Genderqueer 2 genderqueer's Blog

My transition was a success.

Posted in Uncategorized by genderqueer2genderqueer on December 29, 2010

This great piece got me thinking.

I was on testosterone for nine months, without ever consistently passing as male, and I have now stopped taking testosterone and outside my close friends and family live as female.

This is a success. I am glad I did it.

I reject the notion that my life now, is something to be avoided.  While in retrospect probably trying to transition during my honours year was a mistake, maybe putting it off would have been a mistake to, I can not tell.

I am the horror story used to justify gate keeping. (Well, not as much as a cis man without a penis, warning, link contains mainstream journalists talking about trans issues. )

My story is used to scare cis medical professionals who might offer life saving, and life improving medical tech.

I am not a failure, I do not regret hormones, I know more about myself now than I did then, I carry my scars, I learn about my gender, I am happy with the path I have chosen.

I am not a failed trans person, I am not a cis person in need of protection from my own choices.

I am genderqueer, I accessed medical tech and I am glad I did.

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7 Responses

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  1. nix said, on December 30, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    you are totally a success story! you wanted hormones and used them, and stopped using them when you wanted to stop. that’s what it should be like for everyone.

  2. hexy said, on March 2, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    I’m glad you did, too. The experience was good for you.

    And you now make the decision whether or not to go back on them from a more informed perspective. Yay!

  3. Z said, on March 10, 2011 at 9:52 am

    It’s not just cis medical professionals, I’m a trans medical professional (though I don’t work with trans people around transition, I’m in a totally different field. And I don’t really get the gender binary thing, so it’s great to here your side of the story.

    I have mixed feelings about ‘gatekeeping’ but on balance I do think that some form of gatekeeping is necessary. For instance it wouldn’t be appropriate for someone who was in the manic stage of bipolar disorder and were having very florid delusions that they were christ to have surgery, you’d have to check that this was a trait not a state.

    Also there’s the sticky question of who pays for the treatment. At the moment in the UK some people manage to get it paid for by the NHS because it’s a ‘disorder’, and the treatment is necessary, if it was a ‘lifestyle choice’ like cosmetic surgery, then it wouldn’t be paid for. I had to fund my chest surgery myself, and I have to say the it was ok, I spent more on my first car, but I could never afford a phalloplasty, I think few could.

    Also a lot of the protection from discrimination, in the UK comes from the law, and the legal notion is based on the fact that it’s a ‘disorder’ and you can’t ‘choose it’. If I choose to get a facial tattoo my boss can legally fire me, but if I choose to change gender then he can’t fire me.

    Is it worth trading free treatment for some, and a form of legal protection for a lack of gatekeeping? I don’t think so.

  4. genderqueer2genderqueer said, on March 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Hi Z, thankyou for commenting.

    I don’t reject the disorder model of transsexuality, nor do I think that excessive gate keeping needs to be part of it. I guess when I talk about gate keeping I am talking about the excesses which I see hurting trans people for no gain, rather than what I feel are reasonable costs of a medical system.

    A clinic in the state next to mine, uses a model which mixes gatekeeping and informed consent, patients are given a one hour interview with a psychologist to access ability to give informed consent, and after that are treated. I think this is a good model. Informed consent can not be given by using your example someone in a manic state, but if a bipolar trans person, capable of informed consent wishes to have surgery, artifical waiting times to see if they are really sure, to me make as much sense as the same restrictions on surgery to treat back pain.

    There is very limited funding in Australia, but I personally would argue for more, within the disease model. I also don’t think that a disease model rules out different modalities of treatment, using my back pain example some people and some forms of back pain I believe need surgery, where as others can be well managed by lifestyle modifications, back braces and sometimes medication. I would argue that GID is similar.

  5. Z said, on March 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I really think that there should be an evidence based way of finding how how much pre-screening was optimal. Too much harms patients, too little, also harms patients. It should be possible to work it out using proper science. If clinics followed people up and found out who regretted their treatment, then you could find out if extended screening led to a lower regret rate.

    I also think that if the therapist is the gatekeeper you can’t actually get a proper therapeutic relationship, because you can never admit doubts to anyone. I find it easier to look on this whole thing with perspective 10 years down the line.

    I don’t think that the disease model rules out forms of treatment, it doesn’t rule out forms of treatment for biological disorders..

    That said, part of me really doesn’t think that it *is* a disease in the conventional sense of the word disease, but we all pretend that it is because it’s convenient. Though part of me does see that is a disease, I’m undecided, it rather depends how you define disease.

  6. genderqueer2genderqueer said, on March 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I really think that there should be an evidence based way of finding how how much pre-screening was optimal. Too much harms patients, too little, also harms patients. It should be possible to work it out using proper science. If clinics followed people up and found out who regretted their treatment, then you could find out if extended screening led to a lower regret rate.

    I think it would be really hard to do that reasearch well, I think it is a good idea, although I tend towards lower hurdles in medical care generally. I would be really worried about say loosing people in the higher screening group and therefore biasing the higher screening to higher motivation people, so that you might get a false positive effect, I remeber reading this with a high sideeffect antidepressive, may of the study population dropped out, which made the results questionable.

    I also think that if the therapist is the gatekeeper you can’t actually get a proper therapeutic relationship, because you can never admit doubts to anyone. I find it easier to look on this whole thing with perspective 10 years down the line.

    Yes this was absolutely a issue for me, I remember talking with a friend is a psych who suggested that therapy should be done by a different person than does the final assessment, I feel that a major issue in medicine is a lack of awareness by health care professionals that they can be in a position of power, well meaning doctors, good doctors then end up wondering why there patients don’t tell them the truth when the patients know that the truth could limit their access to health care.

    I don’t think that the disease model rules out forms of treatment, it doesn’t rule out forms of treatment for biological disorders..

    Nods, this was what I was trying to *badly* say.

    That said, part of me really doesn’t think that it *is* a disease in the conventional sense of the word disease, but we all pretend that it is because it’s convenient. Though part of me does see that is a disease, I’m undecided, it rather depends how you define disease.

    Yes, if we take the word basis “dis-ease” then body dyphoria clearly is a dis-ease, if we are talking clearly biological system failure (ie infection or breakdown of tissue) then no, but many things we call diseases chronic fatigue syndrome, or Interstitial cystitis (As a side note, a major reason why I went off T was that I thought it was causing what has now been preliminarily diagnosed (I am on a waiting list for a scope and biopsy) IC, because the first three doctors didn’t know what it is, retested me for STD’s (still neg) and I got symptoms right after I upped my dose to Sustanon 250/ 2 weeks)

  7. Z said, on March 11, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Comparing immediate to extended assessment would be no more difficult that any other medical study, (I do this for a living..). There would be ways of compensating for this in your data analysis, and also analysing on an intention-to-treat basis.So you would analyse the outcomes of all the ‘high screening’ group together, even if some of the high screening group did go off and get surgery elsewhere during the follow up period.

    Even if you found out that the higher screening group led to a high proportion of people getting annoyed and getting treatment elsewhere with reasonable outcomes then that would be a highly useful piece of information, which would be better evidence than what is available at the moment.

    You also need to find a way to measure outcome, is it patient satisfaction, is it freedom from mental illness

    I do, at times, feel guilty that I’ve got in to a totally separate area of medical research, just because I find it more interesting.

    There was an interesting article on the definition of disease in Practical Neurology this week:

    http://pn.bmj.com/content/11/2/91.full

    Syndromes are different from diseases, and whether or not CFS is a disease or just part of normal human experience is a great field of debate..


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