Author Topic: OpEd V2.0  (Read 813 times)

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OpEd V2.0
« on: November 25, 2007, 04:35:17 pm »
Coments? (Please hurry, I have a deadline approaching.)

Vacaville OpEd

By Karen Savage

It’s very difficult to explain transsexuality to those who do not experience it for themselves.  There is definitely an ‘ew-w-w-w’ factor that some experience when contemplating one who has a body of one sex, but a brain of the opposite gender.  Also the ‘sexual’ in transsexual seems to cause many people to fixate on the prurient aspects of the transgender phenomenon.  I prefer the more neutral term ‘transgender’, thank you.

I can’t begin to address all the mis- and dis-information out there in less than 1000 words.  I can only try to shed a little light on a small part of the larger debate, and talk about the need for SB 777.

In the interest of journalistic integrity, I’m a transwoman.  I’ve followed the medical protocols, and have been given the diagnoses, certifications and recommendations that allow me to express my true female gender.  My inner life is much calmer, now that I’m not hiding my true self and faking masculinity to avoid bullying, harassment and discrimination.

The harassment began in grade school if not before that.  Although I nominally presented as male, my innate behaviours attracted the attention of bullies – lots of bullies.  It was as if I had an all-but-invisible ‘scarlet letter affixed to me that they cold see.

Sadly, there are those who believe that this bullying is a natural, normal behaviour:

“I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex - but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings. 

On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.

It is a mistake for various interfering, ignorant and biased busybodies to try to ‘counsel’ the other children into accepting the abnormal. It is very healthy to be able to draw the line between what is healthy and what is sick.”

--Joseph Berger, NARTH Scientific Advisory Member

My step-father, a truckdriver from Georgia, set himself the goal of making sure I didn’t grow up to be a {homosexual}.  He would have endorsed Mr. Berger’s suggestion had it come out in 1967.  I did learn to fight.  And hide my innate femaleness.  And hate myself.  And feel that I was sick.  And ask God why I kept having these thoughts in my head.

<transgender> is a natural but rare variation in the human potential.  <transgender people> are aware of their differentness at an early age.  I certainly knew well before age 11 that I wished I had been born a girl.

There are studies showing there is indeed a difference between male and female brains.  Please GOOGLE [human brain sex difference] and [human brain sex difference transgender] to find some of the studies.  In summary, it is generally agreed in the scientific community that there are direct biological causes for transsexuality, and the traits and tendencies are present from birth.

I’m retired from the army.  Counter-intuitively, many <transgender people> attempt to reinforce assert masculinity by joining the military.  Many transwomen are decorated combat veterans.  GOOGLE [Diane Schroer], and read about how this Airborn Ranger qualified Special Forces veteran was hired as the senior terrorism research analyst at the Library of Congress, but the offer was rescinded less than 24 hours later because she is transgender.

And I’m one of four transwomen from my old major command.  Two I knew personally, and with the third, we know so many people in common that we’re both amazed that we never met while on active duty.

I’m at the point where I can’t be mistaken for male unless someone who knows ‘drops the bomb’ on someone who doesn’t yet know.

The medically-supervised transformation is guided by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of care (GOOGLE [WPATH Standards Of Care]). 

The first step is psychotherapy, to determine that the subject is transgender and has no other conditions that would indicate unreadiness to transition.  After a minimum of 3 months of counseling, the counselor can approve the start of hormone therapy if he or she feels the subject is ready.  Taking female hormones has the effect of shutting off any male physical and mental characteristics that may be brought on by testosterone, and replacing them with female characteristics.  Of special note, male libido is greatly reduced or eliminated.

When the counselor feels the subject is ready (but at least 6 months after the start of counseling,) the transitioner may start the Real Life Experience (RLE,) living 24/7 as the target gender for an entire year.  Only after the RLE will the transitioner be eligible to receive certification from a psychologist and another mental health professional, and can seek Gender Reassignment Surgery.

The process takes a minimum of 18 months, and typically 3 years.

I have completed almost all of the above, and am merely waiting for my surgery date.

But for the past year of my RLT I have used the female restroom, because it is appropriate to both my inner gender and my exterior gender presentation.  It would be as unsafe for me to use the male restroom as it would be for any woman to attempt that.

I know transwomen who, while waiting for their surgery date, used the changing facilities at public and private fitness centers – but only after making sure the facilities offered private changing and showering areas, such as curtained cubicles with showers.

I’ve only touched upon several aspects of the transgender condition that seem relevant to SB 777.  Let me summarize.

-Transgender are so from birth.  Trying to make them not so is damaging and futile.

-Transgender are not freaks, but ordinary people with an extraordinary gift, or curse.

-Transgender students need the protections in SB 777 to be free from harassment, and to prevent denial of access to facilities appropriate to their gender presentation.