Issues With Medicalization and the Trans-Narrative

The medicalization of trans- identities is a problem and that’s putting it lightly. In order for a trans-person or someone who is gender variant to receive medical treatment, one has to undergo the ordeal of having to validate their identity to everyone else in order to “make sure” that this is what the person really wants. While this may be well intentioned, this is actually very harmful to many people. Not only is it harmful to those who do not identify within the binary gendered system or do not have the stereotypical “I’ve always felt this way” narrative, it is harmful for those who do have those experiences.

What the medical community has decided is that an identity is a medical disorder. While that has changed with the advent of DSM-V with the removal of GID (gender identity disorder), this still hasn’t changed the medical practices. Since the medical practices still haven’t changed, being transgender is still, for all intents and purposes, considered a disorder. Not only is this inaccurate (because how someone identifies should never be considered a disorder), it is damaging to those who have had to be inflicted with this label. Sure, a trans-person might not think that there’s anything wrong with how they identify, but the fact that is that they have to agree to labeled with a disorder in order to better express their identity.

As stated in Spade’s essay, one has to have some sort of medical intervention in order to have any legal documents changed that would change your name or your gender maker. This is problematic in that not everyone who wants to legally change their name or their gender marker wants to medically transition. Putting that aside, even if one wants to medically transition one has to constantly talk about their experience as a trans-person. One might not even be a trans-person, but if they want medical treatment they better act like one otherwise they aren’t going to be getting any help. This means that a person who does not follow the “typical trans-narrative” has to either ignore integral parts of their identity or flat out lie in order to receive treatment. And most of the time the people they lying to are the people they’re supposed to be the most honest with – their doctors and their therapists.  Trans-people and gender variant people should not have to mold their identities in order to better fit a predetermined narrative and the medical community should not ask them to do so.

This blog discusses how the trans-narrative hurts on a more personal level. One quote in particular struck me -“it hurts me that THE NARRATIVE is so pervasive, not just because it hurts me in itself, but because it hurts me to know i am hurting others by not even remotely fitting it.” The fact that this person feels bad for being who they are is very sad to me. As someone who felt the need to work the trans-narrative into my own personal narrative in order to transition, I think that something really needs to change within the medical community. People are people and they shouldn’t be made to feel bad for experiencing life in their own unique way. The medical community needs to acknowledge this and change how they give treatment to trans-people and gender variant individuals. 

– Kris Krumb

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