Sunday, 20 January 2008

Solidarity is strength…

Those of you that read my blogs regularly will know I have huge issues with the term transgender. I try to insist on transgender & transsexual both being used to emphasise the difference between those who want their brain and anatomical sex made congruent and reject the concept of a third gender and those who cross dress on an occasional basis to satisfy their transvestic fetishism.

I accept some people are confused as regards their sexual orientation due to their cross dressing but it doesn’t justify grouping them with transsexual people who know that their brain sex is different to their anatomy and that seek medical intervention to permanently transition to their correct sex & gender.

I support the adoption of Harry Benjamin Syndrome to make a clear differentiation between the groups.

Today an article was printed in The Guardian that illustrates the misuse of language and definitions.

Here’s an extract:

Transgender people identify their gender as different to their physical sex at birth. Transgenderism, or gender dysphoria, a recognised medical condition, involves discomfort with one's physical body and a wish to undergo gender reassignment or transition - in other words, to live as a member of the gender with which one identifies. This may involve a name change, hormone therapy and surgery.

That would be OK if it transsexual not transgender.

From the same article this amused me:

How employers can help


· Ensure your policies and practices meet current legislation
· Change the person's name on the intranet, phone directory and all records - historical and current
· Discuss what time off will be required for treatment and/or possible side effects from any medication
· Ask whether the employee wishes to inform line managers, colleagues and customers themselves, or would prefer this to be done for them
· Discuss whether training or briefing will be necessary and when and by whom this will be carried out

· Ask the person to use the disabled toilet while they're transitioning - they should use the toilet of the gender they are transitioning to
· Tell new employees that someone "used to be a man/woman" - respect confidentiality

Let’s see of those 7 my employer scores 1 and that was only because there was no disabled toilet!

Now that neatly leads me onto a major dilemma I’ve had to resolve. I want to ensure that no one in my Union suffers the abuse & discrimination I did from a prejudiced employer.

The snag is the route is via LBGT. I think this is a mistake, as sexual orientation has nothing at all to do with being a transsexual person as being Lesbian, Bisexual or Gay doesn't define the condition. The T stands for Transgender and no one seems to see the core issue that LBG people are not considered mentally ill but T people are.

I’ve had an invite to the next Union LBGT forum and as I submitted a suggested rewrite of their Transgender Factsheet I will attend as my concern that the treatment from my employer would have driven a less strong transsexual person to suicide and that it must never happen again overrides my reservations.

At the end of the day solidarity is strength and whilst LBGT is a weird grouping their support helps my case and my knowledge & experiences will contribute to LBGT being of greater assistance to transsexual members of my Union.

This is link for the Guardian Article:

This sort of sums up the Union Dilemma:

My union is Unite seems an appropriate name now…

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