The humans have an irrepressible devotion to classify things. Never mind that the sum population will never, ever even come close to agreeing on whatever the standard mostly accepted classification of any given item really is. Maybe it’s an error in the manufacturing process, or there is some grand reasoning in the overall design we just can’t see, but it’s real. Humans will spend countless hours coming up with and defending their own classifications, and even more attacking someone else who is just as set on theirs. In the pristine towers of academia it can get pretty pissy, but down on the streets all it takes is a simple opening like, “technically speaking, it’s actually…”, to spark bloodlust and war. The trans population is embroiled right in the middle of all this malarkey.
The grand question in all of this really centers around, “Transgender, eh? So… what is that exactly suppose to be anyway?” Most of the folks asking this question are about as qualified to contemplate this as Huck and Jim floating on a raft on the ol’ Mississippi wondering if “stars was made, or just happened”. As a result, we get to hear all kinds of craziness, some closer to the mark than others probably, but still a wide right in the best of cases. “Trapped in the opposite gender body” “Mental illness” “Right brain in a left body” “Lifestyle choice impaired” “Jokers who just like to try to fool everyone” “Medical condition” “Two-spirit” “Reincarnated as the wrong gender” “Perverts” “Super-duper flaming gay” “Childhood abuse victims” It goes on, and only gets worse from there.
The reality is that we don’t really know what this is. It’s infuriating to try to explain to cisgender people, including therapists. The latter are very happy to accept their fee, cash or insurance, and ensure we get proper care all while attempting to “dissect us with their blunt little tool”. That line is from ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and by most estimates the very worst depiction of a “trans” person in mainstream media to date. Don’t worry, I’m sure there is an upcoming post where I get all hissy pants about that as well. As it stands, the psychological community is currently keeping us in the DSM under the auspices of ensuring we have the means to get proper care. It does make sense in a way, because it is nearly impossible to get any type of coverage for something that isn’t classified as a four alarm problem. But is this a good thing overall?
Very hard to say. On one hand, I’m very glad my work insurance suddenly started covering “transgender surgery” (exact words in the policy) because it’s going to save me a ton of cash when previously it was considered an unallowable cosmetic procedure. By covering it, they consider me to be someone who ‘has something’. But what is that something? And how excited am I to be tagged with the diagnosis of a mental illness when the real treatment is simply being myself? The hormones, the laser treatment, the various surgeries – these are all really, really nice things to have, but all I really need is to be myself and present to the world as the person I am dead certain I am. Not exactly indicative of a mental disorder, right? The vast majority of people have a problem doing this anyway to begin with, and the only real thing that separates us is that we something look a little strange doing it.
Don’t get me wrong. I do think there is something that sets us apart from cisgender people. The explanation I’m going with is that we have brains that formed different than the body, possibly due to a lack or, or false surge of, certain hormones early on in uterine development. Hard to prove at the moment, but it seems crisp, clean and fits Occam’s Razor, or at the very least a Bic disposable. If so, it’s a form of intersex that is inclusive of the brain and not just the genitals. That I can live with. It’s a bona fide medical condition, a condition of birth (not a birth defect!), that should be covered by treatment and without the scary sounding stigma of ‘mental illness’. So don’t call me crazy; well, at least not for this.