Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Aphrodite’s P.R.I.D.E Jamaica, APJ tackles gender identity, transgender misconceptions & an ignorant sociologist

 Caitlyn Jenner (pic from the net)

As the euphoria continues surrounding Bruce Jenner’s transition from male to female and subsequent pre-released photos via the magazine Vanity Fair’s online edition for June 2015, a firestorm of sorts has also erupted here in Jamaica regarding gender identity, misplaced or conflated cross dressing with homosexual intent and supposed imposing foreign values. Sadly when these topics are made to collide or being lumped as one the fear of the unknown comes to dominate rational thinking and all kinds of statements, unqualified diagnoses and pronouncements including psychiatric ones are made that persons who either are transgender or transsexual are mentally ill despite the fact that the guiding instrument for qualified professionals who can make such diagnosis has removed gender dysphorphia (linked to the former Gender Identity Disorder, GID) from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, DSM now in its fifth dispensation. 
"Dysphoria" is a feeling of dissatisfaction, anxiety, and restlessness. With gender dysphoria, the discomfort with your male or female body can be so intense that it can interfere with the way you function in normal life, for instance at school or work or during social activities.

Gender dysphoria used to be called “gender identity disorder.” But the mismatch between body and internal sense of gender is not a mental illness. Instead, what need to be addressed are the stress, anxiety, and depression that go along with it.

The condition has also been called “transsexualism.” But this term is outdated. Some consider it offensive. Now “transgender” is often used to describe someone who feels his or her body and gender do not match.

Gender nonconforming (GNC) is a broader term that can include people with gender dysphoria. But it can also describe people who feel that they are neither only male or only female. Informally, people who identify with both genders or with neither gender might call themselves "genderqueer."

Gender dysphoria is not homosexuality. Your internal sense of your gender is not the same as your sexual orientation.

At the time of this post NNN did not post the audio of the discussion and my recorded copy the quality is not so hot as it was captured by a third party device (phone) but here it is for now, please pardon the static:

Also see some previous posts:

Sexual & Gender Identity Disorders | APA’s proposed changes for DSM 5 2011

APA offers New Position on Transgender Care ......... 2012

Ten Reasons Why the Transvestic Disorder Diagnosis in the DSM-5 Has Got to Go 2010

The difficult task of separating drag culture from transgender identity ....... 2013

Jenner after opening her new Twitter account has broken the record for most followers in a short time as her handle gained over one million followers in less than an hour beating the previous record holder President Obama’s personal handle POTUS just some weeks before. Jenner is a former Olympic athlete of Kardasian parents formerly known as Bruce made her debut as a woman yesterday; goodbye Bruce hello Caitlyn was how some media outlets opened their coverage of the story, Jenner had revealed earlier this year his transition status after years of contemplating and the relevant engagements required for such a life altering activity. In April in that now infamous interview with Diane Sawyer revealed the issues he faced then.

I am a bit concerned about the way the story is being carried both locally and abroad as the novelty like creation of this due to the celebrity-dom of Jenner bearing in mind other persons also have come out and tracked publicly their own transitions. The co-modification element of it in terms of her look and comparisons to what he looked like before prior to the change and thus making transitioning seemed limited to someone's vain idea of being different.

I can understand some of the ignorance and the difficulty for locals to digest this new information for some as the lack of understanding of sex and sexuality (remember the HFLE fiasco?) gender identity and sexual orientation and the exposure for some Jamaicans is limited to the eyes of Hollywood, celebrity gossip and the almost glorification of cosmetic surgery which is not the same as a gender re-assignment surgery for proposes of addressing gender dysphorphia. The comments on social media suggest there is a lot of public education work that is required that our school systems have failed to do hence the resistance.

Nationwide New Network, NNN devoted some forty five minutes of prime time yesterday evening to discuss the issue and help listeners to at least begin to process some of the information coming from the most public declaration exercise as done by Jenner. Guests on the show were Dr Karen Carpenter Board Certified Clinical Sexologist and Psychologist, ‘Satiba’ from Aphrodite’s P.R.I.D.E Jamaica of which I am affiliated and Lecturer (Sociologist) and host of Every Woman on the station Georgette Crawford Williams (sister of PNP member of parliament Damian Crawford); one of the first questions thrown at Satiba by host Cliff Hughes was why has Jenna waited so long at 65 years old to make such a life changing decision?

