Friday, 28 August 2009

The Pro-Transition Bias

I am concerned about what I see as the pro-transition bias apparent with some transsexuals pushing some who need good advice (especially when professional councillors may not be available) toward something which may be inappropriate for whatever reason.

Now I do not wish to convey a holier than thou stance. Like a corporate email I feel I should perhaps put a disclaimer on all comments made, something like; "I am not a qualified doctor or councillor. Please take suitable qualified advice. Please be aware the author may be talking utter pants with a bra side dish". Maybe it should apply to everyone and repeated regularly spoken really fast like the regulatory mandated disclaimers at the end of radio adverts.

This is not everyone, some are just wonderful which is why I emphasised the word some. It could be down to a collective groupthink descending on the meeting. I would hate think there were more selfish motivations at work.

Sections within some of the trans communities do not need to act as pullers it can be bad enough for some having to deal with those attempting to push the person away from transitioning. All of which leads me to conclude that if you are not sure the last thing you should do is ask a bunch of trannies. As I said before this is big stuff.

I may be reading too much into it or seeing things not there.


  1. Difficult one, Lucie...

    A number of questions spring to my mind...

    If someone already identifies as trans, is it OK to offer that person advice as to how to find out more?

    If someone is unsure of whether they are trans or not, is it OK to offer that person advice on who to contact or a book to read?

    If someone indentifies as trans and says they want to go onto hormones, is it OK to offer advice as to how they can find out more, and the alternative ways of procedding.

    I can see that some people might claim that either of those courses of action is pushing someone in a certain direction ie, potentially towards transition.

    At the end of the day I can't imagine any trans person telling someone who is undecided or unsure that they are certainly trans and should go ahead. Does this really happen?

    My own experience is that trans people have helped me a lot, by giving me details of their own experience, and advice based on that. Nothing any of them has said has induced me to proceed along this road.

    If anything, the opposite is true; some of the information I have been given has provided me with plenty of excuse for stopping.

    So a very grey area, I think...

  2. I was told by Dr Curtis that you cannot be diagnosed by any known test to confirm that you have GID, it is entirely down to how you yourself feel.

    And that is it, period. It is down to YOUR decision, not what anyone says however qualified or experienced they may be (including professionals).

    Ultimately it will be you that shoulders the burden of transition so it is definitely something to think VERY carefully about.

  3. I don't know if this is what you mean, Lucy, but what I can't stand is the "cheerleading" aspect of this support. Someone on a blog or a forum announces something or does something and there is a whole chorus of "you go girl" from people who don't even know the person.

    I doubt it comes from actual transsexuals, though. I suspect it's the work of fakers and fantasists living vicariously through other people's lives.

    I think the wisest thing I did in my transition was to gradually remove myself from all this so-called support.

    Because, ultimately, if a person really needs that sort of validation then they probably shouldn't be doing it!

  4. @ Stephanie W.

    The thing is that people are offered that level of "support", regardless of their wishes in the matter.

    It's not that they "need" it.

    I dare say that for some it is unwelcome, but I'm also sure that for others it is useful.

    And of course it is always "support" AFTER the receiving individual has taken a decision, or has reached a milestone, so it's unlikely to influence them one way or another.

    I doubt if such "support" is all the work of fantasists and fakers. I expect that most people just offer it as a genuine gesture of solidarity.

    But each to their own, of course. As Fiona said, it's an indivisual decision all along the line, as is how we handle it.


  5. @Chrissie. Surely, it was clear I was referring only to to what I called cheerleading? And that cheerleading support never seems to come from post-ops but always from people who, if they are genuine at all, are transvestites or in some kind of perpetual transition.

    The best support I ever got was quite simple: Be a woman.

  6. Most trans people I've met so far seem very happy with the direction they're heading in, and wish they could go faster. I suppose the comparisons we make on bust development and so on do make it something of a friendly race that we can all eventually win. And that this tends to keep everyone in the running. But I can't see any obvious signs of a 'recruiting drive' at work.

    People do drop out. They choose to do it themselves, and it isn't seen as failure, or a matter for scorn. Rather there is sympathy and concern, as there is often a personal difficulty that has caused the departure, such as the attitude of parents or a partner, or a long-term alcohol problem.

    I accept that I only know the Brighton scene, and only for a few months at that.

  7. I think 'groupthink' is exactly right Lucy. A small minority of TS people can be extremely condescending and trans-snobbish. They gain self-esteem and measure their value by their progress on the road to becoming a 'real' woman. To validate the choices they have made, otherss must follow them, they must have done something that others aspire to, so they both belittle and encourage others.

    I backed-out of a lot of internet activity and TG forums when I took a look around other forums and found the same sort of cheerleading amongst extreme body-builders, anorexics etc. The last place anyone who is having personal problems (of any kind) should look for advice, is the internet.

  8. I think you've identified a problem, perhaps inherent in all communities. We all want our choice to be correct, and a larger group of those who chose similarly affirms our beliefs. Whether it's religious, politics, what we wear, or who we hang out with.

    For a decision this important you need someone who is focused on your best interests, not satisfying their own neediness.

    Well said hon.

  9. Interesting post, Lucy, and interesting comments.

    I can see where there could be some peer pressure to transition when that really may not be the right thing for a particular person. I have seen this locally, with others, but I have not had the experience. I have several post transition friends who support my decision to remain status quo without preaching in any way.

    @ Stephanie - I guess I am guilty of being a cheerleader once in a while but I generally do it in blog comments where I feel the particular girl needs some support. I do see your point.

    Calie xxx


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