From Amsterdam To Reality454 views
The Legal and the Medical; to some, these are two different domains, but to a transperson in Lebanon, these are twins that always go together.
As some may know, in the ICD (International Classification of Diseases), gender identity is classified under section “F” which is for the “Mental and Behavioral Disorders,” and that, throughout history, has led to the pathologization of transpeople. In other words, we are seen as mentally ill, abnormal people who need psychiatric supervision and hormonal replacement “therapy,” because our situation is causing us dysphoria and the only way to overcome the low self-esteem and the self-hate is to be diagnosed for having “gender identity disorder” and start the whole process of transitioning.
A conference was held recently in the Netherlands to work on a proposal to be submitted to the ICD committee in order to remove gender identity from the “F” section. Trans activists and people working on gender-related issues from all over the world -India, Thailand, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina and many others- met to finalize the proposal.
It was hard for my queer mind to deal with this heteronormative medical model. To me, why do we even exist in ICD? We are human, we are free to decide what we want to do with our bodies. Just because we refuse the binary system that was put for us, and according to which we were classified as an abnormality, we need medical supervision as if we are incapable of making our own decision.
The model speaks clearly that we have to choose one of the two boxes, no middle ground is accepted, our gender cannot be fluid, we cannot identify as nothing or as something else, and we must fit in one definite gender or else we can’t go through any process of body modification.
Transsexuality is considered a disorder, so is cross-dressing, even kids who identify as having a gender different from their biological sex, who are not yet familiar with this system and who don’t even know why only boys should play with guns and girls with Barby dolls, are classified as mentally troubled under this model.
I was having a self conflict: on one hand, I am queer and I cannot sell out my principles when talking about personal freedom, but on the other hand, I cannot be selfish. I can survive with my self-identification being considered a mental disorder because I’m the only one who can identify me; I decide who I am, but to others, this diagnosis is a must, it’s their immunity against horrible violation of human rights. Yes my friend, transpeople win immunity when they are considered ill, they are allowed to start their process simply because they have “gender identity disorder” written on a piece of paper. In some countries like Kuwait, transpeople are arrested, taken to jail and have to appear in court, and their only bailing pass is this freakin’ piece of paper.
At the conference, I was told: “But I am sure that immunity will be provided under human rights’ laws…” Well, my friend, it is easy to speak from your own comfort zone… What human rights are applied in a country governed by a religious patriarchal system? Which human rights are we talking about when there is no value for humanity unless you have a pocket full of credit cards?
Besides, even when you are promoting human rights in the so-called “advanced” countries, let’s not forget the high percentage of hate crimes in places like Texas, Arizona and Virginia in the USA.
While you’re talking to me about benefiting from health services, I am talking to you about people who have no health coverage or health insurance, people whose only concern is not to get arrested and to be left alone. Bear in mind that about 95% of the world’s population do not live in your country, and things are different for every region, country, culture, background and this should be taken in consideration whenever a decision has to be made… The world does not revolve around you and your needs.
Yes I am saying these things, because as queer I am not far from this reality; I want what is best for everyone and so do many of the attendees at the conference.
Therefore, everyone there clarified specifically what is the best for their countries and their communities regarding whatever proposal should be written and concluded, hoping that in the next ICD reunion, we will find an alternative so we can remove the gender identification from being classified as a disease.