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If This MTF Patient Never Did Her ‘At-Home Exercises,’ Can She Blame the Doc?

Surgery Tools

If you’re a plastic surgeon who performs gender reassignment surgery on a patient, are you at fault when the patient deems the surgery as a “failure”? Some 18 years after you last saw each other in the operating room, the jury is still out.

Or rather, the Calcutta High Court is still out.

In India, Uchchas Biswas alias Tampi, at age 19, went to Dr. Shankar Sarkar in 1990 to consult about a male-to-female reassignment procedure. In 1991, the surgery took place. Four years later, Biswas started a formal complaint.

In 1990, Uchchas Biswas alias Tampi, a resident of Naihati in North 24-Parganas, visited Dr Shankar Sarkar, wishing to undergo a sex change operation from male to female because he did not feel any attraction towards girls and found pleasure in the company of boys. Biswas was then 19 years old.

Sarkar, who lives in Jodhpur Park, advised him to consult a psychiatrist and furnish age proof. Biswas did so. He also furnished an affidavit stating that he had completed the age of 18 years and wanted to undergo a sex change operation. The surgery was conducted in 1991. Dr Sarkar advised Biswas that constant follow-up with him was needed to make the operation successful.

Four years later, however, Biswas lodged a complaint with Beniapukur police against Dr Sarkar, psychiatrist Shyamal Chakraborty and one Tanmoy Nath under Sections 120B, 326 and 420 of IPC for cheating, criminal conspiracy and negligence. He complained that the sex change operation had failed and the trio was responsible for it.

On September 9, 2009, the Sealdah judicial magistrate framed charges against Sarkar. The doctor then moved Calcutta High Court appealing that all criminal proceedings against him be quashed. Citing a Supreme Court judgment, Sarkar’s counsel, Joymalya Bagchi, argued before Justice Partha Sakha Datta that even if an operation was not successful, it did not mean that the doctor was negligent or that his treatment was incorrect. In this case, Bagchi said, the surgery was successful but the patient did not follow the required post-operation procedure as advised by the doctor.

It’s hard to take sides in a he-said-she-said scenario, but we’re sure all of our post-op trans readers can agree: Follow-up doctor visits and at-home procedures are a must in gender reassignment surgeries, and not doing either is negligence on your own part.

This case, meanwhile, is expected to be decided after the Court’s winter recess.

By:           editor editor
On:           Dec 11, 2009
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 48 Comments
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      To put it in real blunt terms when one undergoes MTF
      surgery the Doctors basically create a hole in your body
      which for all pratical purposes is an open wound. The
      patient needs to dialate it on a regular basis with stents
      to keep the wound from closing. In this country the reipients
      are even given stents (in a rainbow of colors) to assist
      in the procedure. Sorry Tampi, no more tampons for you!!

      Dec 11, 2009 at 10:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt
      Matt

      “wishing to undergo a sex change operation from male to female because he did not feel any attraction towards girls and found pleasure in the company of boys.” I thought the purpose of a sex change was because someone felt like they were a different gender inside than out? Are there many people who undergo a sex change for other reasons, such as not wanting to be gay or lesbian?

      Dec 11, 2009 at 10:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Brooklyn
      Mike in Brooklyn

      @No.2 Matt:

      I thought the same thing as I was reading the posting.

      In Chas Bono’s recent interviews, he said that being born female and having a natural attraction to females, she (at the time female) thought that that meant she was a lesbian. At the time, it seemed logical: female attracted to females = lesbian.

      Over time, and with new awarenesses and exposures to a larger world, Chas realized that it was not lesbianism rather mis-gender identity.

      It certainly is sad that one would feel the necessity to undergo gender reassignment to continue hiding in the closet.

      I will certainly hope that the reporter has misstated what happened and that Tampi will find peace and happiness.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Brooklyn
      Mike in Brooklyn

      @No.2 Matt:

      I thought the same thing as I was reading the posting.

      In Chaz Bono’s recent interviews, he said that being born female and having a natural attraction to females, she (at the time female) thought that that meant she was a lesbian. At the time, it seemed logical: female attracted to females = lesbian.

      Over time, and with new awarenesses and exposures to a larger world, Chaz realized that it was not lesbianism rather mis-gender identity.

      It certainly is sad that one would feel the necessity to undergo gender reassignment to continue hiding in the closet.

      I will certainly hope that the reporter has misstated what happened and that Tampi will find peace and happiness.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 11:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      Chaz (wanting a boner) Bono has stated that her relationship
      now is “just like any other straight couple” Which is why
      I can not understand why the need for the “T” to be tacked
      on to “GLB”. If your your ultimate goal after the change
      from pole to a hole or vice versa is to identify as a
      straight person, then I can not understand why the need
      to still identify with the Gay causes………….

