I was forced to shorten the title from my original LiveJournal post, but only just. Thanks, DeviantArt for allowing such little room for subjects.]
Lately, I've been experiencing some intense emotional and mental stress related problems that could partially explain my prolonged ''absence'' from here that found me seeking therapy for the first time in a long while (I quote 'absence' because while I have been logging in every once in awhile to clear away notifications and read through entries, neither have I been speaking much to anyone these days due to personal affairs nor have I been posting publicly so my lurking has been quite invisible; it's nothing personal, honestly but who knows how long this will last at this point?). While I don't want to get into extreme details, I spent the large part of my afternoon today/yesterday (4 March) in one of these ''therapy retreats.'' While filling out the dreadful paperwork that comes along with medical baggage, one of the check boxes didn't sit right with me. It was the first time I've ever encountered doctors asking for information in regards to sexual orientation and in many ways, I'm not even certain why this information is needed. Nevertheless, the options were:
- Info not available
Now, what's immediately wrong with one of these options?
If it wasn't already clear by the subject title, transgender/transsexual identity is NOT the same thing as sexuality, holy fuck! The doctors that conjured up this file need to get their facts straight, bless my holy shit.
While I've said this before and I'll say it again for the umpteenth time: The sex
we are assigned at birth by doctors in this kind of gender constructed society we live by based on whether we have what looks to be a penis, a vagina or ambiguous genitalia (which is often times wrongly corrected without receiving consent from the child) is separate from our gender
, the way we identify ourselves that exists within our minds, not our genitals and both are separate from our sexual orientations
. All of these things, we are born with; they are not choices contrary to some certain myths floating around. Meaning, anyone can be any combination of sex, gender and sexuality. They are too numerous to have them all listed here, obviously. And yet, these dumb fucks place transsexual
, a gender identity
under the category sexual orientation
For the longest time about from 50's psychiatry to the 90's, transsexualism was confused as being an equivalent of cross-dressing or ''transvestitism'' (look it up; they're not remotely the same), mostly among ''males who dress in women's clothing'' as a ''desire to be the opposite sex'' or ''receive sexual gratification'' through ''fetishistic intentions,'' therefore transsexualism and cross-dressing were considered to be a ''sexual paraphilia'' or a ''sexual deviation'' of some sort. In this sense, doctors once upon a time could have incorrectly considered a person who identifies as transsexual or a person who cross dresses as ''suffering'' from a ''disordered'' sexual orientation or behaviour similar to how homosexuality was viewed. Well, all of this is terribly wrong from a modern viewpoint. Unfortunately, there are many times where both transsexualism and cross-dressing is still considered, from an outdated perspective, as a ''sexual and/or gender disorder.''
Moving on, there is also a marginal difference between someone who is transgender and someone who is transsexual.
As quoted from Diffen
since I can't word it better myself:
An umbrella term that refers to those with identities that cross over, move between, or otherwise challenge the socially constructed border between the genders. While this can include medical or social transition, it may not.
While transsexual is:
A term referring to a person who does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth and wishes, whether successful or not, to realign their gender and their sex through use of medical intervention.
Like anyone with half a brain could determine, being transgender and/or transsexual is completely related to gender, not sexuality. Like cis people, non-binary, non-gender conforming people can be any sort of sexual orientation under the sun because it is completely irrelevant to their assigned sex and gender identity.
Therefore transgender/transsexual people can be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, etc.
Meaning, for whatever transgender and/or transsexual person that comes across this idiotic doctor's office document I had to fill out will be at a complete loss. I, for one, was sure as hell stumped.
Most of those who I have been writing to for six years or less now are aware that I identify as both asexual (a sexual identity where I find myself emotionally attracted to girls yet not desiring sex with them) and gender non-conforming. (Speaking of my sexuality, this is not to say all asexual people are like me since I only speak for my own experiences. I recommend a great myth-busting article
that was originally shared by logospilgrim
who is also asexual. Thanks, love.)
From the time I was about 18 or 19 or so, I finally discovered that my inner feelings towards both my sexuality and gender identity that I had started to become more aware of by the time I was 10 (where I went through what others around me called my ''tomboy phase,'' need I not pull out those awkward, ugly photographs to prove it, yet it wasn't a phase at all since it never truly went away) were not products of a ''disorder'' but that they were natural, they had names and that I was not alone in my self-discovery and confusion.
Aged 8-years-old, Grade 2/Year 3, 2001-02, two years before my ''tomboy phase'' where I matured and grew ugly. What happened?Self, 21 Feb. 2014, 4 months before I cut my hair.
Up until last spring, I openly identified as genderqueer, meaning I identified as neither male nor female or alternatively as both and preferred the gender neutral pronoun of ''they'' given I still wasn't quite sure about my gender identity even as I was hitting my 20's. Of course, this wasn't a phase and now at 21, how could it be? Adults don't experience phases like teenagers do. Lately however, I've been feeling even more conflicted towards identifying as genderqueer and (while I was waiting to ''reveal'' this through a much more concise, clearly composed journal entry to post here on LiveJournal and to DeviantArt which I have been drafting since last summer, that old draft is just too damn all over the place so, in the time being, here goes) I have since been slowly realising that I may actually be FTM transgender, which I have been casually mentioning to people whenever the topic of gender is brought up.
