Cis people impose draconian restrictions on trans woman’s access rights to her child

January 22, 2009

Spanish flagI posted last November about the potential threat of revocation of Nancy Beatie’s parental rights.

In an interview with ABC News, it emerged that “if the validity of their marriage were challenged, experts say, Nancy Beatie’s parental rights could be in jeopardy”.

But, by way of proof (not that it’s needed) that Planet Cis is completely even-handed in its discrimination against parents in relationships where at least one partner is trans and there are children involved, this story brings into sharp relief the force that the state is able to bring to bear against trans parents, apparently at will, not to say somewhat randomly.

The report flags up the problems faced by a Spanish trans woman, Alexia Pardo, whose ex-wife – a cis woman – is stopping Ms Pardo from seeing her son.

Via Typically Spanish:

A Spanish transsexual says she will take her fight to spend more time with her son to the court in Strasbourg. It comes after, for the first time ever, the Spanish Constitutional Court has thrown out her appeal, despite earlier accepting it for hearing.

Álex Pardo, from Lugo, and now known as Alexia, is being stopped from seeing her son by her ex wife, who blocked access when she heard that the then Álex was undergoing hormonal treatment, claiming that the child’s father’s sex change could upset his psychological balance. Alexia says that is rubbish and that she and her son get on fabulously.

For starters, I wonder if it’s really the child’s ‘psychological balance’ that cis society is concerned about. I wonder if we’re actually talking in some sort of code and what we’re really referring to is the psychological balance of Ms Pardo’s ex-partner?

Then there are the terms used in the report. Surprisingly, although the journalist – for once – seems to have understood the importance of using the correct pronouns when speaking of trans people, there’s still an underlying process of misgendering and dehumanisation at work:

  • “A Spanish transsexual…” – A Spanish transsexual what? I understand ‘transsexual’ to be an adjective, not a noun. Does the report talk about Ms Pardo’s ex-partner as ‘a cis’? No, it doesn’t.
  • “Álex Pardo, from Lugo, and now known as Alexia…” – And what possible relevance does Ms Pardo’s pre-transition name have here? None at all.
  • The use of gendered terms like ‘ex-wife’ and ‘father’. Why not just say ‘ex-partner’ and ‘parent’?

But onwards…

In 2005 the Provincial Court in Lugo ordered that the father could spend just two hours every 15 days with the child, provided psychologists and both parents were present. The verdict however noted that the child was aware of the situation, and had no problem that his father was now a woman, and he had a good relationship with her.

Alexia PardoTwo hours every 15 days? On condition that psychologists and Ms Pardo’s ex-partner are also present? To me, that only sends out one message, and it sends it loud and clear: Ms Pardo’s very existence is considered to be such a threat to her child that her presence will only be tolerated under an almost microscopic level of supervision and scrutiny – which will, of course, be carried out by a cis woman and members of the medical profession.

What, no handcuffs and leg-irons? No armed guards? How about a full strip-search beforehand? Full biohazard suits all round, maybe?

Because, as everybody knows – especially highly qualified and trained expert medical specialists like psychologists – transsexuality is contagious and by implication downright dangerous to cis people.

So, can anyone explain to me how this breathtaking display of cis paranoia by the court will protect the child’s ‘psychological balance’? Is there any pre-existing evidence at all that such alarmingly heavy-handed treatment of one of the child’s parents – in front of the child, too – won’t actually cause the psychological harm to the child that it claims it seeks to prevent?

Rampant institutionalised transphobia? Not much…

ETA: I also begin to wonder if it sets a precedent for any parent (trans or cis) to block another’s access to their child on the grounds that the other’s medical condition may disturb the child’s ‘psychological balance’. Given that this case is, presumably, being heard under EU legislation, the potential implications are very worrying. In addition, where does it leave sex discrimination legislation?

4 Responses to “Cis people impose draconian restrictions on trans woman’s access rights to her child”

  1. Ruth Moss Says:

    That’s appalling stuff!

    Poor Alexia. And poor kid too!

    “Is there any pre-existing evidence at all that such alarmingly heavy-handed treatment of one of the child’s parents – in front of the child, too – won’t actually cause the psychological harm to the child that it claims it seeks to prevent?”

    Exactly.

  2. Timortinel Says:

    It is so unfair and stupid that I don’t know what to say.

    “For starters, I wonder if it’s really the child’s ‘psychological balance’ that cis society is concerned about. I wonder if we’re actually talking in some sort of code and what we’re really referring to is the psychological balance of Ms Pardo’s ex-partner?”

    So true

  3. drakyn Says:

    I’m pretty sure there already precedents (at least, I know there are here in the USA). I remember hearing a few years ago about a woman who was forced to quit school, dress as a man, get a fulltime job (despite being disabled) because a judge ordered her to so she could make the same amount of child support she did before she was injured. Ahh, google to the rescue, here is an article.
    And I know I’ve heard of other cases where someone’s custody/visitation rights were taken away because they are trans*…

  4. algormortis Says:

    The State of Oregon had, and the key word here is had, an administrative policy in place designed to keep trans people from adopting. Literally the night before the firm i work with was ready to file a lawsuit challenging this policy, they mysteriously changed it.

    Sometimes agencies wise up when they know they’re wrong and are about to be called on it. I wonder if the local court will suddenly wise up when confronted with the ECHR.


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