      Dec 11, 2009 at 11:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kian
      Kian

      Go away Terrwill. We get it. You don’t like trans people. Move on with your life.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 11:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      No. 6 · Kian: You are 100% incorrect, I don’t dislike trans
      people. I simply do not like when persons who very clearly
      state that they are straight attempt to wedge themselves
      under the GLB umbrella. Chaz is the most famous trans
      person in recent memory. What statement did he make in
      one of the first interviews?? “we are just like any other
      straight couple” But in this post like previous you and
      the band of trans are gonna be all over any kind of post
      which says anything which you do not like to see. Trans
      people bring a lot of baggage with them, you expect to be
      welcomed into the GLB struggle yet many of you claim to
      be straight. Its the people who do not identify
      themselves as Gay that need to go away

      Dec 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • spalatos
      spalatos

      @terrwill

      Why does it have to be so strict, identifying as Gay to be in the struggle? Aren’t many straight parents a part of this struggle and haven’t many Trans people produced results in society that have benefited not just them, but us?

      Don’t be a hater, player.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 12:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      No. 8 · spalatos: I have two major trans issues:

      1- When a trans person misrepresents themselves and
      LIES about their true sex to lure someone into a
      sexual situation and then is upset if that person freaks
      out. This behaviour is 100% unacceptable. If you are not
      100% comfortable in the skin you are going to be wearing
      after surgery you are not ready for said surgery.

      2- When a trans person identifies themselves as “straight”
      I am sorry we catch too much shit from the haters out
      there who claim that being Gay is a choice. One of their
      most succesful arguments in denying us equal protections is
      that being Gay as opposed to being say a woman or black
      is a choice and thereform unlike being a woman or black who
      were born that way there is justification in denying us
      equal protections under the law. Straight Parents who
      support us are a tremendous asset to the community. However
      there is a huge difference between an ally of the Gays and
      someone claiming membership in the Gay community while
      stating they are in fact straight.

      I do not hate trans persons. I hate numbers 1&2 above.
      I find nothing incorrect about those positions. However
      the trans people who post here will never accept any type
      of critism. Instead they adopt behaviours and start flingiing
      insults that would warm the cold hearts of any rightwing
      nut bag lunatic……….

      Dec 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake the libertarian
      Jake the libertarian

      @ TERRWILL

      Just to follow up on your statement, and at the risk of pissing a bunch of people off, I have to admit that I am relatively uncomfortable with the idea of sexual reassignment surgery.

      I do not claim to understand what it feels like to “be born the wrong gender” etc… As a gay guy, I understand that there are things that people outside that group will never understand. However in the vast majority of the cases of trans people that I am aware of, these are extremely depressed and desperate people. I don’t know exactly how or why they are so depressed, and in some cases perhaps true gender conflict is the root cause. However it seems incredibly irresponsible for a doctor to take chemically unbalanced (not all of them… but a lot of them)patients and perform such a dramatic surgery.

      Coming to terms with being a gay man, for me, was coming to terms with an undeniable truth. A truth I had been trying to deny. Trans people, to me, seem to be trying to claim something that isn’t true. In fact, Chaz Bono before his surgery, was a woman. There is a real argument to be made that he is still a woman, just a mutilated woman. As rude as that might be, it is arguably fact.

      Having said all that, please note that I support Trans rights to the fullest extent possible. I would never deny any protection or service or friendship to a person because he or she was trans. However, in my concern for a healthy society, I believe that people who massively depressed or miserable in their lives should search for answers that do not include such radical surgery and permanent social and medical consequences.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jadis
      Jadis

      “No. 8 · spalatos: I have two major trans issues:” Somehow, I think it’s more than those two.

      1. Too bad. Cope.

      2. So, in order to appease the socons, you suggest a purge of undesirable elements from the ranks? Better kick out the bisexuals while you’re at it if you want to ensure adequate purity.

      Jake:

      “I believe that people who massively depressed or miserable in their lives should search for answers that do not include such radical surgery and permanent social and medical consequences.”

      I guess killing ourselves is an option.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Emily
      Emily

      @Jake the Libertarian:

      Thank you for your support and respect, despite your concerns (unlike a certain other troll that keeps posting here…). I can answer some of the questions/concerns you brought up. They are good questions to ask about trans people, especially if you don’t understand the process we go through in order to live in our affirmed gender.

      I’m going to outline the general process that we go through, for trans women. This is according to the Standards of Care as set out by WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health).

      First of all, *anything* we do related to transition is (supposed) to be done under the care of a psychologist/psychiatrist knowledgable in transgender issues and care. We don’t always follow this rule, however, since more often than not, these “caretakers” are really just gatekeepers that are more interested in preventing us from transitioning at all cost, than ensuring that we transition safely and that it is the right thing for us. This has been improving in recent years, however, a supportive mental health professional is still somewhat hard to come by.

      The next step is generally to go on hormones. According to WPATH, a trans person must be in counselling for at least 3 months prior to being prescribed hormones by an endocrinologist, and the endocrinologist must receive a letter from the psychologist saying that the trans person is ready to begin. If the trans person is deemed not mentally stable enough, the letter won’t be written. Again, some of us get around this barrier, and again, it is due to the difficulty in finding supportive care.

