Friday, June 5, 2009

Very, Very Wrong Enquirer Story

This is thanks to Stuff Queer People Need to Know's fierce and regular checking of local queer news. From the Enquirer comes a story entitled thus: Cross-dresser on trial for hospital incident. Seriously, folks. Jere Keys emailed both me and Jamie and said, "Can we get GLAAD on this one" for the sheer amount of wrongness and poor reporting in this single story. I would say, yea, definitely. The story in toto:
When University Hospital nurses walked into the patient’s intensive care room Feb. 17, they saw the wounded man was visibly shaken – and wearing lip gloss.

He became even more shaken when he learned the female phlebotomist who had just kissed and groped his exposed penis was really a man.

That phlebotomist, Chad Thrasher, also known as Chadea Thrasher, is on trial, charged with sexually touching the patient.

Thrasher, 24, lives as a female and appeared in court wearing women’s clothes, jewelry and hairstyle.

But it was Thrasher’s alleged conduct in the alleged victim’s hospital room – as he was recovering from the four surgeries he needed after being shot during a crime – that could send Thrasher to prison for up to 18 months.

Thrasher had drawn the man’s blood before but this incident was different. The man wasn’t scheduled to have his blood drawn. Thrasher had developed an attraction to the man and began talking to and acting toward the patient in an inappropriate way, Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor David Hickenlooper told jurors Thursday.

Thrasher started talking about to the man about body parts, about exotic dancing in clubs and that Thrasher had a stalker, Hickenlooper said.

Then, Thrasher said the man’s lips looked chapped, so, Hickenlooper said, Thrasher forcibly put lip gloss on the weak patient before forcibly kissing him, grabbed the man’s penis and asked how long it had been since he “had been with a woman.”

“This is not the usual interaction between a health care provider and a patient,” Hickenlooper said.

Nurses, summoned by the panicked patient who faked a medical emergency to get Thrasher to leave, called police.

Thrasher initially denied the incident but later told police any physical interaction with the man was consensual.

Thrasher’s attorney, Ed Keller, suggested in his opening that the allegations aren’t what they appear to be but he didn’t expound on that. He also referred to his client as both “he” and “she.”

The trial, before Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman, is expected to go into next week.
Aside from the clear lack of understanding when it comes to gender appropriateness in reporting, I wanted to add my thoughts to this story:

In no way, shape, or form was this incident appropriate for a healthcare worker. I don't care if the person is L, G, B, T, or Q... sexual relations with a patient (and a patient in the ICU, no less!) is not appropriate anytime, anywhere, for any reason, even if it is consensual. Aside from the poor reporting, it is completely appropriate to fire and charge Ms. Thrasher with whatever they are going for (so long as it is not false inflated to reflect her gender identity). Ms. Thrasher, your behavior was wrong and reflects more on your personal ethical standard than anything else. It's true. We have professional ethics for this sort of thing; they were clearly broken in this situation.

Meanwhile, the University Hospital has an excellent protections policy, and, in my two years of working there, I have never seen discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. There may have been jokes occasionally, but the people who made them were willing to correct their behavior and apologize when confronted.

1 comment:

Jere Keys said...

Agreed that Ms. Thrasher's behavior is unconscionable, but putting that aside, the need to even reference her gender identity (how is it actually related to the charges?) coupled with the offensive/transphobic reporting are the Cincinnati Enquirer's offensive conduct.