Suddenly, I’m able to start the process of legal and physical transition.
I’ve mentioned sometimes going to an lgbt youth group. Last week, one of the coordinators took me aside to ask me about my transition process. She said that, as a minor, I can’t do much without parental consent; but I can do the requisite three months of therapy to get diagnosed as gender dysphoric. After that, I can start hormone therapy.
I spoke to one of the center’s psychiatrists and his advice was to do the diagnosis through my own psychologist, since she already knows me. My psychologist sort of agreed, although she wants to clear things up with my parents first. Who knows how long that will take. But at least I’m inching forward.
So, where’s the politics? The issue is that I’m not particularly happy about being diagnosed with a mental illness. I believe that trans people, or genderqueer people, or anyone dissatisfied with their body, should be able to alter it without having to prove themselves to a doctor or a judge (in Argentina, for surgery and ID changes, you have to show a judge that you’re “trans enough”). I especially disagree with one of the criteria for dysphoria, which is that you have to suffer in order to deserve treatment.
It would be –sort of– easy to stick to the system despite my opinions. I wouldn’t even have to lie for the diagnosis: my psychologist knows my whole twisted doubt-ridden history, and she considers me trans anyway. But I know of some activists who avoided the system, waiting 10 (ten!) years for ID changes, working the streets to pay their surgery and hormones. That’s being loyal to one’s ideals. With these people in mind, I feel pretty hypocritical.
But I really want to change my body. As soon as possible.
PS: For more about the political implications of lying to the “gatekeepers”, see Elliot Long‘s essay from the Beyond Masculinity anthology (especially here, from the third paragraph).
PPS: Through Going Somewhere I found this funny and insightful essay. The author, receiving hir parents for the first time after chest surgery, makes hirself a pair of “pudding tits” so they won’t notice; this makes hir think about bodies, identities and how we are read by others.
What I hope for is a way in which we can actively articulate, rewrite, translate, and metaphorize, both in terms of verbal and bodily language, in order to continue the long project of fighting ourselves into existence.