Oregon health clinic denies medical care to breast cancer patient after she objects to trans pride flag

"May I please have a telephone appointment to discuss how I may access your medical care without walking under a banner that seeks to negate all I am?"


A woman who is a current breast cancer patient was banned from her hospital over alleged "hurtful remarks" it claims she said about the "LGBTQ community."

The patient, Marlene Barbera, was set to receive a mastectomy later this month.

Barbera explained that the drama first began after she made a comment about being opposed to a trans pride flag that she spotted hanging in the waiting room of Richmond Family Medicine Clinic in Portland, Oregon. Since then, she has asked online if anyone is able to refer her to an attorney. 

"I wrote my Doctor a MyChart message all about how offensive, I, as a gender critical woman, found political messaging in a healthcare setting," Barbera told Reduxx. As the outlet noted, "gender critical" simply means a person who believes that gender is a biological reality, and cannot be changed by the snap of a finger. 

In a message she had sent to her physician, Barbera explained that it is "daunting" for her to receive medical treatment when there is a banner in plain sight that proclaims "that what I am, an adult human female, is a mere opt-in category for any gender non-conforming male and not a reality."

"May I please have a telephone appointment to discuss how I may access your medical care without walking under a banner that seeks to negate all I am?" Barbera asked. 

She later learned that other staff had viewed her comments on the flag. According to Barbera, the doctor she had communicated this message with had been her primary physician for 12 years and had served other members of her family as well. 

Things got more tense in June during a call with a receptionist, according to Barbera.

"The person insisted I make an appointment. I have breast cancer and consequently an abundance of medical appointments so I did not want to do that. They got frustrated with my ‘non-compliance’ and hung up on me," Barbera explained. "Thinking it might have been in error, I called back. I was told I was ‘not allowed’ and that I must speak to the previous person who had hung up on me. I declined as things hadn’t gone well the first time."

She told Reduxx that she then called back to find out more.

"I asked, guessing ‘did I hurt the trans person’s feelings?’ And the receptionist took offense to the question, asking ‘what did you say‘ slowly and with great emphasis." Barbera then hung up the call, feeling that it was going nowhere.

Several weeks after that, Barbera got a message from Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) Practice Manager Stein Berger. Berger said that Barbera was banned from the clinic "Effective immediately," over what he says were "ongoing disrespectful and hurtful remarks about our LGBTQ community and staff."

He noted that she was banned from "Immediate Care clinics" as well. 

Since then, Barbera has continued her search for a lawyer, and has said that her "anxiety [is] through the roof."

"I have severe chronic agitated depression since teen years ... Now I have no primary care doctor and no where else to go. I have been made to feel like a worthless nothing."

Barbera asserted that gender ideology is "a religion" that she does not subscribe to. 

"The trans movement says a man is allowed to define being a woman by way of his feelings but that a woman is not allowed to define being a woman by way of her material reality," asserted Barbera. "So really, it is a men’s rights movement. Dangerous to women and children."

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