Thursday, October 29, 2009

The International Oppression Spreads

It has finally happened. Gender Identity Disorder (GID) has infiltrated Thailand. GID was previously only in countries whose mental health coding was determined either by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) or the ICD (the International Classification of Diseases, whose GID diagnosis directly based off of the DSM's language). Now GID is now making moves East.

Countries like Thailand have been one of the last harbors for those seeking gender confirming surgeries without GID and without the high price. The Medical Council of Thailand has now moved to following similar requirements to those in the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care where psychiatric evaluation(s) and "one year life experience" are demanded to prove the legitimacy of a person's identity. Thailand also requires that foreigners looking to have gender confirmation surgery there must get approval from a psychiatrist in their home country AND one in Thailand before being approved. The Medical Council of Thailand representatives state that "at least two psychiatrists must give guarantees" in order for someone to be allowed access to services. What kind of guarantees are they looking for?

Like the person mentioned in the article, by the time a person is ready for a gender confirming surgery they have already been living as themselves, some for over 20 years. Some people don't have the luxury to live as themselves because it isn't safe where they live, and some people live in ways that doesn't match with what GID describes as "real life experience." And apparently the concern isn't for our well being alone. We also need to worry about the society we live in.

"Sex reassignment surgery would affect the physical body (of the person undergoing the operation), as well as people's mental health and society around them."

Well, Hella forbid I upset someone else with my identity. If I ever wanted to have surgery, not only am I sure that my life would not be considered "real" male experience, I am certain that I would not be considered a promoter of society's mental health. Does that mean I'm not trans? Who makes the decision? Apparently they do. Silly me for thinking I should know myself. Do I even need to continue my rant here? Or should I just write out a big FUCK YOU. In the wise words of Cartmen I say,"Whateva, I do what I want!"

I do want to point out that I don't think that greater regulation of these procedures isn't needed. Many people have experienced serious problems due to the lack of regulation of surgeries in ALL countries. My interpretation of that is that the lack of accessibility is forcing people to put themselves at risk. Spreading the malice of GID is not the answer to bettering out lives and our access to transitional medical care. What we need is accountable AND accessible care that doesn't force people to die of infections or bleed out on tables because they don't have the money or the means to access the system's care.

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