If there´s one thing that makes me sick to my stomach, it´s the term “real life phase”. Therapists who are registered as “gender professionals”, use this term to indicate a phase in which you live as your identified gender and thus you can see if it´s a fit for you. In the past months, these therapists tell me the following.
“You need to go through a real life phase in order for us to decide that you can get surgery”. This phase, in their head, is an imaginary and random amount of time, which starts when you visit their office for the first time, and ends when they think they have observed you are male/female enough.
As a reader of my blog, you will be able to tell how ridiculous and absurd this is. I am equally male as any other – since 2015, I look male, I sound male, my passport has an M in it, my birth certificate even has an M on it. In fact, I am stealth in most situations where people have no idea of my history. And I like it that way.
There´s a couple of things wrong with this. The first one, the absurd nature of it, which I´ve just noted. The second, is the fact that these are people who deem themselves more capable than other (psycho)therapists to diagnose gender dysphoria. These are the people who should most understand the transgender case and life.
And yet they don´t. They claim they do. But if anyone – therapist or not – has the sheer audacity of telling me that I am undergoing a “phase” – which they are qualified to “diagnose” – they are just delusional. I´m very sorry, if with this term I offend anyone, but I think this must be said, I think this is true. And I intend to make this clear.
This so called phase undermines my self esteem and frequently makes me feel deeply depressive, simply because people are either unwilling to allow me to make changes to my body, or have no real understanding of what dysphoria really is, or both. This so called phase is my damn life. You want to diagnose gender dysphoria? Try respect.