Genderqueer 2 genderqueer's Blog

Dear Dr Kennedy, I have some issues with your methodology

Posted in Uncategorized by genderqueer2genderqueer on April 16, 2010

Some time ago, you wrote this piece.

I would like to disagree, so I will.

In addition to the referral letter we ask that everyone provides two photographs and an account of how gender issues have impacted on their lives

Ok, why the photos, cause that seems kinda creepy, frankly?

Only about 25% F-M come to surgery. This is probably a good thing

Leaving aside the idea that not getting treatment is a good thing, how do you? do you do follow-up, are
you sure these men aren’t seeking surgery though the kind of people who don’t think it is a bad idea that they have it? Why is surgery the end point? many trans people live in their identified gender without surgery, I don’t know if I will get chest surgery, I currently don’t have any plans for it, is my living in an ambiguous body, identifying as non binary and on T so that I can pass as male a good thing? Because I am guessing you wouldn’t think so.

Make no mistake, transition is difficult: physically, psychologically and socially.

Having started T, I feel better physically and psychologically, social life seems fairly good, most people have reacted well or at least not badly, so no, I disagree yet again, and ask do you have any evidence for this, are there studies which show that this is a more difficult time for trans people than say, staying closeted?

All in all, transition is the biggest decision of your life

You know, I think deciding to do honours, and to persue an academic career was harder, and speaking of which I am currently transitioning and doing honours, guess which one causes more stress, more insanity and more late night finishing essays, oh wait, that gives it away don’t it.

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18 Responses

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  1. Gabriel Thomson said, on April 24, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Yeah. The bit where she lists the reasons for FTM’s not having surgery as including “lack of family support” and “lack of partner support” – how the hell is that supposed to be a good outcome?? 😡

    Good thing she’s retired, and good riddance.

  2. chartreuseflamethrower said, on April 26, 2010 at 12:10 am

    “Having started T, I feel better physically and psychologically, social life seems fairly good, most people have reacted well or at least not badly, so no, I disagree yet again, and ask do you have any evidence for this, are there studies which show that this is a more difficult time for trans people than say, staying closeted?”

    It’s great that that’s true for you- but that’s not true everywhere. I don’t know about hte rest of australia, but there are plenty of first-hand accounts of people (even trans men) coming out and facing extreme prejudice from friends, family members, co-workers, classmates, etc. The only reason I’ve seen for detransitioning is lack of social acceptance- and detransitioning is way more common than it should be (although it is uncommon). And I don’t know about studies- but how many transgendered people are murdered for being transgendered when they’re still in the closet? More people are get death threats, fired, tossed out of their apartments etc for being out as trans than people who present as heterocisnormative do. The number of hate crimes (whether they’re accepted as that or not) against transgendered people is significantly higher than those for just about any other minority- including LGB people- and they’re most often committed by someone who knows you’re transgendered. If it’s done because you aren’t cisnormative, that’s usually because you were percieved as gay- not trans.

    Maybe not transitioning due to family or partner issues isn’t acceptable to you- but it does happen. If you’re in love with a lesbian who couldn’t be with a man then you’ve got to make the decision of whether or not she’s mor eimportant than transition. Not everyone comes to the same conclusions.

    You can’t assume that your situations are the same- there are plenty of people who literally can’t transition due to government/societal/familial/etc pressure or for whom transitioning literally was the biggest decision they made. For people who lose EVERYTHING- job, family, friends, doctor, children, etc- by transitioning, I think that the decision to transition was a considerably bigger decision than what class to take in school.

  3. chartreuseflamethrower said, on April 26, 2010 at 12:12 am

    (the bit about not transitioning due to family/partner stuff was more at Gabriel)

  4. genderqueer2genderqueer said, on April 26, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Who ever it was aimed at I feel it was out of line, I support trans people whatever transtion path they end up going, including no transtioners/non medical transtioners.

    Transitioning/ed people do suffer all kinds of abuse and discrimination, I don’t think that the medical practitioners to decide that their patient’s options and risks for them, which I believe they do.

    I am not everyone, people have different experiences from me, I know this, but they can and do speak for themselves, this is a blog about transtioning non binaries, so while I talk on a range of trans issues, that is the core of this blog.