      Before SRS is done, if at all, we must live in our affirmed gender for at least a year and be approved for the surgery by at least two psychiatrists. Every SRS surgeon in North America and Western Europe abides by this. Most Thai surgeons had a similar requirement of six months, but the Thai government just recently extended that by law now to a full year. Generally, there needs to be some evidence that living in one’s affirmed gender and the effect of hormones has lessened the degree of depression/dysphoria for the trans person.

      So you see, the barriers are there to prevent someone from having the surgery (and from taking other steps in transition) if it’s not the right thing for them. And for those who it isn’t right for, they’ll generally know well before the topic of SRS comes up. It should also be stressed that there are plenty of non-op trans people, people who transition but opt not to have SRS. It should be noted that the success rate of this procedure is 93% (that is, 93% of SRS patients are satisfied with their surgery results, and have shown marked improvement in their quality of life. I’m one of them!)

      Back to the article at hand, if Tampi hasn’t been taking care of themselves following the surgery, then that’s just fucking dumb, and should suffer the consequences (It should be noted that in Iran, gay people are frequently forced to have a crude form of SRS by their government, in order to prevent them from being gay). I don’t know what the requirements in India were like in the early ’90s for getting SRS, but regardless, having SRS in order to escape being gay, is an incredibly fucking stupid reason to have SRS, but it’s not the surgeons’ fault. That would be the fault of Tampi, and possibly the mental health professionals that approved the surgery, assuming Tampi didn’t misrepresent herself during their sessions.

      If Tampi did misrepresent herself during counselling, then I blame that on the “gatekeeper” phenomenon: mental health professionals too wrapped up in their own ridiculous theories as to what a transsexual is (for anyone with the time or curiosity, look up “autogynephilia”) to give supportive care to genuine trans people, resulting in trans people themselves having to lie and jump through ridiculous hoops to receive the care they really need. This has been a problem for decades, and while it has improved in recent years, the fear of not being able to access hormones and surgeries still perpetuates this problem.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Emily
      Emily

      @Jake the Libertarian:

      Sorry, that should read “certain troll.” I did not mean to imply that you are also a troll.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      Is there some way to subscribe to a thread without posting in it?

      Dec 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • naghanenu
      naghanenu

      My favorite poster today….TERRIWILL!!!!!!!!!!!!

      You rock! You rock! Ive lolling all morning(wipes tears from eyes)

      I am uncomfortable with transfolk..period. I am sorry. I promised myself id try but God almighty, they freak me out.

      The idea that by mutilating your body and take chemicals that distort your body is just insane to me. There i said it…im sorry

      Dec 11, 2009 at 3:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • naghanenu
      naghanenu

      My favorite poster today….TERRIWILL!!!!!!!!!!!!

      You rock! You rock! Ive lolling all morning(wipes tears from eyes)

      I am uncomfortable with transfolk..period. I am sorry. I promised myself id try but God almighty, they freak me out.

      The idea that by mutilating your body and taking chemicals that distort your body is just insane to me. There i said it…im sorry

      Dec 11, 2009 at 3:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jadis
      Jadis

      Well, don’t complain when someone is “uncomfortable” with gayfolk.

      It’s not “mutilation” if it’s voluntary. They don’t do it with stone axes, you know.

      “The idea that by mutilating your body and taking chemicals that distort your body is just insane to me. ”

      Anyone whose motivations you don’t understand MUST be insane, right? And once you’ve thrown them into the Insane bin, you don’t have to listen to anything they say because, you know, it’s just the crazy talking.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tara
      Tara

      Here we go again. Ever time something trans related comes up the biggot brothers come out to try and prove that they know what is best for the community.

      @Terriwell – You try so hard in one breath to appear not as an ass but then you say things like “When a trans person misrepresents themselves and
      LIES about their true sex ” My true sex, hu. Well that is a fun way of boxing me in you have there. You know nothing it seems of the trans identity and life.

      Did a transperson her you Terriwell?

      Dec 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Brooklyn
      Mike in Brooklyn

      @No. 10 Jake:

      I guess I don’t understand that you don’t see Terrwill @No. 8, as the anti-trans bigot that he is? And while you say you sympathize with Transgender people, they make you uncomfortable?

      There are nearly 7 billion people on this planet; and each and everyone of them is uniquely different and individual. The variations are more numerous than can be counted: height, weight, fat/skinny, clef distinctions/malformations, hair color, levels of hand-eye coordination, heart conditions, albino, hair patterns, 20/20 to blind, perfect pitch to deafness, and on and on. In most of these cases, it is the matter of a single uniquely formed human cell that differentiates the uniqueness; in eyes, a lens differential of millionth of a millimeter can determine vision.

      So, as a gay man who has had to figure out that you are just as human as straight men though you are certainly in a sexual minority, you cannot fathom someone born male in a female body or vice versa?

      Years ago a had a fuck buddy who was: born deaf (600,000 deaf Americans); left-handed (1 in12; or 50,000 of the 600,000), black (1 in 10; now down to 5000 in the US); male (now at 2500); gay, of course (using 5% here): or 125 in a country of over 330,000,000. And that he was a total top reduces the number to 50-75 or 1 in 6,000,000. Luckily for me God made him because we sure had a lot of fun!

