Surfing around different trans-peoples’ blogs tonight, I realized that I was searching for information on how transitioning works in other countries. Exept the USA – on that there’s a lot of information. But how is it in the Netherlands? France? Russia? Finland?
Well, as usual I concluded that the only thing I could do was to start myself and hope that others would join. So this is what it’s like in Norway:
First of all; the SOC and DSM are being used. I guess they are elmost everywhere in Europe and North-America. But it seems different countries understand them differently. In the following I’ll focus of what I’ve understood to bethe differences between the american systemand the norwegian one.
I Norway, the social security covers nearly all the costs. (Instead of money, you pay with your soul, I use to say, half joking.) We have one clinic for Gender Identity Disorde, in Oslo. They state that you can’t get diagnosis or treatment anywhere else. I discussed this with my independent shrink today, and he said this was wrong. I’m really not sure. Anyway you’ll need a letter from a shrink and your doctor to get appointment there. None ever read those letters, or any of your other paperwork.
Any doctor outside the GID-clinic who will diagnose or treat transsexuals, would clearly get in trouble with the GID-clinic.
The councelling and real life test takes minimum one year. The GID-clinic has no deadlines, apparently. I’ve been in that limbo for one and a half year. It means total insecurity about one’s future, and I find that aspect the hardest.
In Sweden transsexuals are being tested for almost anything, both mentally and physically. So far (and I’ve been promised they’ll have the «Endlösung» ready for me before 7. of april) I’ve not been through any physical testing.
In Sweden they have trans-teams in several places, with variable standards, I’m told. In Denmark the system resembles our’s, but they are even more rigid and humiliating.
On the positive side, we’ve got a new law of names in 2003, which allowes so-called sex-contrary names. It’s really very liberal.
The GID-clinic has a monopoly on treatment (according to them at least). After getting the diagnosis, getting a normal BMI (body mass index not overweight) and quit smoking, you can get testosterone. As I understand, estrogen and anti-androgen can be administered on an earlier stage. Then you must wait a year for the breasts to shrink. At this point, minimum two years after initial contact with the clinic, they’ll put you on a waiting list for chest-surgery. That means another 9 months waiting (last I heard). Sometimes people get their internal organs removed somewhere in the waiting period, I’ve heard recently. And still the genital reassignment surgery is in the blue at this point.
If you are rejected, you have no options left according to the GID-clinic. As far as I know, they have no idea how many people kill themselves after a message like that. And they don’t care. My impression is that the staff at the GID-clinic is mainly there to ensure that no poor, innocent cis-gender person ends up as trans and regretting it.
Reasons for turning people down are psychosis and «genderidentity disorders others than transsexualism». They have been getting stricter on the latter lately. According to them, it only exists two genders and two sexes. Ergo is everyone else dellusional.
I’m not certain that I’ll get my diagnosis, because
- I’m late onset and had my 30. birthday last december. Im too old.
- I have a daughter. Transsexuals should not have kids – I guess they liked us all to be virgins.
- I’m gay. This ruins their nice, shiny heteronormative picture they try to present of us as a group.
The only association for transsexuals in Norway follow the GID-clinic on all of this. In addition they use every opportunity to distance themselves from the gay community. The organisation was founded less than 10 years ago, but they’ve already changed it’s name once, and plan on doing it again this year.
This became somewhat of a rant. I guess it needed to get out. I just hope they are to busy at the clinic to read this 😉
So how is it elsewhere? Let it out you too, folks!