Southcoast Health Celebrates Pride Month: Meet Dr. Annalise Boisvert
Dr. Annalise Boisvert, MD, FACOG, NCMP, has been working within the Southcoast Health system since August of 2017. She is an attending physician and surgeon providing obstetrical and gynecologic care to girls and women of all ages.
Dr. Boisvert’s journey into the medical field began with childhood experiences. “My father was a paraplegic, and my mother suffered for years with rheumatoid arthritis,” she says. “I spent a lot of time at hospitals and doctor’s offices as a child with my parents.”
She entered public service early, working as a lifeguard at 15, EMT at 18, a paramedic at 21, as well as serving with two fire departments along the way. “I have always felt a calling to help those in need. I developed an interest in the field of OBGYN after delivering a baby in the field as a paramedic.”
Being a physician is a great honor, according to Dr. Boisvert. “Having the ability to develop long term trusting relationships with my patients, helping them better understand their bodies, educate them on conditions, offer them treatments, and in some cases being a part of the birth of their children, all of these things bring me great joy and satisfaction and I could never imagine doing anything else.”
June is designated as Pride Month – an annual LGBTQ+ celebration where the community celebrates across the globe through various events to recognize the contributions and struggles of so many. June is chosen as the designated month in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots of 1969.
“I am transgender myself and being so, understand the difficulties that many members of LGBTQ+ face not only in society in general but especially in the realm of healthcare, trying to find physicians and care providers that are comfortable working with members in our community and addressing special needs, questions and concerns they may have.”
She says the LGBTQ+ communities face a range of adversities like misunderstandings, stigmas, neglect, and, in some cases, hate.
“Being able to live our truths, without fear of oppression, segregation or neglect, and helping society at large understand our great diversity, dispel myths, and ensure all members of the LGBTQ community can live proudly as themselves are reasons I feel this month is so important to us.”
When asked if there is anything she wants readers to know regarding Pride Month, her journey, or her identity, Dr. Boisvert says, “I am a transgender woman and provide obstetrical, gynecologic and LGBTQ+ care. I welcome all members of our community and can ensure them kind, caring, and compassionate care.”
In regard to Dr. Boisvert’s identity, the biggest misconception is that sex and gender are permanently and irrevocably connected.
“Although I was born a male and there is no denying I have an X and Y chromosome, I am a woman. I have known since I was little that I was born the wrong sex and although biologic sex may be impossible to change, it doesn’t mean that my gender must remain boy/man. Genders are diverse and variable. They may not be congruent with the assigned sex, and that’s OK. “Gender” enables those of us in the transgender, genderfluid, and other groups to correct for nature’s mistake. Although my voice and other aspects of my body may not match up with what many would expect of a “woman”, I feel no less of a woman than anyone assigned female sex at birth.
For anyone struggling with their identity or transition, she has a few words of wisdom and support. “No matter how hard the struggle becomes, how hard the decision to come out is, no matter what family or friends you may lose, there are caring individuals out there who will support you through it all.” She encourages anyone struggling with their gender identity to contact her through her office or to find her online and reach out. She maintains pages on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok to increase visibility and facilitate accessibility.
Dr. Boisvert hopes to continue to build her LGBTQ+ practice, specifically providing care to the transgender community and one day hopes to expand her practice to include gender affirmation surgeries. “I hope to become a leader within the community and will continue to fight for LGBTQ+ understanding and acceptance and to assist and mentor members of our community through their struggle to come out and become comfortable to live happily as their true selves.”
She was recently appointed as a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on LGBTQ Matters.