There are many issues when it comes to human rights for transsexuals. One of the more obvious is that as of today [March-2010] no country on earth has enacted legislation on a national level to protect our self-expression. It is therefore legal to discriminate against transsexuals, at least in some form, in every country on the planet.
Much progress has been made, however advancements have typically been incidental, uncoordinated and limited to a single nation (this is particularly problematic when it comes to accepting gender-corrected documents needed outside of the jurisdiction of issue or for international travel, such as passports and driver's licenses). But while even slow progress is commendable there is by and large no vision or plan for a meaningful complete framework that would make our lives more liveable and our treatment more equal. Even worse, because so often this happens uncoordinated and focused on single issues at a time more often than not any progress for the rights of one segment of transsexuals turns out to be a huge liability for another group within this very same population! This, in addition to creating many new problems, is particularly problematic as there also is very little willingness to correct past mistakes (or the ones arising from such new creations), even insofar as this is possible. [see legal for examples]
I find it very commendable to work for a better future, I like to do this too.
However nobody can truly enjoy the benefits of a better future if the past
this future is supposed to be built on is distorted in ways that make precisely
living this future
impossible. Therefore from my perspective this should all start by building a
working foundation. Or more directly put: What are the freedom of self-expression
and equal rights good for if I live under a constant threat of being denied the right to life?
To be cynical I could put it like this: If a slave is told that he/she is
now entitled to sit at his/her master's table then that slave is still a
Now this would not be a problem if the goal of medicine were to uphold human
rights by employing ethics, but of course this is not the case. In fact in
transgender-care doctors enforce absurd "standards of treatment" on patients with no
regard to the well-being, personal safety, emotional or physical integrity of
the patient, they limit our access to surgery and hormonal treatment while
mandating years of their own services (as in psychiatric therapy and treatment)
so we may eventually
qualify to get any real medical treatment.
Practically this means for me (as I have had all the gender related surgery I'll ever want)
that I am now allowed to be and express myself as long as I find a medical
doctor who is willing to sign me off on it by writing these prescriptions for
hormonal treatment, in intervals of 3 to 12 months, depending on this doctor's
choosing. At the latest after one year my right to exist expires, I have to go
back and ask for yet another extension.
A diabetic gets his insulin as illness management while
hormone-replacement treatment (for our purposes) is prescribed to allow a person
to experience him/herself in a way she experiences as meaningful and to
facilitate this person's self-expression. Now the problem is that the doctor is
there to keep the patient alive, preferably as long as possible, but not to
facilitate either a meaningful self-experience nor to allow a specific self-expression, which means
that the diabetic is assured treatment in whatever form is best for his/her
health (which is all he/she in this position wants) whereas
the transsexual is not extended this guarantee BECAUSE THE DOCTOR'S DUTY TO KEEP
THE TRANSSEXUAL PATIENT HEALTHY (IN A MEDICAL SENSE) MAY CONFLICT WITH THE PATIENT'S REQUEST FOR
A NORMAL SELF-EXPERIENCE AND
BECAUSE OF THIS CONFLICT OF INTEREST IT CANNOT BE THE DOCTOR WHO
HAS TO MAKE THIS DECISION AND WRITE SUCH PRESCRIPTIONS! Consequentially
there needs to be another way for us to obtain the right to get the
substances our lives depend on, either permanently or on a
last-resort basis if the doctor denies these to us for professional or medical
While on first glance something like this would only be applicable in extreme
cases this in fact would solve many other problems in transgender-care as well: For
one it would facilitate the doctor/patient relationship as in today's
system a patient may be inclined to be dishonest to his/her physician or to
withhold important information for fear
of discontinuation of hormonal treatment whereas the doctor can no longer
tell how forthcoming a patient truly is because in this set-up it is to be
expected that the patient will second-guess the doctor's reaction pre-emptively
and react accordingly. It also has the potential to get people off grey-market
hormones, this in particular applies to people who do not accept to submit to the current system
of medical lifestyle control, it
indeed would allow us to disclose our hormonal treatment more easily to any doctors who
know about our situation (such as specialists or in emergency-treatment). But most importantly it would liberate us from being forced into mental
treatment because the fact of the matter
is that transsexuals can only be pressured and stigmatized as being mentally
ill because medical practitioners have the power to regulate our lives in such a
way (and are obviously willing to abuse their power for this purpose).
There is a saying: Nothing in medicine is absolute! I think it is high time for physicians to recognize that this is true even when it comes to their absolute right to treat a patient. Because sometimes the only ethical decision is to allow the patient to treat him/herself at his/her own discretion!
Once we are free from being slaves of the medical system any and all human-rights issues, political, social and other changes should be addressed. But as usual for slaves nothing really matters as long as we aren't free, as long as our lives, the means to experience and express ourselves, the means to live our self-identifications aren't given to us freely, unconditionally and for a lifetime!