Without getting into explicit details, I went through some drastic changes this past year during the spring and summer of 2014: preferring the gender pronouns of only ''he'' or ''they'' if remembering ''he'' is too difficult for others (and it usually is; two acquaintances who have known me for two to three years still incorrectly call me ''she'' no matter how many times I've told them not to); cutting my hair for the first time since I was 10 (which was super relieving; I'm definitely keeping it!); ordering my first ''safe'' breast binder (which I love!) opposed to the ace bandage I had been using up until I realised how dangerous this method is (for other non-binary people, please don't be stupid like me; if you find that a breast binder is not readily available to you, wearing two sports bras is a much better option to the bandage which can ruin your health like a Victorian corset); and above anything else, I have been extensively researching options for hormone replacement therapy, something I am considering doing by the time I'm at least 30 if not later. Not in the least, I plan to legally change my first name from Katherine or ''Kat'' (which I don't feel entitled to; Kat J./valkyrie-kat
is the only real
Kat around here) to Ezra once I graduate from university.
Self, 22 Nov. 2014
While genderqueer people are very diverse in their individual identities and can sometimes receive physical modification through hormones and surgery, being FTM transgender is merely something I've realised for myself. By the time I'm at least 35 or 50, I can clearly see myself living as a man with a vagina on hormones and for health reasons, with a double mastectomy, chest contouring and a hysterectomy done (I say ''for health reasons'' because HRT can put one at risk for developing breast and uterine cancer, unfortunately). The possibility of sex reassignment surgery through a metoidioplasty or a phalloplasty is not something I really want to think about right now and may skip this procedure altogether for personal and financial reasons. (Sometimes, this is incorrectly referred to as gender reassignment surgery which makes absolutely no sense; people who go through SRS are reassigning their sex
, those pretty parts in-between one's legs, not gender
, the internal sense of identity of being a boy/man, girl/woman, both, neither or other.)
While I told only two people about this so far, Kat/valkyrie-kat
(you guys know who you are), this past summer of 2014, I had to undergo disability resource testing in the education centre for my university after failing one of my prereq courses (despite testing at a high IQ being an Aspie and whatnot which I won't boast about because it means nothing to me—as long as I live on this planet, I eat, sleep, piss and shit just like everyone else—this is not to say I don't have cognitive disabilities pertaining to other things, a lot of which includes just basic social and life skills; ah, the perks having autism). And while I was only there to diagnose my learning disability in a certain subject I will not name, I nevertheless had to go through a general psychology undertaking as part of the department's psychology and psychiatry research programme. Over the course of several weeks, briefly, I discussed gender with this psychologist and confidentially (meaning this information didn't leave the evaluation room and was not related to my mother), she diagnosed me with ''gender dysphoria'' or ''gender identity disorder,'' a psychiatric label which I never agreed with since how can an identity be a disorder? Now, I do have an anxiety disorder that does mess up with my ability to function, but I do not see my gender problems as being related to having a mental illness.
I do get depressed and anxious sometimes, yes (and these feelings aren't always related to my gender since, like I said, I do have a mental health problem to deal with) but I do not feel this way because of my gender identity
. I feel this way sometimes because of society
, how being openly transgender is a daily struggle. I do not feel disordered in any way when it comes to my identity; rather I feel society is disordered
. One only has to look at the cases of Brandon Teena, Liz Eden and most recently the suicides of Leelah Alcorn
and Zander Mahaffey
to understand the kind of severe lack of understanding and hatred we may face once we ''come out.'' GID is commonly diagnosed in people when they report or express feelings of emotional stress or discontent with their sex and gender, which heavily implies there is something wrong with the person
and not society
that socially constructs gender binaries to begin with.
As quoted from Wikipedia
as cited from Newman 352-9, 2002
and Fraser et. al. 80-5, 2010
Many transgender people and researchers support declassification of GID because they say the diagnosis pathologizes gender variance, reinforces the binary model of gender, and can result in stigmatization of transgender individuals. The official classification of gender dysphoria as a disorder in the DSM-5 may help resolve some of these issues, because the term gender dysphoria applies only to the discontent experienced by some persons resulting from gender identity issues.
By that same logic then, my sexual orientation of asexuality would be considered ''hypoactive sexual desire disorder'' in the psychiatric field, a diagnosis that should be removed altogether along with GID given it too has come under similar criticisms.
Now, going back to that doctor paperwork...
As obvious as this may be, I needed therapy for an unrelated problem that has no significance to my gender. I have a certain anxiety disorder that has been present for some time but has gotten intensely out of control in the last two weeks. At this point in time, I have not yet ''come out'' to my mother, who accompanied me today, about my gender even though I have tried, and failed, in the past. Neither have I told her about my asexuality, although when the time does come for that, I am significantly less worried. I told her about my cousin, her niece ''coming out'' to me as being pansexual and she was totally accepting of it (previously, she had thought she was bisexual
, and being 17, she has all the time in the world to discover her identity; others shouldn't take this to mean that she changed
her sexuality but merely, she came to a different realisation like I have with my gender).Edit (10 March 2015):
For whatever reason, gender is much more difficult to ''come out'' about given the lack of understanding of what gender actually is in society and the fact that it's far more visible than sexuality. By contrast, sexuality is usually very invisible. Unlike gender, you can't determine someone's sexuality just by looking at them. Though this isn't to say that people who are a sexual orientation other than straight don't experience discrimination and hate crimes. We all know this isn't true. Because sexuality isn't completely invisible; it's usually just less visible than gender.
Given that not only was my mother with me who has no knowledge of my identity but because the inclusion of transsexual as a sexual orientation and not a gender identity made absolutely no fucking sense to me whatsoever, what was I forced to check off? Only the next best option to all of this bull: ''Info not available.''