Some thoughts on a previous dialogue. This is a gentle reminder that trans people have reasons to raise concerns and, if not concerns, at least some questions. Some of us continue to read about how the law erases who we are and how complacency contributes to the marginalized group at an alarming rate. Celebrating a marker without considering points raised by trans people is participating in silencing our voices when we raise concerns.
Will they serve the transgender population well? What about the gender queers? How will cishets and cisgays know the differences in determining how to move forward in treatments, asking questions, and simply having the dialogue? Does it matter to differentiate? Should a medical form encompass more than just the umbrella term transgender? Some of us think it should. For instance, in a medical form, the term transgender could also accompany a series of questions to seek clarification and help codify and classify for actuarial studies. This makes a tremendous difference in a number of ways. Let’s look at ways this could foster dialogue among practitioners to serve the transgender population better.
Are you MtF? Are you FtM? Are you in transition? Are you female but identify as male? Are you male but identify as female? Are you gender fluid and MtF? Are you gender fluid and FtM? Are you straight? Are you gay? Are you a lesbian? Are you bisexual? Are you pansexual? Are you asexual? Are you intersex? Are you aromantic?
By what pronoun do you prefer to be addressed?
The above questions are some ways the exploration towards understanding the patient who presents for the first visit can help clarify who they are as individuals.
This matters. It matters because it will determine who we are as transgender-identified individuals. We are part of a rainbow. This same marker should be used for LGBT. It should not erase anyone else from medical forms from exploring their preferences and identities.
When non-trans people are quick to accept limited representation and dismiss questions by trans and take an adversarial position towards this very marginalized group – despite the validity of their questions, they must welcome questions and not view these as attacking. We need to move away from personalizing any criticism raised by those who are transgender individuals. We experience marginalization every day. Markers on forms are not necessarily all-inclusive, and to hear anyone state that “this is a start” is farthest from welcoming all-inclusive and intersectional sectors that serve under this umbrella term. “Microaggression, a theory coined by Chester M. Pierce in 1970, hypothesizes that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as small acts of mostly non-physical aggression.”
“Verbal and behavioral indignities are classic symptoms of microaggression.” Mary Rowe 1973 wrote about it sex and gender.
Some of us have served on committees and experienced microaggression in settings right within our borders. This is not okay. It feels attacking when we raise valid concerns. It is time to move beyond the power struggle and move towards harmony without taking positions that those of us who raise concerns are delivering in an attacking manner.