In a sense, it’s not so much whether you have, or haven’t, written the anger post. Rather, it’s that your writings have given me the impetus I needed to begin really thinking about my own anger. It’s something I’ve been avoiding because it’s not an easy thing to contemplate. But certain events in the past few weeks have kick-started that process, and perhaps this is the beginning of my own personal trans anger post. As I am learning, anger is an intensely personal thing. It is a powerful emotion which each of us must learn to harness, and not to let it control us…
Since beginning my transition in 2006, I have had first-hand contact with a range of healthcare professionals, the majority of whom are specialists in one or other aspects of gender identity. And without exception, in varying degrees, they have all set themselves up as gatekeepers, not facilitators. They have controlled my access to the appropriate treatments, from that first diagnosis of transsexuality and my first prescription for oestrogen through to my routine, post-surgical checkups.
In other words, instead of helping me to determine and obtain what I need, with the benefit of their experience and knowledge, they have made me jump through a series of hoops like a dog in a circus show, the reward being that I am granted access to whatever treatment they deem necessary at that time.
And why do they behave like this? My feeling is that their collective attitude is an unstated manifestation of a systemic discrimination against people like me, people whose gendered identities do not conform to society’s norms: trans people.
Transphobia, in other words; a discrimination which arises because they benefit from cissexual privilege and I don’t.
And yet each and every one of them has been professional, courteous, caring and, ultimately, they have given me the required medical treatments. But it is always on their terms, not mine.
So why am I angry? In the end, I get what I need, so what’s the problem?
Quite simply, it’s the way access to healthcare is controlled that is one reason – a big reason – for my trans anger. But I’m becoming aware that there are many other things that I’m angry about apart from healthcare, some of which I’m now confronting, and some of which I’m still only peripherally aware of.
So there are many other things I need to work through besides anger; like most people I live with the human condition and consequently have to deal with the full range of human emotions. Two years on, and there is still much work for me to do: transitioning is a process and like, I suspect, many trans people, I am a work in progress.