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Much has been made in the news about the concept of self identification thereby allowing for the changing of legal gender. No diagnosis. No gender dysphoria. Simply, a form and job done!

I, and many transsexual people I know find the whole idea abhorrent.

Here’s why.

  1. As much as I disagree with gender stereotyping, I don’t think it is too much of a leap to say that male privilege, misogyny and chauvinism blatantly exist and are rampant in society. There WILL be men who see self id as an opportunity to exploit and abuse women through the invasion of women’s spaces. It happens now and it can only get worse.
  2. Medicalisation is removed. I have no issue whatsoever with the fact I was assessed by multiple practitioners across many disciplines before getting a diagnosis. And not just one diagnosis either – I currently have 3, soon to be 4 independent diagnoses. Gender Dysphoria is a psychological condition that is complex in nature and has an overlap with other conditions. When one has the ability to label oneself as transgender, no longer are we screening people with gender identity issues for Borderline Personality Disorder, childhood trauma and abuse and the like.
  3. It renders biological sex meaningless. I may be transsexual but I am not a woman. I more closely conform to the gender roles and stereotypes that society has defined as being female and have done since early childhood but biologically I was born male and that will always be the case. I can change my body to adopt the appearance of female but I will still remain male. That’s not to say of course that I oppose transsexual rights – I don’t but I also don’t think you can ignore biology either. In doing so we end up in situations where vulnerable young girls are exposed to male anatomy on the basis “but trans women are women too”.
  4. Self ID is part of a wider agenda that has seen transsexual people thrown under the bus. If you think by supporting self id you are supporting transsexual people the reality is you aren’t – complete opposite in fact. Self ID erases transsexuals. Self ID for transsexuals means self ID for cross dressers, fetishists and anyone that wants to for any reason.
  5. Self ID implies choice. I didn’t transition out of choice; I tried very hard to resolve Gender Dysphoria without transition through many different forms of therapy and treatments. Transition for me was a last resort done because it was the only way I could ever lead a happy, productive life. It isn’t an easy path but it is a necessary one. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide “today I think I will wear a dress”.
    In the same way no-one would ever wake up one morning and think “I’d like to have my appendix out”; the decision is one that is a logical conclusion based on medical intervention, physical pain and danger to future health.

I don’t think the current system is perfect, but the one thing it does well is prevent anyone becoming legally female unless they can demonstrate a proven ability to live as the opposite gender as well as a formal medical diagnosis of GD from at least two separate practitioners.