Archive | January 2014

I hit a nerve, didn’t I?

Because that’s all some of these people have – is raw nerves.

I never said that I supported Michelle Kosilek. I never said that I was happy that this lawsuit was filed. I never asked for such to be filed. But it’s there and we cannot ignore it.

What one particular voice wants to ignore is that if the state decides that GCS is medically not necessary, then you can bet that every insurer in that state and in any state where that precedent can be used (which is likely to be many because of the nature of the federal court system) will use that decision as a basis for claiming that transgender health care should be excluded from coverage.

Yes, yes, some companies negotiate to cover that now. But open heart surgery isn’t a negotiated item. It’s required, because it can be medically necessary. The reason that we have this entire patchwork mess was because back in the 1980s, certain other shrill voices managed to convince the Reagan administration that GCS was not a medically necessary procedure, and even to call it “experimental” despite the fact that it had been in use successfully to treat GID since the 1930s.

For the federal courts to agree that it is a medically necessary procedure provides reference and precedent when reviewing the status of Medicaid coverage of GCS, which just so happens to be under review this year. And if Medicaid says it is medically necessary, most insurers rapidly fall in line and agree with the federal government. This has happened on all other manner of health care before – a federal decision which prompted the health insurance industry to stop treating something as optional. So your assumption  that this decision can’t be relevant elsewhere flies in the face of things I’ve been directly told by people with legal training.

I’ve not cheered on Michelle Kosilek. I’m not carrying any torch for her, despite your misguided attempts to paint me in that light.

As for your fear of answering those who questioned, you answer them honestly. Every single prisoner under the care of the state is entitled to medically necessary care. Even Charles Manson. That doesn’t mean anyone “supports” these people. That’s an absurd attempt to twist this into an emotional argument so you can maintain your faux moral outrage about this case.

You claim that I am supporting this when I never said any such thing. What I am saying and will continue to say is this decision is pure black and white due process. If the doctor’s diagnosis is medically necessary, then the state has no choice, no matter how much you, I, or your neighbor may dislike it.

Unless, of course, Jennifer, you want to amend the constitution to permit cruel and unusual punishment? Because that’s the alternative here. Deny medically necessary treatment, an act which is already deemed cruel and unusual punishment by prior US court cases, and which therefore violates the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution.

You can’t have it both ways, Jennifer. I wish this case had never come before the courts. But it did. It’s here. And either the law has to be blind or we’re not a nation of laws.

It seems you no longer want to be governed by law but instead by moral outrage. Such a pity.

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Faux Moral Outrage Among Shrill Transgender Harpies

A federal judge upheld the right of a transgender inmate to receive gender confirmation surgery at the expense of the state. As usual, a particular crowd of transgender voices arise at this “outrage”, about how the “community” brings “shame” upon ourselves because some of us supported this decision. Since I cannot post my unfettered thoughts elsewhere, where these harpies gather like shrill ravens shouting down anyone who disagrees with them, I’ll post my thoughts here. What follows is what I would have addressed to these irrational, illogical, constitutional defying shrill voices of faux moral outrage had I been allowed to say it where it should have been said.

Some of you seem to hold the notion that prison should be cruel and unusual punishment, despite a clear constitutional prohibition against the same.

Some of you seem to want to pick and choose what the government is allowed to call “medically necessary”.

Some of you seem to want to deny that the AMA and APA have stated that GCS can be “medically necessary” in specific cases.

Some of you seem to want to deny the long standing legal finding that anyone in prison is thus a ward of the state and the state is therefore mandatorily obligated to provide “medically necessary” health care, because the state has removed the opportunity for the individual to do so themselves.

Given the above, the decision of the judge follows in clear black and white logic.

Some of you seem to not give a damn about the US constitution, two hundred years of legal precedents, the advancement of modern medicine, and the formal recognition by the scientific community that being transgender is a medical condition.

Here’s a hint – if GCS is medically optional for this prisoner, it is medically optional for every single one of you too. If it is medically optional for this prisoner, and not covered, then it should legally not be covered for you either.

I don’t care of you like or dislike this human being. I certainly don’t. I think what she did was reprehensible. But you cannot play the selective game with medically necessary treatment without also establishing legal precedent that it is therefore selective for everyone else,  including you.

There is a word for the short-sighted thinking you present and that word is hypocrisy. I would suggest you reconsider the legal and logical ramifications of your short sighted position, but I know better than that. That’s simply impossible for those motivated by such hypocrisy. Your quasi-moral outrage appears to be more important to you than consistency of legal application of the law in light of the AMA’s position on transsexual surgical health care. Your faux moral outrage defies facts and logic before the law but you’d rather “feel good” about your faux moral outrage than have consistent and fair legal precedents.

And yet some of you wonder why we have so much trouble getting insurance coverage for GCS for the rest of us? Go look in the mirror. You are why so many of us have such trouble. YOU  are the problem! You! Because as soon as you argue that this procedure is not medically necessary for Michelle Kosilek, you have argued that it is not medically necessary for you either. If you, as a layman, call into question the diagnosis of medical professionals in one case, you have created the legal basis for a layman to question that diagnosis in every other case.