      Is it that hard to simply accept that there are many upon many, whose body differentiates their sexual identity? Is it that hard to understand the internalization of their confusion of sexual identity causing psychological dilemma? Fuck, it took me until 20 to be comfortable enough to tell my dad I was gay and he read “Tales of the City” aloud every morning at breakfast!

      And Terrwill, of course Transgendger should be welcomed with open arms and loving hugs along with gay men, lesbians, and those who like both. Using your biased approach, why should gay men give a fuck about whether two women qualify for civil rights, or why lesbians should care if gay men can be themselves as gay?

      What we share in common is what is important here. We share unique sexual identities that veer from the normal. As minorities, as other minorities, we face hostile discrimination from small minded bigots who think there their own experiences explain everything and treat us like shit for being different.

      Chaz Bono and his female partner identify as a heterosexual couple. I hope they enjoy their love and lives to the fullest. Nonetheless, they are part of the transgender community as well, and members of a sexual minority. And like gays and lesbians they face bigotry and discrimination because stupid bigoted wingnuts want to tell them as they want to tell me how to live the life God gave me.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      Joe the Libertarian:

      How would you feel if I said:

      “Gay people, to me, seem to be trying to claim something that isn’t true. In fact, before coming out all gays are straight. There is a real argument to be made that gay people are just straight but have been led astray by a deviant lifestyle due emotional trauma. As rude as that might be, it is arguably fact.

      Having said all that, please note that I support gay rights rights to the fullest extent possible. I would never deny any protection or service or friendship to a person because he or she was gay. However, in my concern for a healthy society, I believe that people who massively depressed or miserable in their lives should search for answers that do not include such deviant sex practices and permanent social and medical consequences such as the risk of being infected with HIV.”

      Because that’s how it ended up sounding like to me, just the trans version of the same soft bigotry and ignorance, the “I accpet you but still you’re a freak” rhetorical trick.

      Guess what? It isn’t about you or how you feel about transgender people, just like gay people don’t live their lives to make straight people comfortable, this isn’t about how comfortable you are with transgender people.

      As gay guy, you would probably be pretty depressed and emotionally distressed if you were born a woman. That is the real situation for trans people, is that not a hard thing to get?

      Dec 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      @naghanenu, I love Terriwil too, because we all have voices that need to be heard. And it’s usually done respectfully. But I have to say, that icky “G_d almight I tried, but they gross me out” attitude is similar to how a lot of people about me fucking an anus or putting a dick in my mouth. If we want tolerance, we need to give it.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • William Day
      William Day

      In regards to the whole “changing gender because he liked boys” thing, it depends on what the culture in India is like. There was a documentary a couple of years back about gays in Iran changing gender as a legal alternative to homosexuality, which came with a death sentence. I think. I could be mistaken, this show was on TV a while back. Is the general Indian attitude similar to the general Iranian attitude on this matter? I don’t know, it would be appreciated if someone could fill me in.

      Secondly, the doctor is not to blame. If the patient had any kind of brain, she’d have followed the post op instructions that were given to her following MAJOR SURGERY. If they were made clear to her and she did not comply, then tough shit.

      And I know I’m going to regret wading into the argument, but to weigh in on the debate that rages anytime Queerty posts something on Transgender issues: The fact that the concept of the surgery itself makes me nauseous does not detract from the fact that someone who is willing to go to such extensive lengths and face persecution and harrasment just as bad, if not usually worse than that experienced by many homosexuals deserve all the fucking respect in the world as far as I am concerned.

      Dec 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sully
      Sully

      terrwill, i know this has been brought up to you before to no avail, but i’m a transgender guy and i’m gay. NOW can the T stay in GLBT?

      Dec 12, 2009 at 1:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • naghanenu
      naghanenu

      Yes, i meant it. Im sorry but that is the truth.

      Transgenderism is said to be a disorder right? Ok cool. I RESPECT THAT. I RESPECT THEM TOO. It takes courage to live your life as u should without fear of condemnation and prejudice. Doesnt mean i cant get freaked out. I mean i see a woman everyday and i think wow she’s tall. Just found out she was a tranny. I WAS FREAKED. Her face was really better than some id seen and she looked like a real woman. All curvy and hot. Needless to say, good hormone therapy for her. But i cant date her. why? she has a penis. She does not have a vagina..at least i don think so. I still see her has a man. Its so weird and wrong somehow.

      That said….trannies make me uncomfortable

      Dec 12, 2009 at 2:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      @Naghanenu: Where did you get the idea that anybody thought that you were supposed to go with a transexual if you prefer biological women? I think you’re missing the point. Viscerally I don’t understand wanting to change sex either, but I don’t presume to inhabit someone else’s mind. I’ve known several transgender people, pre-op and post-op and they’ve all been lovely individuals. However, I saw a documentary recently where some become unhappy with their decision, so I think the transition should be considered at length and deliberate, unlike the case in this story.