Satiba responded that many transwomen have to hide their true identity in life .... given her life when she was younger she was a star athlete she would have been under tremendous precious to stay in from the expectations by the public and her team etc, also owing to the fact that she had a family as a man with children one may not want to upset the flow at that time until the kids are old enough. There is a lot of burden of guilt that some persons carry in weighing the decisions of coming out or transitioning so suppression of one’s true self is the modus operandi.

Dr Karen Carpenter was on point with explaining the differences in gender identity and sexual orientation while also pointing to the fact that genitalia is not all that determines ones designation of male or female, she highlighted the Hidras in India and due to their high numbers and visibility in that country a third gender designation has been granted by law however things got a little dicey when Ms Crawford’s turn came around has she went on to designate Satiba and others like her as mentally ill, it was hard to decipher whether she was being fastidious or deliberately contrarian so as to stir up controversy. Even after Dr Karen Carpenter explained gender dysphoria Ms Williams still persisted sighting dubious artciels and studies and even after Dr Carpenter subtle prodding warning her not to make psychological pronouncements as a sociologist while highlighting co-morbid conditions affecting such persons.

Dr Carpenter cautioned:

“We really must remember as professionals we must stay in our lane I will never pronounce as a Sociologist cause I am not a Sociologist ............When we have an opportunity to speak publicly we must be careful of what we say unless it is extremely well informed......”

Miss Crawford Williams then went further to suggest such persons were suicidal as they are out of touch with the bodily reality and even comparing anorexia with gender dysmorphia and the idiotic “cut off a part of their body” is not normal and goes against the societal norms. Satiba was asked to intervene she opened with her line she had to hold her tongue after hearing the mentally ill designation albeit by a sociologist. Satiba then outlined she is in transition and her timeline journey summarised from 2003, she also explained her tipping points to include a suicide attempts and failed heterosexual relationships as a man she could not continue to live a lie.

She continued: 

“I wasn’t happy ......... questions about getting married and having kids ........ this idea of having children then one day finding out about the real me ..... I could not live my life as a lie any longer, so I went out and I sought help I found a doctor who was one of the doctors who actually worked with Dr Harry Benjamin, Dr Ruth Dobar who was the one who diagnosed me and that is where my transition begun.”

Satiba also spoke to her support from her father the most unlikely of persons as she thought he would have been less accommodative and her mother more so however things played out the oppositely; she claimed the devil was in her and so on but Stiba managed to win her over somewhat by presenting research data and so on the subject and it was not about homosexuality as most persons misconstrue gender non conformity to be a gay issue .. She outlined how difficult it was losing family friends and the changes wrought due to the decision to come out.

“I was completely alone, I only had the support of my father and that was a big surprise for me cause I thought he was gonna punch me in the face and tell me get the hell outa my face and he didn't he turned around and said to me you know; you only have one life, if this is gonna make you happy do it, just make sure it’s the right thing and from that I have never looked back, he has been in my corner ever since.”

I was expecting more in the discussion though about the procedures required for the surgery and that the emphasis is on the psychological and psychiatric engagement that precedes the actual transition process. 

Mariela Castro

I wanted to hear about Cuba more so than the United States references as the island neighbour offers state sponsored surgeries and pre and post operative treatment so long as the client is diagnosed by the requisite professional; albeit the communist nation even under Fidel Castro where his daughter Mariela Castro runs an organization named CENESEX which is involved in state television awareness programming on transgenderism and sexuality. I think a non US reference might come over easier to some than a US one as the may justification for resistance of any such gender identity and sexual orientation is the first world is imposing values and new norms.

Previous interviews with Satiba and APJ:

Nationwide Radio's (Jamaica) Everywoman On Gender Identity & Transgenderism

Radio program "Love & Sex" on Sexual Identities & Transgenderism (Were you born in the wrong body?) 2010

Intersexuality, Ambiguous Genetalia & Psycho-social issues Discussion on Nationwide Radio Jamaica 11.09.09

and see:

Peace & tolerance



Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.