Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Requirements for Transition

Orangeban asked: What do you think about having requirements for transition?

Well, this is kind of a hairy question that comes up often. Many people are in favor of purely personal choice, others believe in gatekeeping, others still believe in radical ideas such as sterilization. The purposes of these in some ways are good, and some are bad, but it totally depends upon what requirements there are, what the requirements prevent, and why they're there.

What I mean by this, is that the requirements for some procedures are justified. Namely, surgery. This may simply be my uninformed opinion (as I was never particularly dysphoric about my genitals) but surgery is a permanent thing. It makes sense that the person should be able to handle the repercussions of such a surgery, and this is why the real life test among others is usually required for it. 

Hormones should, In my opinion, work under the informed consent model. with slightly more restrictions for FtM (but not without reason). Once it can be established that you understand the effects of the hormones, and you're otherwise capable of making these decisions, you should be allowed to begin taking them. The reason for the slightly larger restriction for FtMs (which, I know, won't be a popular opinion to have) is that, for MtFs, hormones have a rather large period of time within which you can stop to no serious ill effect. These also suppress further effects of testosterone, which is a one way road, and needs stopped as soon as possible. Conversely, FtM's hormones induce a male puberty - this cannot be reversed, and has many effects which would, if the person was not trans, could be devastating. I'm not for gatekeeping, I'm just of the opinion that given the drastic nature of Testosterone, that the patient should be really sure that they want to take the plunge.

The main reason I'm against gatekeeping, is it can be used to arbitrarily bar people from treatment if they don't live up to their specific doctor's expectations of a transgender person. If you're a tomboyish transgirl (like moi) then a gatekeeper could decide you're not feminine enough, and therefore don't deserve hormones. The potential for abuse here is huge. And forcing a transgender person to live as their desired gender, with no hormones (which helps tremendously in passing, both facial shape and other characteristics) is cruel. It's like requiring a transgender person to walk in public with a sign that reads "I'm a tranny!" so they can be hazed for 3-6 months prior to getting hormones. It's CRUEL. And can serve as a way to simply discourage an already unhappy person by basically telling them "IT will always be like this, you'll never pass!" Which is untrue in many cases (hormones ARE magic, after all).

Legal issues regarding Identification tends to be less up for debate because of common ignorance of  cis people about trans people. People who know little of us fear that we're all sexual deviants, and therefore rapist perverts who want access to women's restrooms to peep. These concerns make it harder for people to get the gender marker change, because they want to in many places make ABSOLUTELY SURE that you can't rape anyone (hence the surgery requirement).

Of course, the laws regarding identification should have some criteria, if at the very least in compromise to the ignorant cisgender folk who don't understand, but the criteria could simply be undergoing transition. That's pretty much what it's like in Ohio, a licensed therapist who's treating you can sign the forms which allows you to officially change your gender marker on your drivers license.

My stance on requirements is pretty much based on how permanent the procedures are, and in all cases, I'm against arbitrary gatekeeping. Any requirements should be solid milestones at worst, suggestions at best. This is all assuming the person is otherwise mentally sound enough to make those sorts of decisions, which should take only a few therapist meetings to establish. (as far as I know)

"Nothing's plainer than the madness in the world today, I must conceal myself and steel myself and break away. I see condition in the matters that are black and white, so I'll construct this sound defense" Bad Religion, The Defense


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  1. Thank you for your answer, it made me think.

    Part of me wants there to be no restrictions on transition, but that's the same part that is impatient and wants to transition and transition NOW!

  2. Okay, new question, but first, I feel like I may have asked this before, apologies if I have, or if it was deleted or something, but I couldn't find reference to it so I don't think I've asked it.

    What do you think about relations between transgender people who experience a disconnect between their gender and sex, and those who do not but crossdress/are drag queens? Do you feel there are hostilities between these groups?

  3. Drag queens piss me off to this day. Probably because from my limited childhood perspective, that's what trans women would inevitably end up looking like. I disliked the associations with fetishism, perversion, and flamboyant homosexuals.

    The idea of passable trans women, and wholesome cross-dressers simply didn't occur to me until much later.