      Dec 12, 2009 at 2:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • romeo
      romeo

      Oh, and Misanthrope, not sure if you were making an analogy or being serious, but I WAS NEVER STRAIGHT FROM THE FUCKING DAY I WAS BORN !!! LOL

      Dec 12, 2009 at 2:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Speedsausage
      Speedsausage

      @ Misanthrope

      Well said, you took the words right out of my mouth.

      Dec 12, 2009 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bisquit
      bisquit

      The only things being gay has really given me are 3 bad boyfriends and herpes. I’m still standing but for what, I dunno.

      Dec 12, 2009 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott ny'er
      scott ny'er

      really? open wound? is what Terriwell said correct?

      how does it not get infected? i never really thought of how they create the vagina out of the penis. But i didn’t think it would be a wound kept open by a stent.

      Forgive my ignorance. I hope i’m not offending anyone.

      Dec 12, 2009 at 2:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kropotkin
      Kropotkin

      “Oh, and Misanthrope, not sure if you were making an analogy or being serious, but I WAS NEVER STRAIGHT FROM THE FUCKING DAY I WAS BORN !!! LOL”

      Romeo, I know that and neither have I ever been straight myself. I was making a comparison that if you replace “gay” with what Joe pretty much said about trans people it comes out sounding pretty damn offensive to gay people.

      And that’s what Joe was doing, saying that we have a right to exist, but denying our right to identify as who we are. I was trying to make that clear to Joe through that comparison and that’s the point: how would you feel if someone told you that you were straight no matter what? Its insulting, his mistaken perception of trans people doesn’t define us.

      Dec 12, 2009 at 6:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kropotkin
      Kropotkin

      really? open wound? is what Terriwell said correct?

      how does it not get infected? i never really thought of how they create the vagina out of the penis. But i didn’t think it would be a wound kept open by a stent”

      Terrawill knows about as much about SRS and trans people as I know about nuclear physics, which is very little. If you want to go find out there are plenty of sites out that explain the SRS process, but it’s kept open by a stent until it heels after time and it’s not an open wound as they ignorantly describes it. Terrawill is a raving transphoic person despite what they say about not hating us.

      Dec 12, 2009 at 6:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott ny'er
      scott ny'er

      @Kropotkin

      ahh. thanks.

      i was too lazy to search info on the subject. But, I should know better, I guess then to believe other posters entirely.

      Dec 12, 2009 at 8:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Grae
      Grae

      As someone who was an active member of the ‘trans community’ for a long time,I gotta give Terriwill props for saying what many trans people are too damn scared to say themselves for fear of being stabbed in the back by their own sisters and brothers.

      I’m sad to say that many ‘trans peeps’ I’ve known, tend to portray the world as one big ‘us vs them’ scenario – and will paint everyone with the same dark brush – including those who are trying to help and understand. They wear their ‘scars of prejudice’ like badges of honor when some of them are some of the most bigoted, prejudiced people I have ever met.

      Grace

      Dec 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kropotkin
      Kropotkin

      As someone who was an active member of the ‘trans community’ for a long time,I gotta give Terriwill props for saying what many trans people are too damn scared to say themselves for fear of being stabbed in the back by their own sisters and brothers.”

      Seriously?

      Because we’ve got to coddle and respect people who say that we are liars, fakes and spread ignorant lies about us?

      Wow.

      Dec 13, 2009 at 3:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Grace
      Grace

      “liars, fake and spread ignorant lies about us?

      By all means let’s paint all of those who have a different opinion to ‘us’ as liars and fakes. I’m sure that will work for the ‘trans cause’…whatever the hell that is anyway.
      I got sick of trans people telling me to conform – how to ‘lie to my therapist’ to get what I ‘need’…how I wasn’t a true transsexual unless I thought like this or acted like that.
      Liars, fakes and spreading ignorant lies? My point exactly…

      Grace

      Dec 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kropotkin
      Kropotkin

      Grace wrote:

      “By all means let’s paint all of those who have a different opinion to ‘us’ as liars and fakes. I’m sure that will work for the ‘trans cause’…whatever the hell that is anyway.”

      Christ, you didn’t bother to read my post, if you had you would have seen that I had wrote:

      “PEOPLE WHO SAY that WE are liars, fakes and spread ignorant lies about us?”

      And in that I mean Terrwill and Naghanenu, both of whom have made those kinds of in this very thread. And you went so far as to agree with Terrwill.

      I’m not talking about hypocrisy in the trans community vis-a-vis doctors, conformity, etc. , that is a whole other issue. What I’m talking about is people making hateful, ignorant comments in this thread.

      If you want that stuff go unchallenged and sit around listening to it, fine then, enjoy your low self-esteem. Quite frankly, I don’t care if you end up agreeing with me or not, but I won’t let bullshit go unchallenged.

      Dec 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      Excellent post, No. 19 · Mike in Brooklyn. You make very good points.

      You summed it up in a nutshell when you said…

      As gay guy, you would probably be pretty depressed and emotionally distressed if you were born a woman.

      Like you, I too wonder why that should be so hard to understand?

