Quite some people who do not understand the concept of trans discrimination think that trans people are exaggerating when they complain how they are seen, treated in society. To counter that or at least enlighten through putting trans* experience as the norm. Then cis people (non-trans people) would be the ones being discriminated.
Daags na de aanname van de wijzigingen voor artikel 1:28 BW, de wet op de geslachtsregistratie, kwam het VUmc met de melding: “We hebben miljoenen extra nodig want we kunnen de zorg niet financieren”. En vandaag kwam de pers met een update. Het ligt uiteraard weer heel anders. Hier in het kort de problemen en de doodsimpele oplossing.
Voorlopig niet. Want de meest nabije progressieve wijziging in classificatiesystemen – staat het er niet in, dan wordt het niet erkend – geven ons nog altijd het label “gender incongruentie” of “genderdsyforie”. En omdat het gender betreft dat met geslacht te maken heeft, krijgt het een speciale lading. Tegelijk zijn er mogelijkheden tot een andere benadering van zorg die her en der al werkelijkheid zijn. Dit artikel gaat daar nader op in.
Er is weer een jaar voorbij en het College voor de rechten van de Mens in Nederland vraagt weer om input voor de jaarlijkse rapportage. Hier is de onze.
Evenals vorig jaar willen wij u deelgenoot maken van onze zorgen op het gebied van de naleving van mensenrechten in Nederland. Continue reading
From the beginning of 2014 Vreerwerk will offer a training in human rights with a focus on transgender and intersex issues. This course aims at staff of government and inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, students and activists interested in trans* and intersex issues that need a basis in human rights for their work, but are not looking for an expensive academic course. Continue reading
Earlier I argued that trans* is not a disorder and that the problem is more likely with transphobia than with gender variation. I showed how much we are stuck in binary thinking that needs to get rid of its expectations of universality. A way out may lie in the concept of “fuzzy sets”. In the future, trans is in the head.
Who enters into combat against the idea that trans people would have a mental disorder, would best give perspectives for another way/outcome/solution. That is why we look amongst others to Ecuador.
In the end the battle for trans rights is not about identities, One should be able to freely live the gender identity one feels comfortable with. Since we have a basic right to identity, this should not lead to so many issues, we should be able to continue building a lovely en just world. Alas the struggle for identity (instead living and celebrating identity) is being used in a power struggle to privilege a particular conservative morality. The fight for identity is only a small and bloated (inflated) part of a broader struggle for justice. Though not everyone makes that step from acknowledgment to further action.
Only a small group of the trans* population enters (medical) transition. Some 12,5% in the Netherlands. Many do not because they do not want to, do not dare or just cannot. Some love comfortably in two genders or fluctuate between two genders, others again just don’t take gender as a reference point anyway. Gender queers who throw the system over board in that sense don’t have much with identity struggle either. Except that you must be able to be or to become whoever you feel to be. Afterwards: shall we now continue to change/improve the world?
Some good developments in the direction of autonomy and respect come from the Spanish speaking world. More and more you encounter the term “trans en la cabeza” there, “trans in the head”. That idea leads to a totally different, not by default male or female, gender expression. oftentimes no medical intervention either which in turn has to do with archaic and arrogant treatment y psychiatrists, that mostly check if you are “trans enough”. Partially this (trans in the head) is rather sub-cultural, partially it is mainstream.
In Ecuador mostly trans people so seek medical assistance, be it official or not. Apart from the ID card that needs to be adapted to the gender one lives in. For that a campaign is waged these days, titled “Si es mi cédulo, tien que ser mi género”, “My ID must read my gender”by the organization “Cuerpos distintos, derechos iguales” (Different bodies, same rights). They warn for colonial concepts when the psychiatrist presses forward western ideas of how masculinity and femininity. In this sense the struggle for trans rights fits well in current anti colonial struggle.
This leads to a multitude of bodies and identities and thus to an explosion of what we understand by “men” and “women”. A revolutionary development: less than ever identity will relate to being born in a certain body and more to a certain conviction. Also it is a revolutionary appeal to the human right of autonomy of the body. So revolutionary alas that frequent and fierce resistance of the gender powers that be is to be expected. Nevertheless this is the way forward and we are on our way.
The current health care model for trans * people many times is defended as protecting the patient. Protecting them against regrets. A physician wants to be sure the patient they see, is serious, is not acting on impulse. This worry we can understand, the solution however is wrong.
A large part of the worries that physicians have regarding autonomous trans people comes from fear and ignorance. Fear of loss of work and also loss of authority.
Fear of people taking decisions they will later regret and will hold the doctor responsible for. Only to bring them before the disciplinary board. That is traumatic for the physician, when they have done their best to deliver a good job on explicit request. Incomprehension because they do not understand trans* people. They haven’t learnt a thing about them during their studies of psychology, psychiatry or medicine. And if something is taught, that is mostly rather out of date. Only this year thinking progressed slightly with the introduction of the new DSM and a new nomenclature for trans* issues.
A trans* patient does not need more or different protection than a non-trans* patient. Just as a Swedish patient needs no more or better protection than a French one. Where a doctor cares for the mental health of a patient because they do not appear to be stable, this mental stability is the problem. Not the being trans* of the person. The question should be: If I would have a patient with an appendicitis, or for cancer surgery, would I also require a psychologist’s certificate about their well-being? The fact that something is culturally loaded, is not enough reason to as for extra intervention/extra control.
Also everyone has a right to regret. However cynical that may sound. It is very well possible a trans* person who comes out is not sure of themselves. Identity develops. The same with gay and lesbian and bisexual people. Many times they are not coming out because they feel so great with the idea. Often they only do so when a lover is in sight , although they feel their being different for a much longer time already. They don’t need to see a psychologist, they have no longer a disorder (since 1991). Not coming out, living a non-authentic life, is something you can regret also. Like you can regret marrying, or not marrying. Or having children, or deciding not to have them. No one can tell if things will work out the way it was intended. So I would almost state: also trans people have the right not to be happy with their life and their choices. It is anyway not up to the state or the medical profession to always try to prevent us from failing, from regretting. Or should we also send prospective parents first to a psychologist or sexologist? Prospective spouses to a marriage counselor to have their love tested on stability, on longevity?
That fear we would decide for ourselves, for prosecution because they helped the ‘wrong’ trans person also stems from fear and ignorance. First of all, informed consent should be a requirement. With or without a psychologist, if the patient doesn’t understand what is involved, at is where it ends. Secondly, it won’t be the first time a medical psychologist would be involved when a patient has to undergo invasive treatment. But not all patients that undergo say oncological treatment will have to see a psychologist.
When society stops freaking out about trans* people, the suffering will decline enormously. After all, it is the outside world that gives us a lot of our trouble. And we as a part of that world got the message that it is not good to behave as we do, to feel like we do. So, stop freaking out and join the revolution. We are nothing more than a threat to your mental status quo. So what.
(Translation of “allemaal angst”, tha appeared here on 21-12-2013)