Friday, December 26, 2008

21 Reasons Why Gender Matters on transgenderism, cont.

The pamphlet "21 reasons why gender matters" can be found online here.

The pamphlet offers three footnotes citing two documents in support of their contribution to the question of "whether gender re-assignment surgery can ever be justified". The first footnote refers to a court case, in which they reference an online post from the right-wing site Worldnet Daily about the case rather than the case itself. The other two refer to statements made by transgender individuals who allegedly express regret about undergoing gender reassignment surgery, the second of which is also from the Worldnet Daily post.

The court case referred to is Marc Andrew Mario vs P & C Food Markets, Inc, in which Mario tried - unsuccessfully - to argue that his gender reassignment surgey should have been covered by his employer's health insurance because it was "medically necessary". The court found in a summary judgement that this was not the case, a judgement which was upheld on appeal. The characterisation in the pamphlet that the decision was made due to the court's perceptation that there was "conflict in the medical community over whether or not gender dysphoria is a legitimate illness worthy of such severe medical intervention" seems accurate. It's not entirely clear with the court's impression was accurate, though.

Opponents of the ruling point out that this particular decision is "an anomaly in light of the many recent developments signaling a growing acceptance of the reality of transsexualism", including the Medicaid program in the US covering gender reassignment surgery in many states and jurisdictions, "under regulations that limit coverage to medically necessary procedures". There's apparently some room for disagreement here.

Not so much with the second, though. It's a quote from a transgender woman named Dr Renee Richards, taken from an interview with her in Tennis Magazine in March, 1999:
“I would have been better off staying the way I was,” said tennis star Renee Richards, the high-profile sex-change recipient.26 She goes on to say: “I wish that there could have been an alternative way, but there wasn’t in 1975. If there was a drug that I could have taken that would have reduced the pressure, I would have been better off staying the way I was - a totally intact person. I know deep down that I’m a second-class woman. I get a lot of inquiries from would-be transsexuals, but I don’t want anyone to hold me out as an example to follow. Today there are better choices, including medication, for dealing with the compulsion to crossdress and the depression that comes from gender confusion. As far as being fulfilled as a woman, I’m not as fulfilled as I dreamed of being. I get a lot of letters from people who are considering having this operation...and I discourage them all.”

I couldn't find the original interview, but a later interview with the New York Times provides some interesting context when she talks about her 1999 comment. Contrary to the implication in the Gender Matters pamphlet, Dr Richards does not believe that transsexualism doesn't exist, and does still think of herself as a woman:
''In 1999, you told People--'' the reporter begins.

Dr. Richards interrupts.

''--I told People what I was feeling, which I still feel: Better to be an intact man functioning with 100 percent capacity for everything than to be a transsexual woman who is an imperfect woman.''

In the same interview, Dr. Richards talked about wishing for something that could have prevented the surgery.

''What I said was if there were a drug, some voodoo, any kind of mind-altering magic remedy to keep the man intact, that would have been preferable, but there wasn't,'' Dr. Richards says. ''The pressure to change into a woman was so strong that if I had not been able to do it, I might have been a suicide.''

Does she regret having the surgery?

''The answer is no.''

Got that? She does not regret the surgery, she did not view her gendery dysphoria as "curable" through mere therapy, and the reason she does not want others to undergo the surgery is not because she thinks it's wrong to try and change gender, but because it doesn't go far enough in changing it.

The final footnote refers once again to Worldnet Daily, in which is quoted a self-described "former trans-sexual" named Joseph Cluse:
“How can outward physical change bring about the needed change
within? (After surgery) there is still a painful void,” says a regretful Joseph Cluse, who in 1979 had surgery in Trinidad, Colorado. “Relationships are destroyed and everyday I have to live with scars. The mirror is ever before me.”

Joseph Cluse is described on the Exodus International website as "a man whom God redeemed from transsexuality". His statement there that he no longer views himself as transgender, and that he sought gender reassignment surgery in the first place because "Satan’s stronghold on my life was such that I could see no other course for my life than a complete sex change operation" seems sincere enough, but it's difficult to tell with testimonials from people affiliated with ex-gay organisations. Will Joseph Cluse become JoAnna Cluse again as an ex-ex-transsexual, as so many ex-gays have become ex-ex-gays? Only time will tell.

1 comment:

Ephilei said...

You might find this website helpful:

www.transchristians.org

There's info about various people, organizations, and ideas like Joseph Cluse