      Dec 13, 2009 at 6:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Grace
      Grace

      @Kropotkin
      My apologies – I did indeed misread your post and I take back my last comment.

      I’m not familiar enough with Terrwill (who I now understand to be a frequent poster here) to draw a clear picture of who they are. As I read it, the main thrust of Terrwill’s argument was that trans people were taking a false or hypocritical position by associating with or ‘claiming membership’ of the gay/lesbian community.
      While I won’t get drawn into the argument about how to define sexual orientation, I would say that transsexual and transgender issues are quite distinct from that of gay/lesbian interests, political causes etc. So I’ve always felt the association under ‘GLBT’ somewhat tenuous. I don’t feel that my sexual orientation accurately represents my gender issues (for want of a better word) – and vici versa for those in the GLB community.

      Grace

      Dec 13, 2009 at 6:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kropotkin
      Kropotkin

      Grace,

      No hard feelings, I was a little snappy at you, I apologize.

      “I don’t feel that my sexual orientation accurately represents my gender issues (for want of a better word) – and vici versa for those in the GLB community.”

      I see a lot of intersections/overlap between homophobia and transphobia when they are directed towards gender variant queer people and trans people.

      I identify as both trans and queer(or bi) and I wouldn’t say that my sexuality represents my gender either, but to all the bigots out there where all “faggots” anyway.

      I just I don’t get it that people get so hung up on sexuality vis-a-vis trans inclusion in the LGBT community. Some trans people are straight-so what? We face many of the same problems, let’s solve those and quit squabbling over “who is LGBT”, that’s a sideshow to the main issues we have in life.

      There are gay kids being kicked out of their home right now. There’s a trans person getting fired from their job for coming out right now, there’s someone being refuse medical care because they’re queer out there right now. I don’t care about bitching about who is gay or not, it’s irrelevant. I wanna know how we can stop all of that from happening.

      Dec 13, 2009 at 7:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Grace
      Grace

      @Kropotkin

      I guess I am torn when it comes to the trans / GLB issue especially when it comes to prejudice through ‘misidentification’. Perhaps it’s small minded of me, but there’s a part of me that wants to scream “but you don’t understand!” when someone labels me a ‘faggot’ in a derogatory or insulting context.
      Of course, in reality there’s no sense in trying to reason with a bigot – homophobic OR transphobic.
      However this issue does spill over to a wider misunderstanding of transgender/transsexualism. In fact it might be the single most persistent misconception in society today: that transsexualism is some form of ‘abnormal’ sexual orientation. Indeed many trans peeps have difficulty grappling with this misconception/confusion themselves.
      So while I welcome solidarity when it comes to issues of tackling prejudice, I do so wary that the GLBT ‘umbrella’ may ultimately serve to confuse the less-informed about the identities of the people concerned.

      Grace

      Dec 13, 2009 at 8:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kropotkin
      Kropotkin

      “So while I welcome solidarity when it comes to issues of tackling prejudice, I do so wary that the GLBT ‘umbrella’ may ultimately serve to confuse the less-informed about the identities of the people concerned.”

      I understand your concern and many others share that concern. Personally, I try not to let the opinions of the ill-informed or confused affect my life or the political alliances/community I make with other people. I’m not naive or pretend that it completely doesn’t matter, but they only have as much control over me as I let them. Either they will eventually get it or they won’t. Life is too short to invest much energy in to caring about that from my point of view.

      There is probably more of a personal connection there for me as I identified as bi and was in the community before I transitioned, so to me moving away from the community is kinda like rejecting family. I can appreciate that it wouldn’t be that way for you if you weren’t that involved in the LGBT community.

      Dec 13, 2009 at 8:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stef
      Stef

      I found this post totally fascinating. I’m a straight woman, but reading the different viewpoints on trans and the inclusion in the LGB “umbrella” and certain posters’ discomfort with the idea was a good read.

      As a straight woman, I obviously do not know the highs and lows of being gay, lesbian, bi, or trans. I kind of agree with Terriwill (don’t hate me please!) in the sense that I find it hard to be both considering yourself “straight”, as in Chaz Bono’s case, but still under the LGB umbrella. Like, I kinda see the link, but it’s faint. If you go MtF or FtM and want a “straight” relationship, like Chaz Bono has, and want to live as “normally” as possible, is it prudent to lump yourself into the LGB situation? I don’t know.

      I mean, I totally get the inclusion when it comes to, say, a gay trans woman (so a MtF that likes women…right?). Your mind is female, your body is male, and your attraction (based on your mind/”real” gender) is sam sex in that sense. I can get that inclusion.

      I don’t think it’s necessarily “anti-trans” when people say it makes them uncomfortable. I think you can be supportive and sympathetic when it comes to trans, but still be a little weirded out by the scenerio. Personally, I just enjoy being around anyone who is happy and comfortable with themselves. My mom has a trans woman (MtF…sorry, I feel like I need to clarify) working in her office. She is lovely! She came out to dinner with us and a bunch of my mom’s coworkers last week and I talked to her more than anyone else at the table. And I mean, I’ve known about her being trans for quite some time, but it in no way made me uncomfortable because she is just such a nice, funny, outgoing person.

