I’ve pretty much given up on pointing you folks at online petitions about trans people because most of them only attract a few hundred signatures and are easily ignored by those they are aimed at. This one, however, has serious traction, thanks to it being backed by the stars of the My Transsexual Summer series.
The purpose of the petition is to encourage the World Heath Organisation to remove transsexualism from its list of mental illnesses. The WHO moves very slowly. It wasn’t until 1990 that they removed homosexuality from the same list. Another revision is due, and it is time that the WHO caught up with current medical thinking. Medical professionals working in the field of trans health called for de-psychopathologisation (lovely word) more than two years ago. The EU has petitioned the WHO to make the change. Hopefully, with a few more kicks up the backside, the WHO will move on this. You can help.
Some of you may have seen rumblings of discontent in trans communities that this change will somehow cause trans people to be denied treatment. It won’t. Or at least compared to the usual tabloid scare stories about waste of public money it will be a very minor issue. No one is saying that trans people don’t sometimes need medical procedures. What they are saying is that trans people are not crazy.
For those people who do have surgery, not much post-op treatment is required. However, trans women like me do need a regular supply of estrogen to prevent them developing osteoporosis. It’s very cheap. In fact I believe that the NHS makes a profit on prescribing it. But because successive GPs have insisted that I’m mentally ill, even long after a successful transition, I still have to spend a lot of money each year on visiting a private specialist to be declared sane before I’m allowed my prescription. I am sick of this. The main thing that causes trans people mental health problems is other people’s attitudes towards us. I’d like that to stop. Starting with the WHO.
Update: Here’s the excellent Monica Roberts with more on the background to the depsychopathologisation campaign.