Transsexuals have the same rights as anyone else seeking medical attention.
THE RIGHT TO EQUAL RESPECT BY THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY
THE RIGHT TO GIVE INFORMED CONSENT TO TREATMENT
THE REMOVAL OF TRANSSEXUALISM AS A MENTAL DISORDER
As other women before them did, male-to-female (m2f) transsexuals have the right to say “It’s my body, and I have the right to control it.” We’re the ones who have to live with our decisions; all the medical community should demand is the same standard as other treatment – informed consent between the patient and the treating physicians.
The current policy and standards of care were formulated at a time when it was still thought that gender was mutable – when it was believed that a persons’ gender identity was not innate, but could be changed with “help”. This belief was perpetuated by psychiatrists such as Dr. John Money, of Johns Hopkins Hospital, who was later found to have lied about his research findings.
The continuing belief that transsexualism is a mental condition, with only fraudulent “scientific research” to back it up in the face of mounting evidence that it is solely a physical condition, continues to cause transsexuals problems.
This is not the first time that the psychiatric community has applied personal prejudice, religious beliefs, or wilful ignorance to the treatment of their patients.
Psychiatrists used to classify homosexuality and lesbianism as mental diseases, despite a total lack of scientific proof, and much proof that same-sex activity is normal in many mammals. Just ask anyone who owns a male dog – they’ll hump anything. Even lab mice “do it” same-sex.
This situation was only corrected 30 years ago after 3 years of active lobbying by the gay community, when psychiatrists had to reluctantly admit that there was no scientific evidence that homosexuality was a “mental condition.”
The same situation exists with transsexuals. There is no scientific evidence that transsxualism, at least in m2f cases, is anything other than a physical condition brought about by the failure of the unborn child’s testes to release masculinizing hormones at the right time during pregnancy.
The medical community agrees that hormone therapy (HT) and gender reassignment surgery(GRS, also known as sexual reassignment surgery – SRS, or more colloquially, a “sex change”) is the treatment of choice for transsexuals. This treatment is solely physical in its nature. And yet they can’t answer the question of how a “mental condition” can be helped by surgery and hormones.
The acknowledged failure of conventional psychotherapy to provide relief, and the success of HT and GRS / SRS, are sufficient of themselves to demonstrate that transsexualism should be treated primarily, if not solely, as a medical condition with exclusively physical origins.
The mandatory use of psychologists to conduct long-term psychotherapy on transsexuals is generally an inappropriate use of time and resources that brings the patient into conflict with their caregivers.
Transsexuals would be better served by being evaluated by trained social workers, who could interact with us, our friends, family, and co-workers; this would result in lower costs to the patient, a more accurate assessment of our actual situation upon which to base treatment decisions, and increased trust.
Psychologists have a financial self-interest in perpetuating their role in the treatment of transsexuals, of delaying appropriate physical therapies as long as possible, and of keeping transsexuals physically and psychologically dependent on their approval.
This dependancy on psychotherapy, which psychologists admit will not resolve the transsexuals’ condition, which most transsexuals feel is not directly targeted at relieving their condition, and which imposes significant financial barriers to medical treatment, is ethically wrong. Further, it stigmatizes the patient in the eyes of the community at large, perpetuating the myth that transsexualism is a mental disorder.
Psychologists complain all the time that transsexuals are manipulative liars. Perhaps its time that psychologists step up to the mirror and realize that it is because they are not the right tool for the job. They may, in some limited cases, be of use when the patient has psychological issues; however, treatment of the patients’ transsexualism should not be conditional upon treatment for other problems, except where those other problems make it impossible for the patient to give informed consent. In other words, the same standards that apply to all other medical treatments should apply to the treatment of transsexualism. Nobody would order 6 to 12 months of psychotherapy before commencing chemotherapy for a cancer patient. The same should apply for transsexuals – we need better diagnostic tools and methods, not “psychotherapies” that don’t work.
The excuse that the medical community usually gives in their defense is that a mistake would be tragic for the patient. But isn’t this is what the standard of “informed consent” is for? Anything else is an insult to transsexuals, overreaching, and an infringement of both our rights as patients and our legal right to seek the treatment we feel is in our best interests.
The use of psychotherapy to “get to know the patient better” in an artificial one-on-one setting in the psychologists’ office, or in group therapy sessions, as opposed to social workers meeting with transsexuals and their friends in their home or work environment, is probably the single largest contributor to the “mistakes” that psychologists claim to want to avert, as well as the claims of lying and manipulation.
The methods and tests used by the psycological community were not developed with the needs of transsexuals in mind. They have not been properly evaluated in such a context; many of them have never been properly evaluated, period, and are of no objective value. Relyiing on such subjective tests, while pretending to the genral public and their patients that they are in any way objective, is deceitful. Their use in our case constitutes an experiment on transsexuals without proper informed consent.
It is not up to the transsexual community to come up with treatment alternatives that make sense. However, seeing that those treating us continue to use methods that are based on outdated beliefs that have no scientific basis, that unnecessarily delay access to treatment of the primary condition, that stigmatize us, and that imposes significant financial barriers, it is in our self-interest to say “enough is enough.”
Unless there is a clear indication that the individual patient is unable to give informed consent, the decisions taken by transsexuals should be between themselves, their endogrinologists, urologists, and surgeons. An evaluation of the patients’ psychosocial setting by a trained social worker should be sufficient, and would be an improvement when compared to the current fiasco.
Our options are many. They can include legal challenges, political lobbying, public debate, and education.
In the face of continuing lack of any proof that transsexualism is a mental condition, we should press for the same rights as anyone else with a physical handicap, including the right to seek to have that physical handicap treated promptly and properly, without artificial barriers or artifices, or “gate-keeping.” Psychological “intervention” should be limited to those patients who present with pathologies that prevent informed consent, and those who request further intervention.