  5. nix said, on April 26, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    yes, trans people can and often do face a lot of discrimination, predjudice and outright violent hatred.

    however i’m not entirely sure how what you’re talking about maps onto this post, which (if i’m reading correctly) is more thinking about the harm done to trans people in victoria by a hostile gatekeeper system? whatever the risks are for a trans person, it shouldn’t be the place for a paternalistic psychiatrist/institution to refuse that person can access transition technologies.

  6. Lisa Harney said, on April 26, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    The problem doesn’t lie with genderqueer2genderqueer saying that transition’s been easy, but with a gatekeeper deciding what’s best for trans people without, apparently, taking actual trans people’s needs into account. Yes, transition is not easy for everyone, and not easy in every way even if it is in some ways. At that point it is better to ask how best to support trans people who have a difficult time transitioning than it is to propose that it’s better that they do not transition and risk hardship at all.

    It’s completely fair to ask, “what evidence exists to prove that trans people in general are better off closeted than transitioning?” I certainly would like to know, because I suspect that Dr. Kennedy is speaking from sexism, and not science.

    I didn’t see anything in this post that implied that the same thing is best for all trans people, or that all trans people have the same experiences as genderqueer2genderqueer.

  7. chartreuseflamethrower said, on April 27, 2010 at 6:33 am

    I don’t see ANYTHING in that saying that it’s better for transgendered people to stay closeted- it’s saying that it’s *probably* better that most trans men don’t get surgery. That isn’t testosterone or social transitioning or anything else, and it doesn’t even express if it’s top or bottom surgery. Top surgery- I’d like to see some research as well, but I do know a few trans men who are pretty content without top surgery so it can happen. In terms of bottom surgery- it’s pretty well known that they aren’t very acceptable as it is.

    The site specifically mentions that they offer mastectomy, hysterectomy, and metoidioplasty. Unless there is SERIOUS context that the OP has left out- I fail to see the problem with any of hte wording. The wording of “this is probably a good thing” is indicating that it’s good- but it’s also vague. And if there IS serious context- then I’d love to hear it, and I would apologize, but just from that there is nothing to imply that the doctor IS playing gatekeeper without taking patient’s needs into account.

  8. chartreuseflamethrower said, on April 27, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Where does it say that that is what’s going on? The initial post gives no context to indicate that’s what’s happening and the site linked doesn’t give any clear indication that it’s refusing people access to transition technologies. If there is something I am missing, tell me what it is.

  9. chartreuseflamethrower said, on April 27, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Will you please give me the context that I’m clearly missing? Where in that web page does it say that people will be prevented from transitioning or that the doctor is deciding these things for the patient? If something happened to give this context- I’m not aware of it.

    “Yeah. The bit where she lists the reasons for FTM’s not having surgery as including “lack of family support” and “lack of partner support” – how the hell is that supposed to be a good outcome?”

    They’re expressing that people choosing not to transition because of family/romantic situations is a bad outcome. If a person needs to transition- being forced not to is a bad outcome no matter who’s doing it. But for people for whom having family/romantic partners in your life outweighs the benefits of transitioning, why is choosing that not a good outcome?

  10. nix said, on April 27, 2010 at 8:26 am

    OK, perhaps the context that you are missing is the history of the Monash clinic, which has (had? we’re kind of waiting to see how it pans out since Kennedy was forcibly retired) a well-known reputation in Melbourne for denying people access to transitioning technologies on spurious grounds, for sticking to a very outmoded concept of gender variance, and for having dubioius medical ethics. The general feeling was that Monash was (is?) more interested in preventing people who do not fit their narrow definition of ‘transsexual’ from transitioning or accessing transition-related technologies.

    for people for whom having family/romantic partners in your life outweighs the benefits of transitioning, why is choosing that not a good outcome?

    I don’t think anyone here would disagree that a person’s decision to not medically transition is just as valid as a decision to medically transition. In the case of Monash, though, there is a history of denying access to transition-related medical technologies to people who have made the decision to medically transition in whatever way (or at least of making it exceptionally difficult to access those technologies).