      Regardless, I can see the “uncomfortable” factor for some people, because I can understand how the reaction of “was a man, now a woman” (or vice versa) can kind of joky someone, and for some people, it might be just a hard concept to grasp at first. So I can’t really label people who say they are a little weirded out or uncomfortable with trans people “biggots”. I don’t think it has anything to do with biggotry or disgust or disdain as much as it has to do with just a general difficulty really grasping the concept.

      I think I aslo agree with certain posters who say they would be upset if they found out someone they were dating were trans and/or would never date someone who is trans. I, personally, would never date a FtM trans person. I think in the back of my head I would always see them as innately female, and while I’d be very happy as long as they are happy with themselves and how they feel about themselves and identify themselves, my own personal outlook is that it’s great to alter your body to make you more comfortable in it – but it’s necessary to remember what your body originally was because at the end of the day, if you voluntarily remove your hand, it doesn’t mean you never had it. I know many people will see this as an insult, and by no means do I mean it as such even if it is taken that way, that is just my personal preference if the option to date a trans person ever came up.

      That’s just my two cents.

      Dec 14, 2009 at 1:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake the libertarian
      Jake the libertarian

      @ Several Peeps

      I would like to be clear. I never said that trans people make me uncomfortable. I said the idea of sexual reassignment surgery makes me uncomfortable. I also mentioned that I accept the fact that I really don’t understand near enough about being trans or what exactly that means to make any hard judgments.

      My concern comes from the fact that very depressed and desperate people are being, in some cases, talked into radical surgery. Emily explained some of that for me, however I am not convinced that there are a HUGE amount of trans people out there getting terrible advice. While Emily’s concern was politically motivated shrinks advising against sexual reassignment surgery, my concern is politically motivated shrinks who are too eager to give people dangerous hormones and life altering surgery.

      In some cases this is being done with children (under about 20)… and in some cases that is even celebrated. Now I do know a little something about being a sexually confused gay teen. I know about the depression, anger, fear, and confusion. To heap hormone “therapy” on all that is insanity. If hormone therapy or surgery is an option, it should never be an option for an adolescent.

      I just think that it is very dangerous ground to perform sexual reassignment surgery. I hope that it improves lives, but my fear is that it is ruining lives. If you feel the need to respond, please keep in mind that we have the same goal… a full happy life for trans people.

      Dec 14, 2009 at 9:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jake the libertarian
      Jake the libertarian

      @ missanthrope

      You get your own response… Your comment completely misrepresented what I said and where I was coming from. I think you might be kind of an idiot.

      love,
      “Joe”

      Dec 14, 2009 at 10:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kropotkin
      Kropotkin

      “I just think that it is very dangerous ground to perform sexual reassignment surgery. I hope that it improves lives, but my fear is that it is ruining lives. If you feel the need to respond, please keep in mind that we have the same goal… a full happy life for trans people.”

      Jake, whether you think me an idiot or not, I think that making institutional hoops for trans people to jump through in order to obtain treatment ruins more lives than the possibility of confused gay (or straight) people transitioning. The idea of sexually “confused” people transitioning has always been cited as a concern, but if this is so much of phenomenon then therapists and care providers would be reporting these cases when in fact it’s hardly been known of in the record.

      Most de-transitions (what we call it when people “go back”) happen because people can’t find jobs or are convinced by family/religion to detransition, not because they find out they are confused. Cases like the one reported here are extreme outliers from what I’ve experienced in the trans community. I’ve personally only heard of about 10 cases or so over the years from personal experience and media reports.

      Hormones are already an option for teens no matter what doctors or parents do, I’ve worked mentoring trans teens and they can get a full hormone regimen from internet pharmacies for about $100 a month. There a lot of kids taking doses unsupervised by doctors because they can’t find doctors who will get them help because they are afraid of liability.

      Many of these kids are suicidal and experiencing psychological trauma from growing up as the wrong sex. I know this from experience, I did it myself and was robbed of my own childhood. Now there is nothing I can do to get that back. I don’t want these kids to experience the same thing.

      And more importantly, these kids are at a high risk of suicide, they need to know that there is hope before they do something permanent before they can get help.

      Besides, the kids who are under 16 who have gotten treatment undergo tons of psychological screening to a point that if someone is still confused about sexuality or gender after that then there is a lot more going on than being “sexually confused”.

      And again except for a few outliers like this one, there haven’t been many cases of regret or confusion in the last thirty years considering the thousands of people who have transitioned. It’s unfair to thousands of people to make them jump through unnecessary hoops to get treatment because ten or fifteen people make mistakes. That would be like denying a life-saving drug that treats thousands because a few people have adverse affects and die. Medical professionals take those kinds of gambles all of the time in a reasonable manner.

      And as for my previous post to you, I know you didn’t mean those things, but that’s how it came out as, I’m sure you’ve heard tons of well-meaning straight people say dumb or ignorant things about gay people. Though your words had no hate behind them, they were hurtful. I don’t know how else I could tell you that but to put it in a way that you could relate a fellow queer person.
      Have you any direct experience with a case of trans “confusion” or regret? Or is what you’re worried about consists of potentialities?

