Standards of Care (SOC)

Until recently, I’ve believed that if the Norwegian Gender Clinic would just use the Standarsds of Care provided by WPATH, everything would be fine. I’ve thought that the SOC is ok. In my reading of the SOC I’ve only marked the parts that the gender clinic doesn’t follow.

Then I read Cedars post at Taking up too much space and realise that the SOC really can be used to defend the basic ideology at the gender clinic:

1)Procedures, not transition, not identity. There’s an almost universal assumption that these standards of care are in case a patients decides to “change hir mind” about transitioning. Putting aside of the implications of protecting trans people from themselves for a moment, transition regret is a red herring. No medical procedure can force you to live in a particular gender permanently. If I’ve been on estrogen for 10 years, have bottom surgery, facial surgery, the works, and decide I want to live as a man again? I start taking T, bind my tits, pack, and it’s no big deal. Yeah, it kinda sucks for me, but I’m not really any worse off than a female assigned at birth transsexual man (and, in fact, my situation would be remarkably similar to his).

–The point is, your informed consent is *not* about “being” a man or a woman (which no one can really truly understand in advance), it’s about the effects on your body (which, while variable, are fairly predictable). If I want an orchi, I need to be willing to take either estrogen or testosterone for the rest of my life, and be willing to either store sperm or not have more biological kids–and what gender I plan on living as in the future is fairly irrelevant.

Les videre

Going to EuroPride

I’m leaving tomorrow, heading for Stockholm and EuroPride. I have responsibility for two events:

  • A session in english called «Transwriting» where I speak about my writing, how I was met by the media and society at large. Included reading some of my poems in both Norwegian and English. See description here.
  • A writer’s workshop in two parts, where the first will be held at PrideHouse on Monday and the second at RFSL on Thursday. This will be in Norwegian/Swedish, unless someone  english-speaking  wants to attend.

I’m so delighted to have this opportunity, thanks to Punkfairy! It is a bit scary, but mostly exiting. I get to spend the week at his place. There are so many interesting workshops and other events going on that I like to attend!

Almost ready for Transfabulous!

I’m very excited! This weekend will be my first trip to London. I’m invited to keep a workshop (actually a speak and reading poetry) at this fabulous festival for transart. The title of my workshop is «My body is my logo», a quotation from Framandkar.

I’ve worked on translating a lot of my poems the past few days and realize that I should have done it a long time ago. As you may have discovered; I don’t write english flawlessly… I’m doing my best. Hopefully someone will see the need to make better translations and publish some of it in english. And actually, I’m doing better at the translations than I thought I’d do originally.

Les videre

Caring about this moment

Jacky and Ryan writes about how it shouldn’t matter if being queer or trans is a choice. And I agree. His bottom line is this:

I’m not that concerned about the WHY of things. I am more concerned with my life as it is right now.
Why I’m trans doesn’t matter. Whether or not its a product of nature, or nurture, or just a particularly convincing delusion I am under, it really doesn’t matter.
My choice is all that matters.

There’s nothing wrong with being queer… so why does it matter if I choose this path?

We choose to act or not to act. I’m not concerned either about the why. It also reminds me of something the psychiatrist at the GID-clinic said. They were not convinced that my gender identity will stay male. I am convinced, of course, but that doesn’t matter to them. And who can predict anything about the future with certainty? Me neither.

But if I choose to change my body to make it look more male, I know that will feel better than to have a female body. I never wanted a female body, I just accepted it as my destiny for far too long. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever want that body back, but if so, I should be mature enough to take responsibility for my own actions. Judging from my experiences, that won’t be a problem. Feelings of regret are almost non-existant in my life so far. Not because I’ve always taken the best decisions, but because I’m able to see that I didn’t have the means to handle the situation  better at the time. I intend to keep it that way.

What I care about is making the best possible decisions today so that I can have a better life in the future. And, yes, it should be mine to make.

How to Respect a Transgender Person

I don’t think this should be necessary. Basically it just explains that common sense also applies to interacting with transgender people. But it seems that especially journalists have a hard time with social rules, so I’ll post it anyway.

Please, do not try to print any of my former names! And I’m getting sick of being asked about that. Some time in the future, when everyone can see that those names don’t fit, I’ll tell everyone without hesitating, but for now, I don’t feel comfortable with even hearing them, and really ain’t able to get them over my lips.

Thank you!

How to Respect a Transgender Person

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

If you have recently learned of a transgender person in your life, you might not understand their identity and you may be unsure of how to act around them without offending or hurting their feelings. The term «transgender person» in this article means a person who does not fully identify with the gender they were assigned with at birth. There are transgender people all over the world (e.g. US, Mexico,[1] India[2]) and in a wide variety of cultures (e.g. Native American,[3] Thai[4]). For such people, it is not always easy to explain their gender situation in today’s society. Here’s how to understand and respect someone who challenges your ideas about gender, and who does not easily fall within the category of «male» or «female».

