First Person: The first mammogram

This series features first person narratives about personal LGBT-related issues and experiences.

Brettany Renée Blatchley
LGBT Perspectives

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina — I am a woman.

It seems to be a rite of passage, a coming of age, for a woman to have her first mammogram, and so it was for me.

I am a woman.

It was no ordinary exam, for I am no ordinary woman — the experience was pregnant with expectation, with anticipation, with joy and with the potential of disappointment. For I am a transgender woman, relatively new to the relaxing freedom to simply be who I truly am. My medical records say that I am male, but my heart and life testify to my true identity: I am no man.

I am a woman.

It blesses me to say that the experience was even more validating than I had hoped. After preparatory chats with authorities at the imaging center, with gentle and complete openness about my unusual circumstances, I was treated perfectly and in all ways like every other woman, by staff and fellow patients alike.

I am a woman.

It was among the other women that I was considered ordinary, very few knowing that I understand the intricacies and poignancy of gender in a way most never will. Then, as we departed, we each received a rose — my very first rose.

I am a woman.

Editor’s note:  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.

(This article appeared originally in Gracefully Trans)


2 thoughts on “First Person: The first mammogram”

  1. I had my first mammogram last January. It was a sobering experience. Nobody was smiling in the waiting room.

    All turned out well for me. But I am on a recall list that will have me reminded to have a mammogram every two years.

    It’s a reality we have to face.



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