Archives for posts with tag: transsexuals

I’ll admit that this week’s blog post from me has little to do with David Valentine’s examination of the category “transgender.”  His examination of this category is very  interesting, it complicates our own understanding of gender and sexuality from gender studies classes, as well as how we interact and communicate our understandings with people who do/don’t share this same background. However, what interests me is what is missing. I couldn’t help but notice that there were very little drag kings, butches, or FTM individuals in this ethnography. While Valentine does address that this is missing in the book multiple times, I still kind of think it was a cop out. Valentine’s writes

while I talked to, interviewed, and spent time with FTMs and female-bodied masculine people, the vast majority of my research was conducted with MTF transsexual-and transgender-identified people and male-bodied feminine people (24).

One of the reasons he offers is because there was not a social space where FTM’s  or female-bodied masculine people organized or congregated as a group (260). This is in contrast with the balls that he visited where male-bodied fem queens and butch queens were able to congregate as a group. However, he admits there were female-bodied butches at these venues, but it was much more centered around male-bodied fem queens and butch queens (260). While this is true, it still would have been interesting if Valentine could have either searched harder for different venues or just interviewed  more female-bodied masculine people. It would have also been interesting he had spent time trying to understand why there are more spaces that are centered around male-bodied feminine people.

While he does pose the question

if it is true that the broader cultural models of ‘transgender ‘ are being formulated around the experiences of those who were born male, what does this say about the category itself? (24)

However, this feels like an empty question posed to the reader to examine, but not really examined  by Valentine. This question is fascinating though. It highlights how the term ‘transgender’ is centered around the experiences and knowledge of individuals that were born male, not female. What does this say about the term? Is it suggesting the experiences of individuals born female are not as important? Is this just another instance of inequality in a patriarchal hierarchy? I just wish Valentine would have integrated this question and similar ones more into the text and investigated them more, rather than simply glossing over them and female-bodied masculine individuals and FTMs.


By Kristy Wilson

As a pre-med student at IU, it sometimes stings to see what harm medicine has done in the past. The effects of medicalization have helped and harmed communities for centuries. Historically, lepers were locked away from civilization until medicine found a way to treat them. When HIV was first discovered, the same kind of confinement was proposed. I think the initial thought is that medicalizing something different at least gives people an excuse for why others don’t fit in to the status quo. I feel like humans fear what they don’t know, but medicalizing some peoples’ lifestyles lead to more acceptance because these folks have medical issues instead of deviant intentions. But instead of making excuses, we should just realize there will never be a wrong and right way as people. The billions of us share billions of differences though on the inside we look almost the same.  As soon as people come to terms with the fact that it is all right to be different, we will begin to see changes in society.

Even though this class has pointed out a lot of trouble with medicine and the LGBTQ community, it drives me to be a doctor even more. Demedicalization of some “disorders” is necessary and can likely only be accomplished if people deeply connected to the medical community can open eyes and make changes. want to provide services to as many people as possible. I have always wanted to be an OBGYN, so with the knowledge I have, I hope to be able to serve all female bodied patients, whether surgically so or not, and learn about how to work with different sorts of people. Doctors are allowed to decide who they want to take on as a patient, and I think very few doctors have been trained in trans medicine and most do not know how to treat a trans patient, even just as a general health physician. We need to recognize the growing need for trans-medicine and enable doctors to seek training in that field.  I think there are positive and negative consequences to demedicalizing the identity of trans. On one hand, fitting into this category may help provide people with social and medical services that they would not qualify for if they did not have a “condition”.  On the other hand, if I were a trans person, I would not want to be diagnosed with a disorder when I was completely healthy and happy, as well as confident in knowing who I am. The current viewpoints towards the trans community in our nation needs to be refigured, but I can see the trouble with restructuring our system as it seems that either way, some will lose access to healthcare. Instead of a few people taking on this responsibility, it would be amazing for more doctors to take on the responsibility to learn about a group of people that need medical attention.

