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CHRISTIE ELAN-CANE

NON-GENDERED

Fighting for legal and social recognition outside the gendered societal structure

 

 

GOVERNMENT ACTION PLAN ON TRANS EQUALITY – 2nd online survey

 

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) have put out  the second of what proposes to be a series of online surveys and they want to hear our views as part of an ongoing information gathering exercise that will go towards shaping the Action Plan later in the year.

 

The response from the first online survey (to assess areas of ‘priority’ from the perspective of the transpopulation) revealed unsurprisingly that healthcare issues featured prominently with 50% of 1,275 respondents naming healthcare as top priority.

 

The second survey focuses on healthcare and is same format as before – questions where the respondent selects from a series of preset options with the chance to add brief comment after the questions.

 

I found this survey particularly difficult to complete due to the lack of provision within the healthcare services for non-gendered transpeople.

 

An appropriate treatment path for pre-operative non-gendered transpeople is not currently available at GICs (the generic name of these establishments represents something of a giveaway – see my comments further down this posting) and therefore many of the questions regarding healthcare as offered to gendered transpeople simply do not apply. I used the opportunity in the comments boxes to indicate the shortcomings and failings of existing healthcare services however.

 

Completion took nearly two hours this time – although this was mainly due to the difficulty of matching my responses appropriately with questions that were not always strictly relevant to the issue while trying to steer away from pathologisation of this fundamental human rights issue.

 

It is really important and I cannot stress how much that non-gendered human beings within the United Kingdom participate in this process. It requires thought and can be tiresome but these survey results will go towards directing future government policy. If certain questions are not relevant and do not afford to non-gendered transpeople the opportunity to respond in a way that highlights the issues specific to our needs, then we should express in our own words – and in no uncertain terms – what those needs are.

 

What is required is good quality healthcare that is respectfully appropriate to our specific needs as non-gendered human beings throughout such times as before, during and after the period of our physical transition.

 

The trans e-bulletin no. 2 begins with a message from Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister for Equalities. The GEO survey can be accessed from the message on page 2  http://www.equalities.gov.uk/pdf/2nd%20transgender%20e-bulletin.pdf

 

You have until 17 July 2011 to return the survey. The GEO assure all response will be treated as confidential. Contact the GEO at transgender@geo.gsi.gov.uk for all related enquiries.

 


TERMINOLOGY: - I do not have a ‘gender identity’. Why is there an ongoing failure to get it right?

 

I would never usually repeat the entire text of a previous posting in a new entry – but this is such an important point and something I need to stress over and again. The use of inappropriate terminology that negates the validity of our identity is not and never has been acceptable.

 

I’ve said very little about this before - until quite recently. Because it was hard enough to get the issue of non-gendered identity - human identity outside the gendered societal structure – onto a stable political platform where the issue could be taken forward, and although it was always with much reluctance I resisted the inclination to risk further complication through being critical when references began to materialise that did acknowledge the fact that some transpeople do not fit neatly into a gendered social model comprising male versus female. But I am no longer prepared to remain silent when the content of what I see and hear leaves me feeling little or no better than if no reference had been made at all. Because it would appear that many organisations and individuals purporting to be supportive of the diversity of the transpopulation or those who claim an inclusive mandate either give scant regard or just have no perception of what it is to be non-gendered.

 

Is it really so difficult to comprehend that a non-gendered identity is not a ‘gender identity’?

I find reference from a whole range of sources that acknowledge the fact that some within the transpopulation do not identify as male or female and then go on to bracket this valid human identity as a ‘gender identity’ or ‘gender diverse’ or something equally inappropriate.

 

Elementary lesson number one: The gendered societal structure comprises two genders: male and female. An identity that is neither male nor female is not a ‘gender identity’. It is an ‘identity’.

 

Core identity’ is acceptable, and so is ‘personal identity’ or just ‘identity’ but not ‘gender identity’. It is not appropriate to reference the non-gendered identity as ‘gender identity’. It is nonsensical terminology in that it is an obvious contradiction. And such careless misuse of reference automatically excludes non-gendered human beings from any processes or initiatives where the objective is assumed to be the advancement of fundamental human rights for all transpeople.

 

The most common overarching reference for LGBT initiatives used by various governments, agencies, NGOs and other human rights and campaign groups is ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ often abbreviated to ‘SOGI’. The use of this supposed catch-all term is discriminatory in that non-gendered human beings are excluded through inappropriate terminology from processes that claim to support all LGBT. With ‘SOGI’ there is the inference that all humanity is gendered.

 

I would like to believe the reason that terminology has not moved forward and progressed in order to accommodate issues that have more recently found a platform is there remains very limited public exposure and consequentially there is still a fundamental lack of knowledge even where some level of awareness might reasonably be assumed (from trans and LGBT organisations for instance).

 

So is the continued reference to non-gendered as ‘gender identity’ down to ignorance or laziness? Either way, it is discriminatory, a factually incorrect misuse of terminology and not acceptable.

 


YOUTUBE VIDEO

 

The video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ3I5XiwDd8

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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