Rethinking Struggle


Last post I wrote, I discussed the idea of transition as a struggle – a struggle to be heard and a struggle to chance the face of transgender healthcare. I was worried, in particular, about practices in which transgender caretakers are forced to wait for hormone therapy because they have additional (psychological) diagnosis.

When I expressed this concern to my gender therapist last week (or rather over the course of last week, in a joint discussion with another professional), he called me back and said that I had gotten the wrong impression. I did not need a permission slab for testosterone from him, he said, and solving all my emotional problems certainly wasn´t a prerequisite.

Needless to say I was kind of confused. I had been pretty convinced that I was going down that road, down the same struggle so many others have experienced. My experiences at the gender clinic in Amsterdam and my identification with the stories of others encouraged me to walk into transition with my head held high and a low threshold for any “bullshit“.

I think this is good on one account – in my opinion it is better to be informed than to be naive – but on the other hand it might have completely clouded my judgement and caused me more suffering than necessary. It is good that we, as a community, relate so much to each other. However, in my case, it might also have led to the idea of transgender care as a predictable phenomenon.

Now, I have no idea where I´m going from here. I know my therapist said I don´t need a permission slab, but I do still need a diagnosis, which ultimately isn´t much more than that – a piece of paper that says I should be allowed to take hormones. I am still not comfortable with being picked apart psychologically to see what´s “wrong” with me and take it into account.

But I´ve expressed my discomfort. And even if this doesn´t turn out to be some epic struggle for justice in the transgender world, then it´ll still be my struggle, to be heard, to create some kind of social space in which I can negotiate transition on my own terms. If anything, transition will provide me with an opportunity to rediscover my trust in people while staying true to my self.

Photo: Henry Hustaya


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