A woman's decades-long struggle to get same-sex care - recently told her views were "not acceptable in the modern world."

I've been disabled for over half my life now. My late teen were plagued by doctors visits and not as many answers as I'd hoped. I started having carers in my early 20s, just enough time to eat & wash with a bath three times a week. It wasn't how I imagined the "best years of your life". I was also a victim of sexual abuse, it led to some awkward abuse with those caring for me , eventually I declined all input & social care didn't ask why.

Fast forward through an abusive marriage I found myself with care staff again. I'd have a care company for several months, before a long hospital admission would leave Social Services hunting for an alternative. Not all companies understood my need for same sex care. I had one company tell me it was illegal, another stated "they'd try."Some seemed to get it but I'd still find myself with males being sent for the odd shift. This would be declined. Complaints never went down well, I'd be told of staff shortages, sickness or holiday. Even disclosing my past (not that I should have to) didn't always help me. I made it perfectly clear I'd be refusing these men at the door going forward.

My husbands abuse became public knowledge. I found myself in a nursing home, "temporary". The home, having been involved in my safeguarding understand my need for same sex care, but boundaries were still pushed. Mental health decline, I needed to be checked every 30 minutes day & night. I was in my late 30s in a dementia nursing home with confused men & woman banging at my door day & night thinking I was the exit. It made my anxiety worse. I was also two counties away from my family, 3.5hrs away. Due to the restraint needed for my neighbours in the home we had more male staff than female. It was suggested by floor staff, rather than management that I allow this quick check. They'd have to enter my room, even while I was asleep, & ring my bell next to my bed. I declined but the topic was constantly brought up.

I'm finally in my own home with 24/7 waking night care. I'm two years in & on my second company after the first gave notice in part due to me specifying same sex care. I'd received a profile of an agency staff member. I had suspicions this person wasn't a female as I define (as in born that way). I was informed my views were "not acceptable in the modern world". I'm not transphobic I think everyone should live as they wish, but I don't believe vulnerable people (men & women) should be forced to be around the other sex during certain periods of time (sports, prison, toilets or care) if they don't feel comfortable. I need assistance to use the bedpan, wash, pad & catheter changes as well as dressing, hoisting, turning (2hrly). The person in my home gets up close & personal with me. I need to be comfortable with them. I don't even do personal care with new regular team members, it takes me month, let alone a male/trans woman. It's my body, my choice & I'd rather have a safeguarding for self neglect than put myself through being touched by someone I'm not comfortable with.