Archive for the ‘hormones’ Category
So yesterday, the Bush administration yesterday granted sweeping new protections to health workers who refuse to provide care that violates their personal beliefs. Jill at Feministe has pointed out that while this undoubtedly chiefly aimed at women’s reproductive freedoms, this is actually not about abortion–which depressingly already has this exception–but easy access to contraception.
One point I want to make about that, which I’ve stolen from Lee Edelman’s No Future, is that America is being organised around the figure of The Child. Not actual children, let alone the adults those children grow into, but a rhetorical child who must be protected at all costs–from the corrupting influence of gay marriages, porn on the internet etc and who must always be allowed to exist.
The rights of the Child, who is figured as a full person and not as a body of cells or ffs an egg and a sperm, supercedes the rights of adult women to have control over their bodies. Never mind that people (and I want to make the point that it’s not just women, eg some trans men use birth control too. Seriously, pay attention cis feminists and stop making the normative assumption that reproductive health equals het cis woman) use the pill primarily for other health reasons–to regulate their periods, to moderate PMS and PMDD etc etc. And needless to say, The Child does not grow up to be queer, or trans, or sexually active outside the sanctity of marriage. And The Child is clearly normatively white.
But whilst it is clearly aimed at heterosexual cis women, it will have a massive impact on other groups–especially trans men and women.
From the Washington Post:
“The far-reaching regulation cuts off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, health plan, clinic or other entity that does not accommodate doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other employees who refuse to participate in care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable.”
Ok, let that sink in a bit. Care they find ethically, morally or religiously objectionable. Now, where is that going to leave trans people? Sex workers? People they think are drug users (a highly racialized image after all)? People with disabilities?
Like queerness, being trans has been framed by many on the Religious Right as a moral issue. To be trans is to be, by definition, immoral. By situating health care as a “conscience” issue, this law allows transphobic health care workers–not just doctors, but pharmacists, emergency medics etc etc–full license to indulge their bigotry and to not treat us. So, even if you can get through the knife lined obstacle course that is the gatekeeper process and get through to a hormone prescription, the bloody pharmacist might not even give them to you.
We all know health care for trans people is already shitty, let alone giving health care providers carte blanche to treat us worse. Remember Tyra Hunter, who died because firefighters decided not to perform emergency resuscitation on her when they discovered she was trans, and then a doctor at Washington General decided not to treat her. Because she was trans, because she was a woman of color, because she was not a person, she was an “it.” And, because some people consider that our existence is immoral and must be squashed out.
This is a nightmare of a ruling that potentially allows any person in the health-care business to rule that treating trans people goes against their conscience, and when something serious is occuring, you don’t have the time to shop around for someone who will treat you.
And the intersection between transness and race here will be even more deadly. Medicine has a long history of being used against people of color in the US, and this gives health care people legal protections to further that. As Kristin “the mean one on Feministe” just said to me, making the horrid implications of this explicitly clear:
“I didn’t quite make the connection as to why doctors would want to refuse anyone treatment in the context of a miscarriage at first. It just clicked. Why would they want to do that other than to refuse treatment to people they judge to be the “cause” of the miscarriage? You know, people like, say, possible drug users. Or people otherwise marked as “unworthy” of care. Say, homeless people, immigrants… Fuck. I mean, why else would anyone demand that kind of “right”? Fuck fuck fuck… I think this is going to be even more evil in practice than it looks on the surface. If that kind of “protection” becomes a fucking protocol, oh my god… If this becomes widespread… Organized against a specific group, that’s genocidal.”
So, puberty blockers have for awhile been the next frontier of trans medical treatments. With children involved–children who could be potentially cis and saved from the fate-worse-than-death that being trans is for some people–it’s a button pushing topic.
Anyway, the Endocrine Society has just published a report that’s gotten a bit of press that recommends puberty blockers for 12 and 13 year olds diagnosed with GID. Cos I’m lazy and have had a headache for a very long time, I’m going to work off the horribly-titled New Scientist article summary which has a couple choice quotes:
“The hope is that by delaying puberty, young teens will be given valuable thinking time in which they can decide if they are sure they want to begin gender reassignment using cross-sex hormones at the age of 16. Ultimately, this strategy would also make it easier for them to live in their chosen gender.”
Ok, so far so good. The voice of gatekeeper conservatism appears to put a damper on things:
“‘The real question is: if you intervene early in a young person who would otherwise change [their mind], do you reinforce their gender identity disorder? Do you remove the chance for change?’ says Russell Viner of the Institute of Child Health in London.”
Oh noes! Zomgtrannieslulz! Fate worse than death etc. God I hate how gatekeeper protocols always keep first and foremost the possibility of accepting your assigned gender as the BEST possible outcome. More:
“There is also the issue of fertility. Blocking puberty in boys before mature sperm have had the chance to develop removes the option of freezing sperm in case they later decide they want to start a family after going ahead with gender-reassignment surgery.
‘We recently had the case in the US of a transsexual man who chose to become pregnant, and that may not have been possible if they had had early intervention,’ says Viner. ‘When is it reasonable to let a young person remove major life choices?’”
Ah, finally, some classic double binds. Cos as we saw in my last post, trans people’s fertility is used to deny us access to reassigned gender documents and indeed full citizenship in a very real way, but hey, here’s it’s used as a way to prevent medical treatment. And not even hormones, but just something to prevent the damage that growing up in the wrong sex does to our bodies. Genius.
Anyway, the rest of the article’s pretty decent, and the actual news is good, so I have exhausted my snark. Heh.