise. So, ultimately, a serious communication breakdown happened—definitely PGH could have handled this a lot better. Put bluntly, the hospital fcukd up here—the individuals responsible for communicating with the patient royally messed up.
In reading the demands and beliefs outlined in the patient’s emails, I find it difficult to see how any facility with a mixed-sex auxiliary staff could agree to accommodate them, simply on a practical + logistical basis. Also, on a care liability basis—all sorts of scenarios enter my mind which would make the rule of no males entering the room disastrous, and these scenarios must be considered by care managers who have a duty to staff also. Whilst I agree with the decision to cancel the surgery given the patient’s demands, I cannot agree with the shoddy manner in which they handled their communication + correspondence.
This decision to cancel a critical surgery like this one warranted a phone call, not simply an email, IMO.
Why did the hospital from the beginning not spearhead a collaborative effort for creation of solution that would work for everyone?
Surely working toward finding a last-minute, mutually acceptable solution would have made more sense than simply cancelling the surgery?
Why didn’t the hospital get a clue that the incident of the individual barging in during the assessment rattled the patient and she really required hospital management to address this in a serious way to indicate to her that she could trust her well-being and safety to the facility when she will be immobilised in post-operative care?
Hospital care is about the patient, that is the entire purpose for anyone being there, ie staff. This is the patient’s journey to wellness—the onus should be on the hospital to provide safety, compassionate + evidence based care to the best of it’s ability.
We are, obviously, not privy to whatever discussions + opinions her surgeon + primary care provider(s) would have had about the patient’s situation, concerns raised, and her requests for care during her hospital stay. Ultimately, the surgeon is the primary care provider, not the CEO of the hospital or any administrative clerk. Knowing physicians + surgeons as I do based on my professional experience, I believe a primary care provider would have received this patient’s concerns with sober seriousness—ultimately do no harm governs a physician/surgeon.
The reality of the situation—a gravely ill human being preparing for major critical surgery and fearing for her physical safety given the current socio-political environment—demands that all involved in her care do their utmost to address the fears + concerns in a non-judgemental + compassionate manner. Health care exists to restore the health of human beings and female people have specific + complex care needs.
As I mentioned, I find it difficult to see how any facility with a mixed-sex auxiliary staff could agree to accommodate these particular demands to keep men out of a patient room entirely, simply on a practical + logistical basis. From a care delivery and workflow perspective. If men work there they’re going to be around.
So, what can we brainstorm to accommodate the patient’s version of female-only care? Can we come up with agreeable solutions that would meet her demands? Could the facility reasonably guarantee no male staff would enter a patient’s care area or room? How can male auxiliary staff discharge their duties when they cannot enter the rooms? Have we considered the possibility of chaperones/constants?
This case gives me real pause to consider whether realistically female only care can happen in hospitals in my community. What is the reality for female people? How much responsibility do facilities have + what is the practical, common-sense reality? As a Muslim woman living in the west, one who has nursed in hospitals + care homes, I would assume female-only care cannot be provided. On one level, I have the mindset health care professionals treat human beings.
Extended Care nursing care managers I have worked with have always made the best efforts to divide care based on sex, whenever possible, to be fair. I don’t know that this can be a main determining factor in assigning patients in ICU though. Personally, I don’t know that I would require men be forbidden to enter my room. If I had a concern then I would arrange to have someone I know assist or chaperone me.
Experience has taught me that when I take responsibility for my own care concerns I am empowered and I have managed my own comfort level in a way that reassures the fear of losing control which comes with surgery + hospitalisation. When I make allaying my fears the responsibility of others, I entrench my feelings of helplessness. How can False Expectations Appearing Real become Face Everything And Rise? By finding my own solution. That’s an added stressor, it’s uncool female people have to live with this reality on one level.
I guess we ask ourselves what makes sense.
Ultimately, a person undergoing a critical medical treatment involving major complex bowel surgery, + intensive care hospitalization will harbour deep fears vis a vis existential sh1t + loss of control + vulnerability, and we would do well to remember this basic human fact and not be assholes and make the struggle more difficult than it already is!
However questions remain—
What can female people do, how can we organise, individually + on a community-basis, to meet care needs such as those expressed by this particular patient?
To what degree do female people need to exclude male people from their care environments?
How much responsibility does a facility or institution have to deliver female-only care?
Could we realistically have an entirely female institution to provide care to women? (the catholic religious orders have it so why can’t the secular world?)
Does society support the right of women to such care institutions?
What Do We Tolerate in a Pluralistic Society?
To deliberately seek (and to be proud to admit) to not honour the requests people make for preferred pronouns seems obnoxious to me. I don’t have to agree with anyone to treat them with dignity. If they want a pronoun that isn’t what my hardwiring tells me, then my character tells me to provide dignity and not make it into a thing. Someone making something a big deal needn’t force me to also make that same thing into a big deal—this makes the situation about me and that’s an anathema to hijab.
I’ve struggled with this one, with what is the right thing to do. I am a hijabi, meaning modesty of character is a way I practise my faith in real life, so what does the value of modesty tell me? Intention matters, compassionate intention. Honouring a request for a preferred pronoun isn’t saying humans are sequential hermaphrodites, it’s simply being compassionate. Just the same as I agree not to shake a bloke’s hand if he is socially conservative and doesn’t shake hands with women—me honouring him in that way isn’t saying I agree that men + women shouldn’t ever physically touch, not even to shake hands, or that male + female people cannot have platonic friendships.
I disagree that deliberately seeking to hurt anyone by refusing to honour their preferred pronouns is anyone’s entitlement, particularly in a care setting. Yes, it is obviously hurtful because otherwise why would the individual go to the trouble of preferred pronouns of it was not important to them for some personal reason and that isn’t my concern or place to judge or to project any narrative onto, frankly. I would not appreciate being told by any patient who is anti-muslim or anti-hijab a whole lot of horsesh1t about whatever they think my hijab symbolises, such as hijabis are LARPing religious rape culture—that isn’t included in any health care worker’s pay grade, dude.
Tolerating me moving through public space wearing a hijab doesn’t say anything about your belief in hijab, it says you are a grown up who can agree we, on this third rock from the sun, all wanna live our best lives and have different ideas about what that looks like. Similarly, honouring pronouns does not say I think humans are sequential hermaphrodites and telling a Christian Merry Christmas does not mean I believe Jesus was divine.
What values guide your existence? Do you know yours? You can find mine here, on my website.
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Harass—unwanted or unwelcome verbal, physical, written behaviour of any kind that may offend or humiliate; so then, yes, deliberately choosing to antagonise a trans person about their preferred pronouns constitutes harassment, it is provocative language