One of the UKs first openly transgender paramedics reveals patients have spat at her and refused her care simply because she is transgender.
Steph Meech, a paramedic with 20 years of service, has received both verbal and physical abuse from patients since coming out as trans, BBC reports.
Meech, who currently works for the South Coast Ambulance Service in the UK, said on a personal note that coming out had helped her feel “enlightened”, adding, “I can be my true self. This is who I am and I’ve had to keep it hidden for such a long time.”
However, given the increasingly toxic ‘trans debate’ currently playing out in online spaces, and with media coverage of trans stories often being prejudicially charged, it’s no great surprise that some of that rhetoric inevitably spills out on real people who are just trying to live peacefully and do their job.
Which, in this case, is helping to save lives.
Meech, 53, who is based in Polegate, East Sussex, said: “I’ve had times where I’m treating people and I get spat at, just for who I am.”
“As I come to the door usually I get ‘what are you?’. It’s really not okay. I’m a paramedic first and foremost and I’m here to help”,
“The majority of people we go to are so agreeable and appreciative of the help that the ambulance service brings. It’s just that few minority that spoil it for everybody.
“When I come away from these incidents, they do really hurt you deep down”, she told BBC.
Meech has featured in the “Work Without Fear” campaign, which aims to target aggression towards ambulance crew.
David Monk, a violence reduction support officer at Secamb, said: “We are trying to get staff to have the confidence to come forward and report it so we can identify how much of an issue it is.
“It’s not acceptable for emergency service workers to come to work and be faced with violence.
“They are normal members of the public like everybody else.
“We are supporting our staff when they are subjected to the abuse, to get the (perpetrators) to court where necessary and get the highest possible sanction we can.”
“As I come through the door, usually I get ‘what are you?’ That’s really not acceptable.” pic.twitter.com/x188SK18Hn
— BBC South East (@bbcsoutheast) June 10, 2022