A well-known trans man has urged "everyone with a cervix" to get a smear test.
Buck Angel, who made a name for himself as an adult movie star, opened up to the Metro about how his failure to address gynaecological health almost cost him his life. Now, he is giving back by encouraging other trans men, gender variant people and those who are intersex to get smear tests, which are a vital tool for the early detection of cervical cancer.Buck regularly shares how he keeps himself in good health on Instagram:
As per the Mayo Clinic, smear tests look for abnormal cells in the cervix, which are often caused by the HPV virus. If an abnormal result is found in a smear, suitable action can be taken by healthcare professionals.
He said: "The future of gynecological care for men is now. We need to educate so that trans men stop missing appointments they need. When I first transitioned there were no gynecologists who could help me as they had no idea what to do."
"I was always the last one waiting in the room because the doctors were confused on what to do. Fast forward to today and they are still confused! Medical staff must understand pronouns, and that not all trans men are comfortable with their vagina. Some also never call it that."
Buck continued: "The best thing for them would be to have an intake paper that reflects our community."
The adult movie star has had a difficult journey to accepting himself for who he is, and has previously struggled with drug addiction, alcoholism, homelessness, and prostitution.
While Buck says that his decision to transition saved his life, back in 2011, he almost lost his life because of atrophy because he was "too scared" to visit a gynaecologist as a trans man.
Buck experienced "debilitating cramps" that developed into an infection and then into sepsis. Lucky enough to survive the experience, Buck now wants to "give back" to any trans men who may be struggling with their bodies.
The Los Angeles native said: "Back then there was no internet, no Instagram or Facebook. It was the wild west of transitioning. I never want anyone to suffer like that. By me being out and proud of my naked body it gives everyone, not only trans people, the opportunity to see us all as the same. Naked we are all the same."
"It is very vulnerable to do what I did, but I've powered through the hate messages to see the young trans men looking at me on the other side."
As part of his mission to give back to trans men, Buck is now using his celebrity to support The Eve Appeal, which is encouraging trans men, gender-variant people, and those who are intersex not to neglect their smear tests.
Because smear tests involve taking a small sample of cells from the cervix, which is located inside the vagina, the experience of a smear test can be particularly challenging for some and cause gender dysphoria.
And because many trans and non-binary people chose to change their gender identity markers, they may not be invited for a test by their GP.
Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal, said that the charity wanted to help those who typically struggle to access the gynaecological care they need.
She continued: "It's something we get a constant stream of questions about. Health care professionals as well as patients, some of whom have slipped through the net and not been invited for a screening. We have got a health care system where the moment you walk into the GP surgery for an appointment there are usually two things to press on the keypad, male or female."
"We are starting from that point of inclusion and taking the gender out of it; it's not about gender, it's about who has got organs that are at risk and what can they do to look after their health."
If you or someone you know would like confidential information from Ask Eve, you can contact the charity on 0808 802 0019 or email [email protected].
Further information about cervical screening is available as part of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2020.