    Does this fill out the problems genderqueer2genderqueer has with Kennedy’s methods?

  11. genderqueer2genderqueer said, on April 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Another thing I though of, Dr Kennerdy isn’t talking about 25% of all trans people accessing chest surgery, she is talking about the 25% of those accessing monash, many of whom access it specifically for surgical transition.

    In general I believe and support trans people right to their own bodies, which means that in general I disagree with stopping those trans people who choose to seek medical transtion from accessing that transtion.

  12. nix said, on April 27, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    she is talking about the 25% of those accessing monash, many of whom access it specifically for surgical transition.

    yes, this.

  13. Lisa Harney said, on April 27, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    To add to what Nix said, this quote:

    Only about 25% F-M come to surgery. This is probably a good thing

    reminds me of this statement of Zucker’s comments that trans people who transition are a “poor outcome.”

    I don’t think it’s really the gatekeeper’s place to decide that keeping the number of trans people’s surgeries down is a good thing. They’re imposing cissexist standards of bodily integrity (transitioning is bad) on trans people by doing so. This does not mean that all trans people are required to have surgery, but rather that it really should be up to trans people to explain our needs and medical professionals to help us meet them.

    I also know, from talking to trans people who have tried to go through Monash, that this:

    All in all, transition is the biggest decision of your life. If it is what you really want we will help. On the other hand, if there are doubts, we will explore the alternatives with you and support your decisions.

    means something more like: We will do everything in our power to keep you from completing transition through us. Only those who conform best to our requirements will get all of the treatment they need.

    So, no, Kennedy did not explicitly say that “not transitioning is the best option,” but Monash’s practices generally make it clear that yes, many cis people at Monash do in fact think this.

  14. chartreuseflamethrower said, on April 29, 2010 at 9:50 am

    For some reason I can’t reply to them directly, but either way:

    Thank you Lisa & Nix for giving me the context. I have never heard of this clinic and did not know the present/history.

    The person who gave me my surgery letter said fairly similar things- but she was 100% respectful of my desires in terms of transition, and didn’t just pretend unlike several other therapists I’d seen. With the number of transgendered people I’ve seen denied treatment because they don’t want to get the normal transition route- it’s hard to hear someone saying “not everyone gets surgery, and we respect your decision both ways” and see how this is bad without the context that while they’re saying that- what they MEAN is something completely different.

    But, gah, I can’t believe that a freaking clinic can get away with the phrase “”true” transsexual”. Also- TWO YEARS?! That entire rule really is BS- when you consider that you can’t change a ton of documents without surgery, so they’re saying “You have to figure out hwo to live as the opposite gender while having a bunch of documents that either say otherwise or are mismatched”- but even the WPATH people only require 1 year of RLT/hormones. I swear, these people are probably just power-tripping. There really needs to be some sort of trans-acceptance/awareness test that all professionals need to get (with some star trek-esque lie detector thing that works) before they can be allowed to have ANY control over transition.

  15. nix said, on April 29, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Yes, I’ve been unable to reply to certain comments here, too. Not sure what the deal is with that!

    And no worries for letting you know about the context. I can see that without knowing how Kennedy’s language/research/rhetoric has been put into action, one might take a very different stance in relation to it.

  16. nix said, on April 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Oh, also, I should mention that the letter I linked to has been superseded by this pamphlet [PDF].

  17. genderqueer2genderqueer said, on April 29, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I don’t know why that is happening but I will turn down the comment restrictions

  18. chartreuseflamethrower said, on April 30, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Hrm- the reply restriction thing is still there. Maybe wordpress is just being glitchy. :/ To the pamphlet: They seem to be making (baby) steps in the right direction.

    “Only those who meet strict guidelines for physical and mental wellbeing will be considered for such an intervention.”
    Great. So people with disabilities are still left out in the cold? And they’re still doing the “true” transsexual thing, now under the guise of “GID vs General Gender Dysphoria”. But I guess that’s going in the right direction…

    Also- does the RLT have to precede FFS/trach shave/etc? I’ve never seen rules on that. Does the clinic even help people who need things like that get it? For those who need it, it seems to be a bigger deal for passing than genital surgery.


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