This is more a personal topic than Occupy, but it's definitely something more people need to be aware of. I'm sure many of you who have been reading for a while are aware that my wife, Mrs. Kitty, is transgender. Being trans in America is no piece of cake.
I've posted many an article about trans men and women being attacked and brutalized for no reason, other than the bigotry of those assaulting them. My wife is still going through transition, which means there are times when we come home to use the restroom instead of doing so at events, because someone might accuse her of using the wrong room and take that as an excuse to attack her. It does happen.
It's also difficult to be trans in America because going through SRS (sexual reassignment surgeries) or any other medical procedures related to being trans are often seen as optional, elective treatments that don't need to be covered by insurance. This is despite many a psychologist and psychiatrist coming to the conclusion that for many trans individuals, this is the final needed (NECESSARY) course of treatment. Now, don't get me wrong here. Some trans individuals do not need to go through SRS. But many do. I wouldn't say it is a choice. I don't believe it is. I know a few trans individuals that are content with their bodies, some that need to change a few things, and some that need to complete the full SRS in order to feel whole and complete in their bodies.
I want to get a few things straight here. If I use any terminology that is incorrect, I apologize, and please feel free to correct me in the comments. I would actually appreciate it. I've been with my wife for three years, and before I met her I knew very little about transgender issues or people, in general. I am no expert, and I will not claim to be even close to one.
My wife will be completing the full SRS, but first she has many steps to go through. Unlike typical medical treatments where you jump right into it, therapy and surgery for trans people involves jumping through a lot of hoops. You have to first live as your identified gender for several years while going through hormone therapy treatments, then you go through any other surgeries, such as shaving the Adam's Apple for MtF (male to female), electrolysis for hair removal, breast implants, or breast removal (for FtM).
In most cases, you will have to pay for every bit of it out of pocket. Many trans people cannot afford to do so. This can lead to so many problems... If I remember correctly, trans people have one of the highest rates of suicide. There are many reasons for that as well.
Many people can't accept trans people. This leaves them without jobs, places to live, support of family and friends, and without the medical treatments that will let them be themselves.
If you can't accept trans people, I would have you ask yourself a very big question, and truly think about it.
What if you woke up tomorrow, and your sex had changed? You are still you, but in a different body. Your parts don't match your mind. You tell yourself it's not real, and go to bed, but the next day, it's still true. Every day of your life, you live like this. You don't have the money to change it. Your family and friends disown you, because suddenly you aren't who they thought you were, even though your mind is the same. Your job legally fires you because of the change.
It's heartbreaking, isn't it? I cannot say what most trans people go through. I have, however, seen my wife break down in tears and frustration because she can't understand why she has a woman's brain, but a man's body. I've seen her cry in fear because she wants so badly to have the support of her parents, but is too afraid to tell them because she might lose them. I've seen her get angry at herself for no reason other than her fears overpowering her. I've seen her depressed at the thought that if she comes out and tells her department at school, her teacher may fail her due to his lack of acceptance, and she couldn't prove that's why.
I work hard at school, not only for myself, but to one day be able to afford to help her get the treatment she needs. Needs and deserves.
There are thousands upon thousands of people out there who need help.
If you can, please help support them. This was all brought about because a friend on my Facebook posted a link to an Indiegogo page, where a young man named Craig is asking for help in raising money for his top surgery. Craig explains why he is asking for donations on the page.
If you would like to help Craig, go here: http://www.indiegogo.com/evict-the-bits?c=home
You can also search Indiegogo for "transgender" to find at least a hundred other worthy causes.
Much love and solidarity to all,