This blog shows one person’s feelings about the medical community deeming them as having a disorder for being trans. They view the medicalization as being hurtful and harmful. While their points are valid, it would seem like many arguments can be made for the positive aspects of medicalization as well, making this topic complicated and also necessary to discuss.

Parisa Mansoori

After reading Dean Spade’s article, I realized how many issues need to be worked out between society and the trans-gender community. I’ve never thought so deeply about all the unnecessary troubles trans people face in the world. Spade mentions that he is disappointed there is only one “type” of trans-gender. This point stood out to me because when dealing with such a dynamic situation, an individual, each person has been formed into their sexuality through personal experiences and no two transsexuals should feel that they are exactly the same transsexual, because each person is different. One of Spade’s main political goals was to develop more categories of trans gender and thought no one should be reduced to only being thought of as a trans person.

Majority of Spade’s piece was about the de-medicalization of trans gender. His ideas about the outcome of de-medicalization, should it ever occur, include:
an end to gender designation on government documents, end of gender segregation of bathrooms and locker rooms, end of involuntary “corrective” surgeries for babies who are intersex, self identification would be the determining factor for a person’s membership in a gender category to the extent that knowledge of the person’s membership in such a category is necessary, and psychiatric and medical evidence would no longer be furnished by trans to establish legitimacy.

Many problems stand in the way of the de-medicalization though…

Insurance claims are a main worry and are foreseen to be a problem with de-medicalization. There are also limited disability rights claims and problems finding doctors to do trans operations. Also, many trans people are of low income, minority areas and are not familiar with the gender model. This prevents them from understanding themselves within the gender model and understanding what they wish for in a trans identity.


Alexandra Fath

In class we talked about the new National ID that might pop up sometime in the future. I hadn’t really heard anything about it so I decided to investigate it. It stems from the Real ID Act that was adopted back in 2005 that would allow the DMV to link up to all the other DMV’s around the nation. This would allow police officers to have quicker access to anyone’s driver license records no matter what state they come from. This would also make it a lot easier for police to detect card theft. However, not all States have complied with this ID Act. Right now in Indiana we have what is called the Secure ID. To get it you must present your birth certificate, SSN, prove you are legally in the US, and reside in Indiana. Essentially, its a “more secure” driver license, whatever that means. I could find little information on the actual DMV website for the state of Indiana explaining why the new ID was needed, what was actually on it, and what benefits it provided. All they included was what was needed to obtain the new ID and how to get it. I thought it was interesting that not even an image of the new ID was on the website, which leads me to assume it is the same as the driver licenses that are issued. However, this is probably not the case. Other websites have said the Real ID stores and scans personal information such as your Social Security number and birth certificate information. Sounds a little dangerous right? Carrying all this information around in your back pocket.

Now there is another card in the works, a National ID card. It’s sort of a Social Security card on steroids. While right now its not supposed to have nay personal information on it, this could easily change. What is to stop it from containing private information, medical information, or tracking devices. Also, because its supposed to be universal what would stop it from being required to get medicine, or receive treatment?

It is especially important to think about the implications of a National ID card after reading Dean Spade’s essay. While the process to receive hormones or surgery is already difficult, a National ID card would make this an even more complicated process. To be considered transsexual by the medical community requires individuals seeking surgery or hormones must conform to the diagnostic criteria for a GID diagnoses (Spade 25). Only once they have attained the notes from their doctors proving their sex can they change their sex on official documents or legally change their name (Spade 26).  The addition of a National ID card would make this process even more difficult. Not only would it be one more document to change, but it is probably a much more difficult and time consuming document to change. Also, if the card does contain personal information, such as medical information, a transsexual individual’s private medical information would be visible for anyone who can scan for it. Lastly, if this card is required to get hormones or receive surgery and for some reason they don’t have it, its lost or stolen, then they don’t have access to their hormones or their surgery could be pushed back.  While this card is meant to provide protection it in many ways limits and causes hindrances on peoples lives, especially transsexuals.

By Kristy Wilson