So the next time a trans brother or sister wonders aloud why getting coverage for GCS is such a legal mess, please have the courage to stand up and say, “Me! Me! I’m the one who screwed you over, for my faux moral outrage! You’re welcome!” But I’ll bet not one of you has the guts to stand up and take responsibility for what you represent. Not one.

About Male Privilege

Cisgender male often do not believe that there is something like male privilege in existence. Even feminists have trouble identifying it and pointing it out clearly, probably because they never experience male privilege and then experience its lack. Natal males experience it constantly so never see it missing. Natal females experience its lack constantly so have trouble identifying it.

Interestingly, this is one area where transwomen are most able to support feminists, because often transwomen can provide actual examples of male privilege. Here are some anecdotal examples, names removed to protect those other persons.

One transwoman I know spoke about buying a new car as a woman for the first time. She said the initial experience was strange because she’d never been talked “down” to while buying a new car before. This continued until they moved on to actually negotiating over the car, where the salesman saw her legal name change and credit history. Suddenly, he was treating her like a male again. She said she was not even sure if the salesman knew what he had done, his treatment of different genders being so ingrained.

Another transwoman, in dealing with a particular bank, found them to be condescending. She too had undergone legal name change but not finalized all documentation yet. When she presented her name change paperwork along with her old “male” id, the tone of the discussion shifted, almost seamlessly and she too wondered if the individual involved even knew what had just occurred.

The following video exemplifies this sort of thinking, pointing it out, and telling women to not accept it.

People who deny that male privilege exists are ignoring very real evidence that it does exist – from transwomen who have seen both sides of the same coin directly.

An Absurdity of Trans Self Hatred And My Response

On a forum where I am not allowed to post my thoughts without censorship, a post as made that trans folk should be like a starfish opening a clam, slow steady pressure that eventually succeeds. This is pretty wise advice for most cases and I had no quibble with that advice. But another poster came in and posted complete and utter nonsense. This poster has waged a war against transition itself and urged trans people to always “sit in the back of the bus” if even a single cisgender person objects. Here is what she said:

Yet a very relevant digression because that sort of militant action created many negative reactions and created opponents, opponents who could have cared less but were forced to become opponents because of the offensive behavior and not just fighting for gay rights but attacking many non-gays for their beliefs. Beliefs which by and large had nothing to do with gay issues.

The turning point for gays was when non-militant folks started coming out and demonstrated gay people can be decent human beings and all weren’t such offensive people.

You message here Becky is a very good one and illustrates that desires can be obtained, respect and acceptance achieved by being a decent human being first and using slow and constant change. There have been thousands just like you who have provided positive examples who have been instrumental in achieving so much for trans.

It seems more and more a certain portion of the community seems focused on flushing all this good will folks like you have earned for trans by becoming more angry at non-trans and not pushing for needs but pushing for things that go well beyond the needs of trans and not respecting things most people will find offensive.

This is my response, which I cannot post there because of censorship.

Once upon a time, most whites found the mere presence of blacks offensive. White women argued that black women would prey upon white women in integrated restrooms. Sound familiar?

There are certain things that are morally abhorrent regardless of how they are done. I take great exception to the “stay at the back of the bus” mentality. Coming out gently, the “starfish” approach doesn’t mean not rattling cages. It means doing things in a slow steady forward progression. But people can still be exceptionally stiff necked, cruel, rude, and even dangerous when faced with change they dislike. Should someone stop transition at a certain point just to satisfy family members yet remain in a suicidal depression by doing so? I don’t think so. Should a trans person be denied restroom access to simply empty their bowels or bladder because some bigot is upset that trans folk merely exist? That’s the narrative of Pacific Justice Institute – that your mere existence is harassment of cisgender women.

Among my friends and family, I’ve achieved a more than 90% success and acceptance rate among the people I know. Yet there are losses and those losses were not caused by me. Those losses were the deliberate choices of those people to reject me, despite multiple health care professionals all agreeing that this was what I needed to do. And those losses remain very painful.

Your frequent harangues against transition and against not upsetting anyone amount to allowing one family member to tell you to not seek cancer treatment when ill with cancer. That’s absurd, isn’t it? And it’s just as absurd when applied to therapies that mental health professionals can statistically prove are highly likely to succeed in reducing stress and anxiety brought about by gender dysphoria.

No one is “forced to become an opponent”. That’s an absurd rationalization for bigotry, hatred, and injustice. Becoming an opponent is a choice that the opponent makes not the trans person, not the gay person, not the black person, not the hispanic person. George Wallace chose to become an opponent of blacks. Every single person who chooses to oppose equal rights for transgender people is making exactly the same sort of choice as George Wallace. All that black people did was stand up and say, “I want to be respected and treated decently.” What George Wallace did, and what trans bigots do today is respond with, “Hell no! We’re never going to respect you! We’d turn the dogs on you, the water cannons, and we’d round you up and ship you to camps if we could!” This isn’t even an exaggeration either because trans opponents have made exactly those sort of arguments, from the Tennessee state representative who promised to “stomp a mudhole” into any trans woman he saw enter a restroom, to a North Carolina GOP state organizer who wants to send every trans person off to camps, to even my eldest son who says I need a tattoo on my forehead and arm that tell the world I am trans. (Does that sound familiar?)

