Lu’s Pharmacy refuses to fill trans woman’s prescription

July 16, 2009

Makeup artist Raigen D’Angelo (left) and activist Jamie Lee Hamilton hold up a prescription that was refused by the staff of Lu’s: A Pharmacy for Women - image via straight.comI know I said I would be writing less about news-related items, but I want to record this prime example of gobsmacking hypocrisy in the name of feminism, by way of a follow-up.

Remember that we’re living in the 21st century; it’s been 40 years since Second Wave feminism in all its transphobic glory was adopted unquestioningly by so many naive and unthinking cis women feminists…

In my earlier post (link here) I wondered if Lu’s Pharmacy in Vancouver was perpetuating the discrimination agains trans people (initiated and maintained by VRR for nearly a quarter of a century) with its stated policy of offering services only to “women who were born women” (direct link to PDF of VWHC statement here).

Well, it seems that I’ve now got my answer – and I’m disappointed to say that Caryn Duncan – the executive director of Vancouver Women’s Health Collective (VWHC), which runs the pharmacy – comes out of it looking like the narrow-minded, bigoted, dogma-driven drone she apparently is. Via straight.com (link here), I gather that on Tuesday, July 14, Jamie Lee Hamilton, a local resident in the area, called in at Lu’s Pharmacy to ask for a prescription to be filled, and was refused “because she wasn’t born female”.

According to Hamilton, the collective’s executive director, Caryn Duncan, explained that the pharmacy won’t serve male-to-female transgender people. Hamilton said she told Duncan that this policy is discriminatory.

“She then said, ‘No, you have to be born female,’” Hamilton claimed.

“Male-to-female”, “born female” – these are phrases with their own subtle toxicity: I, for one, never considered myself male, so the idea that I would transition from male to female is entirely inappropriate, as is the assertion that I wasn’t born female. The terms are fundamentally cissexist – they imply that, irrespective of how we self-identify, to cis people we are always and forever the gender we were assigned at birth. It’s interesting that an organisation like VWHC, which makes such a point of preaching its feminist views, should choose to use such an essentialist stance to base its discriminatory policies on. And this is a feminism which asserts that gender is entirely socially constructed?

[Ms Duncan] added that she isn’t sure that she would describe what happened as “refusing her service” […]

Right, right… Remind me again: did Jamie Lee Hamilton leave the pharmacy with her prescription filled? No? And how did that happen then, if she wasn’t refused service?

[…] and claimed that Hamilton tried to force her way inside. Duncan also said she feels “very overwhelmed” by the pressure she’s received to provide service to transgender women.

“I have felt that people are employing intimidation tactics, and it’s hurtful to me personally,” she said.

Ooh, nice use of the ‘Drowning Maestro’ attack there – filtered through the lens of cissexism:

It matters not that the [trans] person might be speaking passionately of hurts they have suffered their entire life, hurts they suffer as they speak, starving children, raped women or murdered millions. The person hurling the Wite-Magik Attak fixates upon the TONE of the complaint or insight. Because what really bothers them is that a [trans] person has the nerve to speak with such self-confidence and passion. This, in fact, scares them. If it weren’t such a demeaning move when you have something you feel is important to say, this Attak would be downright comical. Just picture a conductor waving his wand as he plummets to the bottom of a darkening sea.

(Curtsey to Nezua)

Yep, us trans women sure are meeean to our oppressors…

Meanwhile, back in the topsy-turvy world of Caryn Duncan:

“As I said to Jamie Lee Hamilton, we want to help women here. We want to focus on the work that we do that’s very important to us and to the women who want to use our services. That’s where I want to put my energy.”

In fact, it’s so important for her to focus on her client base that she’s prepared to refuse service to that proportion of it to whom she’s ideologically opposed. And this is a feminism that’s about equality for all women?

Duncan said she informed Hamilton of a pharmacy a couple of blocks away that would provide adequate care.

NIMBY-ism at its most obnoxious. And this is a feminism that’s about choice?

But at least Ms Duncan is consistent in her foolishness:

According to Hamilton, Duncan told her that Lu’s pharmacy will serve transgender men who were born female. “It’s an ideology that’s really, really bizarre,” Hamilton said.

Hello, cluephone calling: there’s a bit of a revealing phrase there: “transgender men”. Ms Duncan, that description is usually taken to refer to trans people who self-identify as men, who live their lives as men, who are passed by your very own cis society as men – and you’d welcome them with open arms even as you’re pushing trans women out of the door?

When asked about this, Duncan responded: “We will serve all women born women.”

That sound? That’s me, banging my head against the desk.

“We will serve all women born women.”

Oh shut up, you clueless, bigoted transphobe.

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3 Responses to “Lu’s Pharmacy refuses to fill trans woman’s prescription”

  1. Drakyn Says:

    You know, it might be ~amusing~ if a trans* guy who easily passes as a cissexual guy (perhaps also after intentionally not shaving for a while, wearing a shirt that shows his flat hairy chest, etc) went in & got his T script filled there. Just to help show how ridiculous this policy is.
    Or maybe getting a bunch of trans* guys to line up to get their T scripts filled… So it looks like a men’s pharmacy for a bit…

  2. Helen G Says:

    That would be brilliant – although I have a feeling they’d probably just -‘oh sorry, silly us’- be out of stock.

    The whole situation is a farce – especially when you remember that they don’t offer any services to sex workers either.


  3. […] Pharmacy Refuses To Fill Trans Woman’s Prescription […]


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