Les videre

Femininity/masculinity

I really thought I was going to be a feminine man. After all, I enjoy looking good, nice clothes, identify as queer and I’ve always been attracted to feminine men. It turns out I might be quite regular. And it bothers me.

Les videre

Transrevolution?

The week or so before I told my best friend about my transition, we discussed the film Transamerica. This was back in the spring of 2006, when it was released. He said that he thought that the next fight for human rights in the western world would be about gender and transpeople.

Yesterday, the swedish newspaper SvD published an article about public awareness of trans-issues. It lists a growing number of public performances by transgender and transsexual people. Thanks to Trollhare, who directed me to it!

–Transfrågor och kulturen syns mer i medierna nu för tiden för att det är sensationellt och en av de sista gränserna som finns kvar att bryta, säger amerikanska transförfattaren T Cooper som skrivit boken Lipshitz six, or two angry blondes och var gästredaktör för Outs historiska transnummer.

Jens Rydström, center for gender-studies at the University of Lund, Sweden, offer several explanations to why transpeople are more visible in the media: The internet allowing people to play with gander in new ways, the end of the cold war and it’s segregation of the world in several domains, and most important; the vacuum left by the women’s movement and gay movement of the 1970s. Rydström goes on to underline the positive aspects of transpeople being more visible in media and hopes it is a sign of increasing equality and diversity for everyone:

–Om det är någon minoritet som fortfarande utsätts för diskriminering och trakasserier så är det transpersoner. Det här kan hjälpa till att avdramatisera könstillhörighet och jag hoppas det är ett tecken på ökad jämställdhet, mångfald och likvärdighet för alla.

Jonah Nylund, photo Lars Pehrson

Today I’m pleased to see an interview with Jonah Nylund, who I met at the conference in Poland earlier this year, titled  «Pride general with a capital T» (my translation). Jonah is the new major of Stockholm Pride, Europride this year. He openly identifies as transgender (transsexual FTM) and gay.

It makes me wonder if it’s possible to have a transsexual as the head of anything GLBT in Norway. It would cause a big fight with the «national asociation of transsexuals» (LFTS). They actually recent labelling themselves as anything other than men or women and have previously tried to impose a great divide between «trangsender» and «transsexual». At the moment, the National Asociation of Lesbian and Gay Liberation (LLH) tries to respect LFTS, but it’s getting harder as the awareness of trans-issues rises within LLH.

At the moment there would only be room for a transsexual as head of anything this big LGBT-wise if the person consequently refused to talk about being transsexual. I hope to attend Europride in Stockholm to talk about my book and how it’s been to meet the media as a open transsexual, and to arrange a course in creative autobiographical writing for transpeople (in cooperation with KIM).

I participated last year and loved it, so I hope I’ll be able to do it this year too. The parade was the largest in Stockholm ever, and will probably be even larger this year!

Gendertrouble, lesbians and relationships

After reading Cheerful Megalomaniac’s post on lesbian (ex-)partners of transmen, I’m very happy that I’ve not had to deal with lesbians in that way. As mentioned before, I have a theory that it’s harder for women to accept transsexualism. And after reading the above mentioned post it seems like lesbians have an especially hard time with this.

You don’t find yourself a boyfriend, and then insist on seing him as a woman. That’s not how the world works, sorry girls. It is of course a bit complicated if you’re already in a relationship, but as Ryan writes ” No one should ever control someone elses coming out process”.

I’ve often felt happy that I was single while sorting things out and coming out of my “double closet”. To tell you the truth, I’m often happy that I’m still single. That might change once I start taking testosterone…

Trans in the media

Yesterday was a crazy day. I started on TV early in the morning and was mostly busy with interviews all day. I even got to talk some of my book, the reason why I do this media-thing in the first place. Norway is a small country and trans-issues are not very well known, so I’ve done a lot of educating. I’m not afraid to talk about myself, and some transsexuals find that intimidating. I’ve been told to shut up because I’m not representative for the whole trans-community, especially in terms of being gay. That makes me really angry, bacause it was one of the reasons I didn’t come to terms with my identity earlier. I haven’t heard from any of them this time, but I know where to go to get my head chopped off. I’ll just give it some time.

It’s exhausting to answer questions about myself all day, but I’ve got to meet many nice journalists and got some very positive comments from strangers irl and online. It feels good. And I do think what I do will benefit others in the long run.

Some things puzzle me a bit about how the media like to portray transsexuals. Why is it so important to print my old name? It doesn’t reveal anything about me, really. And very few people knew me by my intermediate female name and not by my male name. I’m happy that no one has tried to print my given name, bacause that would be a link to the past with a lot more consequences.

I try to make my gender-experiences less freakish by linking them to common human experiences, but it seems like the media don’t like that. I guess they would like to portray me as a freak. It doesn’t bother me all that much, because I think they’ll have a hard time to accomplish it. I honestly don’t think people see me as a freak, not in person anyway. And that is what matters.

