The Struggle is Real


My head has been in a tornado-like state since my last appointment. Sam Dylan´s Finch post about not transitioning due to mental illness kept buzzing through my head. I´d known that my therapist could bring up emotional instability as a reason to wait, but now it actually happened. Now I´m in the ring, and the bell has just rung. Round one: Rowan v.s therapist.

My therapist said he´d check out my blog, so it is possible he´s reading along, and thinking that my idea of gender therapy as a boxing match is absurd. That it is too black and white. That it might have been compromised by the exact same exact emotional instability that could play up when I take hormones. Then again, he isn´t the establishment I´m fighting – he´s the messenger.

It does feel like a fight, and we´re all involved. It´s my fight and Sam´s, and possibly yours, and our weapons are words and diplomacy. A fight characterized by a lot of coffee and courteous smiles and “I hear what you are saying“, followed by an avalanche of arguments. An avalanche that just continues to grow and of which I have named a few in my previous posts.

There is a fight and I am playing for the defensive team in my next appointment. I am catching phrases like professionals have said, sensible thing to do, and in your best interest, and throwing them right back. It is my move now, our move now. We are the ones hurt by the established discourse. We are the ones speaking in terms of self determination, informed consent, and empowerment.

To pretend that there is no struggle is to speak from privilege and, to some degree, imagined impartiality. You cannot make a decisions that affect people´s emotional stability, and then duck for cover behind the chance that hormones might affect them too. We are all in on this, you and I, the gender therapists, and the GP´s, the endocrinologists.

Transgender care might be institutionalized, but research about transition has barely grown out of its baby shoes. Checklists and guidelines are made up by people. So every time you feel dwarfed and overshadowed by informed guesses disguised as universal truth, just remember. Little strokes fell great oaks. Our combined battles make a difference.
Photo: Mark Sebastian


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