Stigma, Discrimination, and Barriers to Care
We are not the problem. Society is the problem
Guideline 5. “Psychologists recognize how stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and violence affect the health and well-being of TGNC people.”
Guideline 6. “Psychologists strive to recognize the influence of institutional barriers on the lives of TGNC people and to assist in developing TGNC-affirmative environments.”
Guideline 7. “Psychologists understand the need to promote social change that reduces the negative effects of stigma on the health and well-being of TGNC people.”
When commenting on the stigma, discrimination, and barriers to care that transgender and gender non-conforming persons suffer daily in society, I find it impossible to structure my commentary to conform to three pedantic tidy guidelines as has been done by The Psychologist magazine when the Guidelines were published in December 2015. This approach seemed more applicable for a dispassionate etiology of a physical disease than as what the reality of the human condition is for so many of us.
Being transgender or gender non-conforming is a social problem generated by the ignorance, fear, and hatred of the society we find ourselves in. We are denied employment and housing, just because we are who we are. Many of us are shunned by our families, just for who we are. Most of us think of suicide, at some time in our lives, as a solution to the bullying we receive for being who we are. Many of us are feared and hated so much we are physically assaulted, raped, tortured, and murdered just for being who we are. We have annual meetings where we remember our dead. And still we persist. We have to. This is who we are.
The above is our reality. And if you think you can help us in our pain and suffering by reading books and not walking in our shoes as transgender or as an ally of transgender and gender non-conforming persons, you will cause more harm than good in trying to help us with our issues.
It would be absurd to consider persons with skin pigmentation different from the pigmentation of the majority population to be suffering from a physical or mental disease or living in “sin”.. Yet I get the impression that psychological practitioners who are not themselves transgender or gender non-conforming think they can learn about the phenomena by reading the “right” books and attending the “right” lectures. TGNC clients and patients, when encountering medical, counseling, and other professionals who have limited or no experience dealing with them, end up educating the practitioners! This is referred to derisively as “Transgender 101”.
Psychologists and other practitioners need to become familiar with the support groups and other resources in their area for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming persons. When they feel competent to confront the stigma, discrimination, and barriers to care encountered by TGNC persons, they need to speak up and do what they can to alleviate these conditions.
THE NEED FOR A DISCUSSION OF INTERSEXUALITY (LGBTI)
A side issue in the transgender and gender non-conforming paradigm is the existence of Intersex persons, referred to medically as being born with Disorders (or Differences, to tone it down,) of Sexual Development. Some of these persons are satisfied with the genders assigned at birth, despite the ambiguity of their external genitalia. Most of these persons were forced to fit, shortly after birth by way of genital surgery to be either Male or Female in gender.The United Nations refers to these persons in terms of biological diversity. They deserve a rightful place in the LGBT acronym, LGBTI, whether they consider themselves transgender or not. In migration and forced displacement matters, persons of diverse sexual orientation (LGB), gender identity (T), and biological diversity (I) are all at-risk for sexual assault and violence as they languish in refugee camps waiting for settlement in a welcoming country.+[In writing this post the irrationality of my human condition is quite evident. This is nothing I apologize for. It was the existentialists and phenomenologists of Continental Europe that motivated me to return to university and obtain my MA. For now, advocating for the human rights of LGBTI persons worldwide is my purpose in life*.
*Interested readers are encouraged to read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Frankl was a Viennese psychoanalyst who developed a therapy for survival and growth while an inmate in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. This method of existential healing came to be known as Logotherapy. Developing a Purpose in Life is an integral part of Logotherapy.]
#LGBTIEquality #Transgender #Intersex
Roberta A Westerberg, MA *Skickat från min svenska IPad.🇸🇪