Norway is a small country, in good and bad. I recently read Gender Outlaw’s post about transmen in the media, and how it makes him frightened of hate-crimes against transgender men, including questioning his own safety. I’m convinced that this is almost non-existent in Norway. I feel free to speak, free to be visible and free to talk to the media without facing the terror of hate and violence. It’s a real privelege! I wish everyone could have the same freedom of speach as I do! And feel safe.

(I’ve posted links to the interviews on my norwegian blog, but wasn’t sure if anyone not speaking norwegian would be interested.)

God makes no mistakes – kind of a sermon

I usually avoid reading stuff that I know I’ll find repulsive, sick and frightening. I don’t think that’s unusual for any person. To make this post I felt forced to do some research.

I started out googleing the phrase «God makes no mistakes», because I’ve come across it several times in relation to transsexualism. I had the notion that it’s being used as an excuse for christians to judge transgender people.This is some of what I found: (WARNING: Do not click those links unless you are over the age of 18 and have access to valium or other sedatives)

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/february/26.56.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/february/25.54.html

“If you talk to your typical person across America, they would be appalled,” she said. “God made us male and female, and God makes no mistakes. To teach a child at an early age self-hatred, and that’s what this gender variance is, is very sad.” Andrea Lafferty, executive director of The Traditional Values CoalitionIn short, the argument is that transsexualism should not be cured, because it’s against God’s will. He supposedly created the body, but not the mind and soul. And these people don’t seem to care if the only other option is to kill oneself, although I thought that to be against God’s will as well?

Of course, there’s several problem with such an argument, the inhumanity already mentioned. Does God only create our bodies and not our minds and souls? Is He stuck in the middle ages or in the year his son was born on earth? Is He really evil?

I’ve never questioned God’s existance. I’ve been brought up in the Norwegian church with the notion that God loves everybody, that He is pure love and that He has not left us to our selves. And I’ve kept that conviction through some pretty dark years of my life. I did at some point question if He really is good. With all the people doing evil in His name, I have wondered if they might be right; maybe God really is evil. But they never managed to convince me.

I believe in a God who is pure love, a God who made the human race in His image to reflect His own magnitude and diversity, a God who knows so much more than we do – everything. We have no way of knowing for sure how He thinks.

To put oneself in a position to judge the moral and christianity of other humans and to think oneself able to lable other people’s faith as wrong, is to put oneself in the position of God. Jesus told us to recognize wrong teaching for it’s fruits. What would he make of the trace of suicides and grief that follow in the trace of so-called conservative christians?

God sent His son Jesus Christ to our earth to re-establish the broken link between us and God. The conservatives try to push people away from God because of who we are and who we love. For their own sake, I hope and pray that they have no idea of what they are doing and may be forgiven when they realize what they are doing.

I’ve listened to so many people struggeling with their faith in God after being told that God only loves the heterosexual or the single-sexed. They experience every day how «fellow christians» try to exclude them from the love of God and manage to take away their ability to experience christian fellowship. I can’t see how this could possibly be in line with the Bible or the word of Jesus.

And what about the Holy Spirit? I believe in it’s guidance in every person’s life. The Bible is after all written by men, who we can only hope were guided by the Holy Spirit. God has not abandoned His creation and continues to create through people guided by the Holy Spirit.

Conservative «christians» seem to put themselves in the position of God and to reduce God to make Him resemble themselves. They claim to believe in a God they cannot see, but reduces people to bodies and biology. In their trace grows only death and despair. To me, this comes very, very close to blasphemy.

Let’s go back to the phrase that God makes no mistakes. No, I don’t think He does. I’m certainly not a mistake. So my body and mind/soul got a little mixed up and does not fit our present notion of only two sexes/genders, and that these doesn’t change with time. I don’t blame God. If there’s one thing He could not be held responsible for, it’s how we arrange our societies. I also believe that I’m placed in this position because I have a mission: To spread the word of a loving, accepting God and to speak up for a powerless group so that His will can be done on earth as in heaven. I do not say that this goes for all transsexuals and trangendered out there. I do recognize that not everyone believe in God or that He has a plan for their lives. I also know that I have more resources than most in so many ways, and I believe they are given to me so that I can help others. And I will do my best, so help me God.

(Although I’ve used the pronomen «he» about God, I believe Him to be above the two-gender system of our world. As a female to male transsexual, I do prefer the male pronomen in an attempt to set up some positive models of masculinity.)

My story in short

My transition from female to male started whith the realization that I’ve never been a woman. I’ve known that for many years without letting anyone know, and without realizing what it really meant for me to be «not a woman».

Two-three years ago i accepted that I am indeed a man. That makes me a transsexual man. I’ve never been a normal woman, and I’m not going to be a normal man. I’ve always needed to write and I like to stand out from the crowd.

The last one and a half year I’ve been to councelling at the «Gender Identity Disorder»-clinic to prove that I really am a man, so that they can give med the diagnose «transsexualism» and give me testosterone and surgery. I’m now awaiting my approval as a man, aka the diagnose.

To be continued…