Transgenders are often bullied. We are not allowed to self-define and arrange for medical treatment to bring ourselves in line with our innate personalities.

We are forced to go to gatekeepers and ‘prove’ our transgender status to the satisfaction of ‘experts’, whose presence in our lives only emphasises to third parties that we ‘need treatment’.

Yet these gatekeepers and their imposition of real-life tests and waiting times, controlled access to hormone therapy and permission for surgery have nothing to do with the law. These are onerous guidelines imposed on us by professions that claim to know what is best for us.

Transgenders are also bullied by lawmakers, who decree that some of us are ‘recognised transgenders’ and must be treated fully as members of their affirmed gender. Others, because they fail the test by not having been born in Australia, or by being too young, or by being in a loving marriage that both parties wish to preserve, or by not having had irreversible genital surgery, are relegated to a secondary status where their rights as an affirmed man or woman can be challenged.
Where is the record being kept of who is ‘recognised’ and who is not? Will we be issued eventually with identity cards similar to the ones issued by the RTA for non-drivers?

Leaving aside the fact that most of us intend to have gender-affirming surgery as a matter of choice in order to make acceptance in our innate gender role less complicated, there is a growing number of transgenders who prefer to avoid invasive surgery and keep the genital and reproductive anatomy they were born with (amended here and there, perhaps, by hormonal therapy, implants or mastectomies).

The demand for us to conform anatomically to a stereotype of a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ is partly due to society’s adoption of taboos which have no place in a thinking society, and partly due to a fear that transgenders who retain their original genitalia will inevitably use them to commit sex crimes, rape, invasive use of gender-assigned toilets, exhibitionism and who knows what else.  So it is decreed, in effect, that transgenders who wish to be recognised in society must be neutered for the greater good.

It might be a better notion to punish people for crimes they commit, rather than ones they might commit.

It is time for common sense to prevail and a coordinated overhaul and revision of transphobic laws and guidelines to be undertaken at state and federal levels.

info: Katherine Cummings is the Information and Resources Worker at the NSW Gender Centre. Visit www.gendercentre.org.au

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