Your life is more important than your feelings getting hurt — that’s the message one healthcare professional is trying to send everyone. According to Imgur user oldfishnewfish, it’s very important to tell medical staff your biological sex even if the question ‘triggers’ you. Your life depends on giving the right answer.

Oldfishnewfish posted a long and winding rant online that explains exactly how much correct treatment and diagnosis can depend on whether you’re a man or a woman due to biological differences. The detailed scientific explanation went viral. It was viewed over 120,000 times and got more than 4,200 upvotes. (Facebook cover image: sturti)

Image credits: vgajic (not the actual photo)

“If a medical professional asks your sex/gender (however you perceive it being asked is irrelevant) TELL THEM”

The inspiration for oldfishnewfish’s rant struck after they had an aggressive patient who was ‘triggered’ by questions about their biological sex. These questions were necessary to do a thorough health check-up, and were not intended to make anyone feel threatened or unwanted.

According to the healthcare professional, knowing whether a person is born male or female is absolutely necessary: people who get overly defensive or openly aggressive are hurting not only themselves but also those trying to help them.

Most Imgur users supported oldfishnewfish’s viewpoint. Among those commenting were transgender people who highlighted that they too believe it’s important to immediately tell doctors your biological sex. 

However, revealing their biological sex is very difficult for some people. Especially when the gender they identify with doesn’t match the sex they were born as. According to Head to Health, “many transgender people hide their gender expression in public for fear of negative reactions, violence or discrimination.” Head to Health also notes that “transgender people experience high rates of physical and non-physical abuse,” which helps explain why far from everyone is happy when faced with questions about their sex.

Oldfishnewfish stated that it’s important to respect patients if their gender doesn’t match their sex: “I need to know if you’re a male or female. I need to know if you’re susceptible to certain diseases or ailments, how your symptoms may be derived from those diseases or ailments, and most importantly, how to treat those diseases or ailments,” oldfishnewfish explained.

Internet users had this to say about oldfishnewfish’s rant

The Journal of the American Medical Association writes that the term ‘sex’ is considered biological and physiological, while ‘gender’ “comprises the social, environmental, cultural, and behavioral factors and choices that influence a person’s self-identity and health.”

Meanwhile, the National Center for Biotechnology Information notes that “men and women are alike in many ways. However, there are important biological and behavioural differences between the two genders. They affect manifestation, epidemiology and pathophysiology of many widespread diseases and the approach to health care.”

Psychology Today argues that “denying men’s and women’s different psychologies is not merely a denial of reality; it has serious health consequences for significant segments of the population.” Here are a few differences between men and women, according to Psychology Today: women are more empathic; men feel sexual jealousy more acutely; men are more aggressive and more adventurous; men are taller; women are better at remembering objects on a map, while men are better at rotating objects in their minds.

Whatever your views on this topic are, just remember the Golden Rule: treat others as you would want to be treated. And keep in mind that medical professionals especially deserve to be treated with respect. They’re trying to save your life, after all.