Assigning gender and “experts”

From Hverdagstoy
From Hverdagstoy

My daughter is a woman, yet was assigned male at birth. She has given permission to tell this part of her life.

Here in Norway, even now, anything that does not involve penis-hatred, makes you a person who is not a true transgender. Until the law is changed (in the works) a person cannot legally change their gender without a full surgical change of every single gender identifying body-part. That also goes for intersex people. (This law was changed July 2016 and you no longer need a physical transition for change of legal gender) In addition, hormone treatment cannot start at the onset of puberty – even to delay puberty. Unless, you get the diagnose “F.64.0 transseksualisme” at Rikshospitalet, you will be referred to psychological services instead. So people lie about how much they abhor their bodies. Without dysphoria, no treatment.

Through most of her life my daughter has presented as female. From she was about five years old she grew her hair out. It stayed long until a hair-dresser took it into her hands to cut it off. Never went back there again. When she was about ten years old, she came to me and very clearly told me she no longer wanted to be a boy. We sat down, talked about it and figured out exactly what she meant. I said I would see what information I could find and if there was a place we could turn for help.

I called around and said something like, “I have a daughter who is experiencing …… Is there any person there who can help her.” Norway is a small country (5 mill) and our access to specialists on gender in children is small. One place that is supposed to provide such expertise is Institutt for klinisk sexologi og terapi. Its founder is considered one of Norway’s foremost experts on sexuality. His name is Thore Langfeldt. This is the person we went to, and we thought we were in safe hands.

The short and simple of this acquaintance was that Sophia needed to work through her bullying and all would be well. By “well” it was understood that Sophia would be comfortable being a boy. I am Aspergers. Eleven years ago I was leaving Mormonism and had no clue about what gender really was. I’d always (and still do) presented as non-conformative as female. The idea of gender has confused me for as far back as I can remember. Some people call that gender queer. Me, I call it me. All three factors led me to accept Langfeldt’s verdict, and Sophia’s went through many years of unnecessary identity-struggles.

How life would have been for her, if Langfeldt had listened better and been a bit wiser is impossible to say. Perhaps better. Perhaps worse. Prejudice exists everywhere. What we can know is what did happen. Because Sophia was female in all but clothing (we aren’t exactly very fashion/gender-conscious) the boys would not accept her. But neither would the girls. All because of an initial. Things got dark in periods. Suicide was often thought of and planned by Sophia. During a two-year period she even tried presenting as male. All of the symptoms of depression were there.

Finally, the autumn of 2014, Norwegian TV2 showed a documentary series called “Født i feil kropp“. She once again went to Langfeldt who claimed she was “just gay” and to not tell us. Sophia knew she was very much into women. Thankfully, she found a better shrink. One who claimed that she was one of the most obvious cases of trans-woman that he had met. She told us. No problem. Here she is, one year after starting hormone treatment, and her hormone levels are well within female levels. She looks, sounds and behaves more like the world views women than I do.

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4 thoughts on “Assigning gender and “experts”

    1. Hope so. The US just had a few more killings of transwomen (2 African-American, and some beatings) independent of the Florida massacre.
      There is more acceptance in Europe, at least in the countries where we do not have hate-rhetoric spouted by the media.

  1. It turns out that transgender people who are consistently transgender from childhood on have a strong biological difference in their brains and this difference can been seen from as early as two years on.
    In Norway doctors will operate intersex children no matter what the parents say. For some reason their genital must be identical to what the registry says. But sometimes it is difficult to tell.
    The whole gender thing is crazy. I have never identified as a gender and the whole male/female thing confuses me. In my head you aren’t your genital, but somehow society does not see it the same way.
    For Sophia it has been life-changing to finally get to be a girl. Her boyhood wasn’t “good enough” for society. Now, no person doubts she is a girl. All of that wasted bullying if we had listened to her instead of the “experts”.
    There is so much hysteria around making our children behave according to some standard. I was not able to do that. It seemed cruel to make her be who she wasn’t. But it cost her friends and acceptance.

    Now I advise people to not have children. Children are cruel and so are their parent. (Yes even we at times in our stupidity) Hope this made sense.

  2. How confusing! Must every aspect of human life be politicized / socialized? Speaking from ignorance on the topic, my concern would be in “forcing” young children to choose a gender; their brains are unfinished. We mature so late (20s) that the assumption that a 5, 10 or even 15 year-old is “who they are” is a distortion. It seems that such a radical declaration robs them of growing and evolving.

    Female as gender had no meaning for me as an Asperger. I was female, that’s all. It never occurred to me that gender equals identity.

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