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CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE

NON-GENDERED

Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure
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WPATH Standards of Care Version 7
 
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care V7 are now published.
 
The document is essentially WPATH recommended guidance for the medical professionals involved in the treatment of patients undergoing the physical process of transition.
 
WPATH are inviting feedback from the profession and it is vitally important that feedback is provided by transpeople in order to shape future versions of this evolving document.
 
You can find the free online version of the document and email your feedback from the WPATH site
 http://www.wpath.org/
 
 
My Feedback on WPATH SocV7
 
WPATH SoC V7 Glossary: Gender nonconforming: Adjective to describe individuals whose gender identity, role, or expression differs from what is normative for their assigned sex in a given culture and historical period.”
 
The vague and broad term used throughout WPATH SoC V7 – ‘gender nonconforming’ - essentially means different things to different people (much as ‘transgender’ had widely different connotations until adopted as a universal umbrella term – and now pretty meaningless). My understanding is that ‘gender nonconforming’ applies to a person who is gendered but does not present/behave in the way typically associated with their gendered role but cannot really be described as a transperson because the core identity aligns with the appropriated gendered role (and usually no desire or need for surgery), it is just the presentation that differs from the cultural stereotype associated with that person’s gendered role.
 
The early 1980’s has several iconic examples where the term might apply although predominantly this was guided by fashion at the time and proved in many cases to be temporary (eg. Annie Lennox) although others were, for want of a better term, more genuine in that there was a semblance of permanence which became more muted over the years (eg. Boy George, Grace Jones) and others for whom the term still applies (eg. Pete Burns is someone I would feel this label probably applies).
 
To use gender nonconforming in the context used in WPATH SoC V7 would imply some sort of acceptance of an appropriated gendered role whereas, as a transperson of NON-GENDERED IDENTITY, this is not the case for me. I believe it is important to clarify the difference between gender nonconforming and a non-gendered identity because, having read through the lengthy WPATH document, this distinction is not made clear. Furthermore ‘gender nonconforming’ is referenced throughout the document whereas the non-gendered identity is not referenced at all.

I did note a brief reference that the ‘binary’ model should not be imposed by medical practitioners and that is a welcome addition but I would have preferred also that the SoC document contained an affirmative acknowledgement that some transpeople who present themselves for surgery have an objective to remove gendered characteristics rather than acquire new ones. I did note the WPATH recommendation that some surgical procedures should be available without prior administration of hormones to patients who were unwilling to take hormones but no cross referencing to human identity outside the gendered societal structure, or any reference to transpeople who reject the characteristics of male and female gendered roles within those paragraphs of the document.
 
 
I THOROUGHLY OBJECT to the use of the term “gender queer” in this document. As a human being and a transperson of NON-GENDERED IDENTITY, I find this term INAPPROPRIATE AND OFFENSIVE. It is furthermore a stupid and MEANINGLESS term. I wonder how the highly privileged people who continue to apply this most inappropriate label to a socially invisible and disenfranchised group of human beings would feel if the same label were applied to them!
 
I am NON-GENDERED. I am not gender anything and I am most certainly not queer. I am trying to achieve legal recognition and visibility for the non-gendered identity against almost insurmountable odds due to the all-encumbering nature of the gendered societal structure as the dominant social model of western culture. I aspire to legal recognition, social visibility and to be treated as an EQUAL within society rather than as though I were something less than human. The use of such inappropriate language can only serve as a barrier to the acceptance of valid human identity outside the gendered societal structure as its very use in this context instantly sets non-gendered human beings apart from the cultural mainstream.
 
I request that WPATH stop using this inappropriate term to reference non-gendered transpeople – transpeople – human beings – who do not identify as male or female (a non-gendered core identity).
 
My other issue with terminology concerns use of ‘gender identity’ as the definitive term of reference rather than ‘identity’. The non-gendered identity cannot possibly be a gender identity and non-gendered transpeople are thereby excluded by definition when a gendered identity is implied.
 
I have written about this in more detail on my website entry dated 11 July 2011 (entries are in reverse chronological order and earlier entries can be found by scrolling forward) and my second YouTube video is focussed on the specific issue of inappropriate terminology if anyone is interested enough to read/watch/listen.
 
The V7 document does contain some positive developments: “Diversity, not pathology” – very welcome and I certainly agree with that. I have always tried to stress in my campaign this (legal recognition and social visibility for non-gendered identity) is a human rights issue and not a ‘health’ issue. It is our misfortune we have to interact with whatever health services are available in order to achieve our legitimate objective to be able to live as the people we are destined to be. This does not (should not) imply that we are ill.
 
Overall, WPATH are going in the right direction but could – and should – do better.
 
Christie Elan-Cane
NON-GENDERED – Fighting for Legal Recognition
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Christie170?blend=2&ob=5

The denial of existence is the worst act of discrimination by the gendered majority against the non-gendered.

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Christie Elan-Cane
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