Wednesday, 11 September 2013

I Am Not A Penguin

Dear reader,
If I were to tell you you aren't you, you would probably correct me and state that, yes, you are you.
Somewhere deep inside you, you know who are, don't you? You don't need proof of who you are. You just know it! Certainly, the least likely of all scenarios is that you would agree with me that, indeed, you are not the person you know yourself to be.
For example, should you happen to identify as a penguin then you are a penguin. Just because you are not my idea of what a penguin is does not automatically make you not a penguin. Perhaps I am misinformed or simply don't have enough knowledge to recognise you as a penguin?
So who am I to argue with you? You are you and I am I and we are not the same. So who am I, when we have two separate brains, to argue and attempt to force my opinions on you?
Our knowledge of who and what we are is what defines us - not the knowledge of any other person.
And that, I feel, is the deep flaw within the NHS's "gender reassignment pathway".
Far from allowing the psychiatrists to assess whether they're suffering from a mental illness or not, a patient will be required to justify their identity.
And, yet, we know deep within ourselves that this is just intrinsic knowledge. And how on earth do you convey intrinsic knowledge when a person does not share that knowledge?!!
Thus a psychiatrist does not share my intrinsic knowledge of who I am any more than a bus driver does! And, yet, a psychiatrist's opinion of who I am is given credence because of what exactly??
Because they judge me sane??? Well, perhaps they can judge me sane but they can not judge me a liar (without, perhaps, a lie detector test which, as far as I know, are not used at Gender Identity Clinics!).
They can even judge me insane but doing so holds no sway over what my gender is. I can be an insane woman just as easily as I can an insane man! 
Thus, it baffles me why psychiatrists are used to judge a person's gender. More so, it baffles me how any psychiatrist feels qualified to argue with any patient's self-definition of who they are!
But this is exactly what is happening. There is ample evidence that psychiatrists in the UK's Gender Identity Clinics regularly: 
  • Decide for you what your gender identity is and argue how you succeed or fail to fit into their perceptions of that gender identity.
  • Decide for you what your sexuality is and argue how that succeeds or fails to fit into their perceptions of your gender identity. 
  • Argue how your name does or does not fit into their perceptions of your gender identity.
  • Deny the existence of non-binary gender identities even when there is ample, worldwide, evidence of their existence.
  • Argue that anyone who disagrees with them is in denial/delusional.
And I suspect that there are many who think this is reasonable behaviour. After all, a psychiatrist is an expert on the way people think. So who better to judge transgender people than a psychiatrist?
Well, when the population as a whole feels it acceptable to allow a psychiatrist to judge their gender and/or sexuality perhaps I will feel it acceptable for them to judge mine.
Until then, for the reasons I give above, I can only conclude that to single out transgender people for this treatment is prejudice with the cloak of acceptability that the psychiatric profession gives it.