Your argument is an “Uncle Tom” argument. Your argument is fear and loathing of what you and other trans folk are, and a choice to allow your rights to be trampled and yourself to be bullied, all so you don’t upset the bigots. I do not accept your choice. You’re free to sit in the back of the bus, but I won’t.

I’m not even sorry to say this, but to hell with you and your fear mongering about who we are. You are a menace to young trans people everywhere by sowing excessive doubt and worry. My only regret is I cannot post my frank opinion of your complete and utter bullshit right where it would matter.

Lessons For Others Like Me

Recently, another transwoman blogged about how “coming out” is tearing her apart. How every passing day as “him” becomes more and more painful yet she is afraid to move forward fearful of the losses that may come. This blog entry is for her and every other trans person like her.

I went through what you have. I dressed secretly, went out as myself when my spouse was away on trips. Dressed at home as “me”. I purged wigs and clothing multiple times, swearing “never again” but to no avail.

I did this for decades. Decades. My marriage suffered for it as there were long periods in which I simply could not function as a male. My spouse knew something was wrong but she never confronted me about it except to ask once, years ago, if I was having an affair. I was not, of course, so denied that but offered her no further insights at that time.

This roller coaster went on for years and years and years. My gender dysphoria would build, drive me into dark depressions, then I’d grasp at some straw to distract me and lift me out. And then in 2010 came the worst dysphoria episode of all.

It ate at me, tore at me, and would not let go. And I continued to resist like a damned fool. My life became darker and darker and darker. I began to plot my own death. I was plotting because a plain suicide would have denied her life insurance benefits. Instead, I was plotting to smash my sports car into a concrete bridge abutment at 130 mph or better. Everyone knew I drove fast. Mr. Macho Car Lover! Part of my facade to ensure I looked “male enough” to the world! This wouldn’t be a surprise at all, just that somehow he lost control and… over. Done. Later, when she discovered this plan, she was utterly horrified because it became plain to her exactly how serious I was about this.

It was while driving the roads late one evening, looking for the perfect place to have my “accident” that I realized I didn’t really want to die. That was where I realized that I wanted to live but didn’t know how and so instead I reached out and fortunately found one of the better and more experienced therapists who deals with transgender issues in this city.

I poured out my soul to her that first session, crying, expressing myself, my wants, my fears. She ended that session with the admonition that the first thing I had to do was to stop lying, mostly to myself, and admit who I am.

That was in March 2012. Months of therapy later, every week for the first several months, I began cross gender hormone treatment, in September 2012.

The most important lesson I learned in this was that how others react to me is their choice and that anyone who refuses to accept me as me was never a friend or someone truly trustworthy in the first place. If someone rejects me because of a truth about me, they never really loved me nor were truly friends to me in the first place. I was only accepted because I towed a particular line for that person, not because of any truth about myself.

Some spouses are able to accept this knowledge. Some are not. But torturing yourself for the rest of your life to remain in a marriage that drives you to the pits of despair and the edge of suicide is not healthy. It’s not even rational. Love would not torture another person. Love would not condemn them to darkness and thoughts of death being preferable to life.

I told my spouse. She declared this unacceptable. She’s going back to school and in a few years we will divorce. We live in separate rooms in the same house for now as this makes more financial sense than just splitting at the present. I have lost her, in all but name, and will lose her in name eventually too. Her entire family condemns me. Both my adult sons no longer speak to me nor allow me to see their children. One of my brothers refuses to accept this.

I have found love and support from two of my brothers, my sister, my daughter, my daughter’s husband, my daughter’s children, and numerous friends who have become my “spiritual family” including three very special women who have stepped forward as my “soul sisters” slowly guiding my journey into womanhood.

I have tried my best to never be accusatory to those who refuse to accept. Through tears and pain, I leave all those doors open, on the off chance that someone may change. It’s not an assumption that they will, just a hope that a few of them might.

In the meanwhile, I continue to move forward with my transition. And despite these losses, the gains of love and friendship I’ve made have helped offset those and helped me endure. I am, for the first time in my life, actually happy with myself, rather than simply distracted by some externality in my life.

I’ve said this before, but only you can determine whether you can accept the changes that will inevitably come from being true to yourself. But let me warn you that trying to hide from this is a path into darkness, a path into nothingness. And the end of that path does no one any good. Not you. Not your spouse. Not your children. Not your friends. Not your siblings. No one.  As another friend reminded me, suicide doesn’t solve anything at all and in fact permanently scars those left behind in ugly harsh ways. If you reach the point of considering suicide, it might end your pain but instead will burden all those around you for the rest of their lives. Is that what you really want to accomplish?

To borrow a phrase, don’t go down that road. You know where it ends and you don’t want to be there. Whatever road you take, don’t take the road into darkness. If the choice is darkness or yourself, choose yourself. Anyone who can’t accept that wasn’t meant to be in your life anyway.