      Because I know a good many trans people in real life who can benefit from not having to jump through as many hoops as the SOC sets up, who suffer from the stigma of trans being classified as a mental illness and whom don’t have access to treatment.

      *P.S. sorry for getting your name wrong.

      Dec 14, 2009 at 3:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zoe Brain
      Zoe Brain

      Jake – “I said the idea of sexual reassignment surgery makes me uncomfortable.”

      While Emily’s concern was politically motivated shrinks advising against sexual reassignment surgery, my concern is politically motivated shrinks who are too eager to give people dangerous hormones and life altering surgery.”

      Compare and contrast with:
      “The idea of gay sex makes me feel uncomfortable.

      My concern is politically motivated councellors who are too eager to give people dangerous advice that they may be same-sex attracted, in order to recruit them.”

      Perhaps it would be best if you looked at evidence first, rather than let your personal discomfort lead you into flights of fancy.

      Dec 14, 2009 at 10:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zoe Brain
      Zoe Brain

      Maybe it might be helpful if instead of snark, I actually gave you some of that evidence:

      There’ll be some who won’t believe it’s a congenital medical condition, but a “lifestyle choice”. The evidence of brain scans and autopsies says otherwise, as do some rather more simple tests. As Professor Ecker MD said in a recent presentation to the APA on the subject:

      “We showed how Transgender Brains think, smell, and hear like the opposite sex.”

      And the MRI images and so on show why this is so. All the claims about “female brain in male body” turn out to be literally true. It’s an intersex condition, like hundreds of others, where the body is neither wholly male nor wholly female.

      See seminar s10 at the APA annual meeting:
      S10. The Neurobiological Evidence for Transgenderism

      1. Brain Gender Identity Prof. Sidney W. Ecker, M.D.
      2. Transsexuality as an Intersex Condition Prof Milton Diamond, Ph.D.
      3. Novel Approaches to Endocrine Treatment of Transgender Adolescents and Adults Norman Spack, M.D.

      Abstract:
      Gender Identity is that innate sense of who you are in this world with reference to your sexuality and behavior, not necessarily corresponding to your genitalia and reproductive organs. Transgenders are atypical and “think” as the opposite gender. Certain areas of the brain have been shown to be sexually dimorphic. They are different in structure and numbers of neurons in males versus females. Protein Receptors for the sex hormones in different areas of the brain (limbic and anterior hypothalamic) must be present in sufficient numbers to receive those powerful hormones. There are androgen receptors (AR), Estrogen Receptors (ER), and Progesterone receptors (PRs). ARs or ERs are predominant at different times in different parts of the human brain. Hormone receptor genes have been identified in humans, which are responsible for sexually dimorphic brain differentiation in the hypothalamus. The groundwork in brain gender identity is gene-directed and takes place by forming male and female hormone receptors in the brain before the gonads and hormones can influence them. Multiple genes acting in concert determine our sexual identity. The human brain continues to make neurons and synaptic neuronal connections throughout life. This contributes to Gender Role Behaviors making individuals in the continuum of gender identity. Gender behaviors must be differentiated from gender identity (Hines). Gender Identity cannot be predicted from anatomy (Reiner). Brain gender identity is determined very early in fetal development, but gender expression, expressed as behaviors requires hormonal, environmental, social and cultural interactions, which evolve with time. One cannot deny the profound effects of Testosterone, Estradiol and other steroids on genital differentiation in-utero or their effects on behavior from birth or the physical and mental cross gender changes caused by exogenous hormones, but gender identity is determined before and persists in spite of these effects.

      References:

      1.DF Swaab, WC Chung, FP Kruijver, MA Hofman, TA Ishunina
      Structural and functional sex differences in the human hypothalamus
      Horm Behav. Sep, 2001; 40(2): 93-8.

      2. DF Swaab
      Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation
      Gynecol Endocrinol. Dec, 2004; 19(6): 301-12.

      3.IE Sommer, PT Cohen-Kettenis, T van Raalten, AJ Vd Veer, LE Ramsey, LJ Gooren, RS Kahn, NF Ramsey
      Effects of cross-sex hormones on cerebral activation during language and mental rotation: An fMRI study in transsexuals
      Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. Mar 2008; 18(3): 215-21.

      4.H Berglund, P Lindstrom, C Dhejne-Helmy, I Savic
      Male to female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids
      Cereb Cortex. Aug 2008; 18(8): 1900-8.

      Dec 14, 2009 at 10:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zoe Brain
      Zoe Brain

      Oh yes, as for “open wounds” – it’s an “open wound” the way that pierced ears are “open wounds”. Unless something is inserted regularly to keep them open, piercings will tend to close up over months or years. With neo-vaginas, they tend to lose depth rather than close up as such.

      Once a month or a more aggressive stretching once every 6 months is usually enough, after a few years. For those who are straight, regular and vigorous intercourse is medically indicated instead.

      Well, that’s my excuse.

      Dec 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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