What a great day!

I started my fellowship today.

I was about an hour early. My fellow fellow (ha!) told me the main mentor for the fellowship, Dr. F, said to come in at 10 a.m. I was too excited and insecure to come in that late, so I got to wander around by myself for a while. My “bosses”, the three researchers we will be working with, came in at 10 a.m.

Dr. F told us that she wanted us to come up with a plan, and she didn’t expect us to have anything concrete yet. I already have a lot of stuff put together. She also told us she wants some help right away putting together a grant proposal. She wants us to help with a literature search on control groups and ethics. Um, YAY!!! I am such a dork.

We got to sit in on a meeting about on the project on gay Latino men and HIV transmission prevention that is the subject of the grant. Our opinions were taken seriously. I mentioned transgender issues and the researchers and their project developer actually considered them. Part of the project involves a job application workshop, and we discussed if the training could include information on legal names versus transitioned names on job applications, if the gender assigned on the identification does not match the gender of the person interviewing for the position, gender discrimination, community resources and inappropriate interview questions.

The head researcher did say that only MTF transgender subjects would be considered, which indicated to me what her views were on gender identification. At the end of the discussion, she also joked around that no one would want to transition from assigned female gender to a male gender anyway, so it didn’t matter. She elbowed the other researcher, also a cisgender female we’ll call Dr. R, and they both giggled. I think it is more of a “girls rule, guys drool” humor they engage in often, at the expense of the third head researcher, her husband Dr. B, than a commentary on transitioning. But still. Transgender males and their health needs do exist, and could be the subjects of research, not just a joke. But I was happy we did have a legitimate discussion about trans issues for a good five minutes before anyone made any crude or disparaging remarks, and what was said was relatively mild.

Speaking of gender and sex, it was so strange to keep hearing everyone using male pronouns when referring to research and disease transmission. I am usually immersed in reading about birth and women’s issues.

The project manager Dr. R mentioned working at a nonprofit gay and lesbian association for several years, and said she worked at an abortion clinic in the 1970’s! Dr. B talks about health care reform and universal health care in glowing terms, and is a diehard idealist who has worked in the public health corps for years. I told them that I wanted to train them on the bibliographic software I used at my former job, and they sound genuinely interested.

We went out to lunch at the fancy faculty club that I didn’t know existed. It’s like a secret bunker with a pretty restaurant inside. They all left at 2 p.m. The main person in charge, Dr. F, will be gone until Monday. They are all very friendly and obviously like each other a great deal.

The other fellow and I hung out for another two hours or so. Before I left, I checked hipmama and saw that my Mommy Wars Bingo has arrived in mailboxes, in print in the hip Mama zine.

I swam with the family when I got home. I made a kick ass South Carolina Shrimp Boil for dinner tonight.

Life is good.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “What a great day!

  1. Sounds like you had a near perfect first day. Congratulations. :)

  2. janelle

    Just a few notes- “transgendered” isn’t an appropriate word used to describe an individual… just like “gayed” isn’t a word. The appropriate usage would be “the transgender man”.

    I had a professor who did some HIV intervention type thing with hispanic men, and found that hispanic men who have sex with men don’t always identify as “gay” and you get a larger (and still appropriate) population if you reach out to “men who have sex with men” rather than the “gay” population of that culture.

    -Janelle

    • MomTFH

      Thanks for the input. I went to a trans dictionary page when I wrote this just to look up the term transgendered, since I knew there was some controversy about it. The site I went to said transgender and transgendered can be used interchangeably, so I kept it. I couldn’t remember what the issue was with the word. I will edit it.

      This is my first time writing on my blog about trans issues as an ally, so I welcome any advice. I am pretty new to the nuance. I almost put a disclaimer at the top, but I figured that would be kind of dorky.

      I have not seen the inclusion criteria for the research. This team has been doing research on gay Latinos for a long time. We are in South Florida, so we probably have a decent supply of Latino men who identify as homosexual, although many more may not and still have sex with other men. I am not sure how these men a re selected, but I think they are a group who do identify as primarily homosexual.

  3. Sounds like a good day. Glad you are having a good time.

  4. Congratulations! Sounds like an exciting beginning. You’re so inspiring!

  5. Just commenting to ask which bibliographic software, and to offer feedback if you want me to look at any of your search strategies for the literature review. :)

    • MomTFH

      Reference Manager. I am a big fan of it, probably because I am used to it. It does have some quirks.

      I am interested in MeSH terms. Is there a master list or a searchable list of them?

  6. Yep, you can search them from within PubMed (and use them to build a search) at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mesh?itool=sidebar (blue left sidebar link, MeSH Database) or at their home at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/MBrowser.html – note that whether they automatically “explode” to search terms lower down the hierarchy depends on which version of PubMed you’re searching (at pubmed.gov, via Ovid, etc.).

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