“The Business of Being Born” and “Diagnosing Difference” focus on the negative interactions between patients and medical institutions regarding the issue of free choice when it comes to reproductive and sexual health in general. I feel that these films strongly articulate the issue of lack of understanding on the part of medical professionals to grant patients their right to choice over their bodies. For instance, “The Business of Being Born” tells the stories of women who feel that hospital staff do not allow them to give birth in a natural, comfortable way by forcing the implementation of processes such as synthetic oxytocin and C-section deliveries to speed up the birthing process. In addition, “Diagnosing Difference” discusses transgender individuals’ frustration with the American Psychiatric Association’s obligatory diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder in order to receive proper healthcare.
While I am a firm believer in the importance of holistic care for individuals, I also recognize the importance of the medical system. Currently in medical school, students are taught about “cultural competence,” the importance of knowledge and awareness regarding other cultures’ medical practices and beliefs. However, mothers and transgenders are part of OUR culture! Physicians and psychiatrists should not only be trained in “culture competence,” but also “social competence” to understand the profound experience of the discovery of one’s sexual identity and motherhood. It is unfair that in order for the health care system to operate efficiently, patients must feel discriminated against and dehumanized, rather than empowered, by their personal needs and choices. I hope that the activists featured in this film will not only operate in their own movements, but also reach out to medical schools to address these issues at their origins to claim their right to choose.