About Katja Tetzlaff

Katja Tetzlaff* is a graduate from the Biomedical Visualization MS program from the University of Illinois at Chicago and graduated with a BS in Molecular Biology. Katja gives lectures about health-related issues pertaining to transgender, trans, and gender diverse patients beginning as part of their graduate Research Project, which entailed illustrating the physical changes a person undergoes through medical transitioning (hormones and/or surgery) incorporating these images into lecture materials for M3/third-year medical students during their OB/GYN rotation. In addition to lectures at the UIC’s medical school, Katja is also a guest lecturer about transgender bioethics as well as normativity in healthcare imagery and non binary bodies for Columbia College’s Human Sexuality and Gender & Women’s Studies classes.

Outside of their guest lectures and medical illustration career, Katja is an active medical activist and an LGBTQAI+ health educator with a focus on trans, gender diverse, and intersex topics. Currently, they work with healthcare professionals at institutions such as Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital to further patient, family, and physician education about non-binary health issues. Katja also works with non-profit groups, graduate student researchers, and health educators to create medical illustrations for the purposes of representing trans and intersex bodies in medical imagery, improving the understanding of queer health issues, and promoting medical education on behalf of gender, sex, and sexual minority communities.

*Katja’s pronouns are the gender neutral ‘they/them/theirs’

 

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Trans, Transgender, and Gender Diverse Health Illustrations

 

Trans Health Booklet

Medical transitioning, a term that replaces “sex change” and constitutes the hormonal and/or surgical processes undertaken by a person to adapt their body to one they identity with, is a very visual process. Hormones produce changes slowly over months and years while surgeries often confer immediate changes. While it is a medical topic and one that lends itself well to visual representation, few medical illustrations related to transitioning exist. To remedy this, my graduate project research focused on creating illustrations pertaining to transgender, trans, and gender diverse health, from medical transitioning to daily health concerns for this patient population. I personally use these illustrated guides in my lectures for M3/third-year medical students during their OB/GYN rotation at UIC while others use my images (with permission) for a variety of patient, family, and physician education needs. As trans patients often, but not always, rely on medical interventions such as hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries to align their physical body with their gender identity, it is essential that medical education prepare healthcare professionals to be both culturally and clinically competent. Furthermore, it is important for gender diverse people themselves to understand the changes that their bodies will undergo so they can make informed decisions and be advocates for their own health care needs.