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Monday, December 11, 2006

Standards of care are very worthwhile

In dealing with transsexualism, medical professionals require us to follow the Harry Benjamin standards of care (SOC). These standards are a minimum set of requirements that a transsexual must follow prior to obtaining irreversible gender reassignment surgery. They include reasonable requirements for therapy, hormone treatment, and living full time in a role of the new gender for one year. Many self diagnosed (aren't we all?) transsexuals have a difficult time in following the standards of care for various reasons. This is usually for financial reasons or the individual feels that living in the opposite role is not necessary.

The standards of care are reasonable. I believe that variations on these standards are acceptable and necessary depending on each case. These can be worked out between therapist and patient. However, we must maintain the standards of care. I believe that they should not be abandoned on a whim. We are telling the rest of society that we are different and we have set up some definitions, some rules, things that HELP us get along with the disbelievers. This is another perspective to the SOC I've never seen discussed.

On the other side of the fence, for the rest of the world looking in, we have some labels, some definitions, procedures, and safeguards that help THEM to understand and deal with us. It helps us to be able to use a restroom if we can say that we are following a well established procedure. You all know how I feel about labels, boxes, and definitions. But sometimes they are beneficial and necessary.

The SOC is much more than what applies to US. Remember, WE are very self centered. The world does revolve around US. Step outside the hoola hoop kids. Try to see what the SOC means to your average citizen who has no understanding of our problems other than what they have been told all their lives. Many are perfectly open to accept us if we show them that yes, although we are different, we have safeguards, we have a methodology that we are following. They know, although they may disagree, that we have medical professionals working with us to change our lives.

Our public's education and experience with transsexualism for the most part is watching us go through our transition as we follow these standards of care. People we know and strangers alike watch us as we change. They see us transform our own lives and deal with the problems we face in real time. There is no better teacher my friends than this real life experience. They all learn from our experience in our real life test, part of the standards of care.

A perfect world would not require it all. But we live in a society. A lot of this stuff benefits our society. It helps it to learn, to grow along with us, and hopefully to some day understand. When that day comes, I'm sure we'll have a much different set of rules to follow. Perhaps we'll be able to dismiss them altogether.

In the mean time, following the standards of care will help us as we transition. And in a very big way, this will help our society learn to accept us.

Copyright 2006 by Cindi Jones RSS feeds allowed

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