Why Boycott?

CN: SSM plebiscite, politics, homophobia

 

Unless you’re lucky enough to live under a rock, you have heard -something- about the Australian Government’s “brilliant” idea of getting everyone to vote on whether same-sex marriage should be allowed. You probably also heard a bunch of people saying the vote is rigged, that it’s defeatist, that it’s probably illegal but maybe not, and that it’s homophobic and causing real harm to people.

Antony Green points out that voluntary postal votes have lower participation rates, particularly among groups that might be expected to have more people vote yes. Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court, called it ‘unacceptable‘. It’s been reported that the organisation tasked with managing the vote isn’t up to it, but no alternatives exist. And, of course, now we’re being told that if we don’t vote, it’s our fault if the result is no. But it’s also quite possibly illegal, so.

After my experience with last year’s census, and remembering how my vote wasn’t counted since I couldn’t write neatly enough, being disabled and all, I don’t trust the ABS, even if they’re held to AEC rules, to pull this off. A lot of the damage has been done already, while this issue has been dragged out over years, and people are continually treated as ‘different’ and being ‘othered’ for existing.

While I’m writing this, an interlocutory hearing for an injunction against the vote is being held. I’m hoping PFLAG’s application gets upheld, but Kirby isn’t on the High Court any more, so, I don’t know whether it will.

If it doesn’t, and the vote goes ahead, I intend to boycott.

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The Assumption of Autonomy

TW: medical things requiring a gynaecologist, medical treatment and disability, disability discrimination

 

I’mma say this once more, and only once. Being disabled does not and never should come with the assumption that I do not have bodily autonomy or the ability to make decisions about my body. It also should not come with the assumption that saying stupid stuff should be taken as medical advice, because really, drink more water! eat more food! would have stopped my migraines over a decade ago if it was going to work, wouldn’t you think?

 

What I dislike most about my situation is that I have to fight for every ounce of respect I get. I don’t talk. I am perfectly capable of expressing my thoughts and wishes by typing and, increasingly, by signing. I still have enough intelligence to understand what’s going on around me, and, increasingly, to explain it to others. Just the other day I was explaining union organising theory because certain people couldn’t understand how requiring people to take off their bras to go through security could be considered the least objectionable option. (This is a thing, btw.)

 

So I haven’t slept or eaten today because I had to go to the gynaecologist. Again. And I was told, again, that because I can’t talk, I can’t have the hysterectomy I have been asking for for years, since before I couldn’t talk, since before everything. And you know, it’s risky and I might have pain after and because I already have pain it’s too hard! (Never mind that by already having dealt with chronic pain, I have support already in place and am equipped to deal with it.)

Continue reading The Assumption of Autonomy

Broken is broken

Contains SPOILERS for the BBC show ‘Broken’

I’m going to cut all of this, because seriously, this show has so many triggers in like, four hours (so far), that like, it’s hit the red exit button for everyone I know. Everyone. And in my view, some of it was entirely unnecessary or unnecessarily explicit. But! So under the jump there will be the TW, because apparently some people got past the first five minutes without putting all the pieces together and I do know at least one person who hasn’t even watched those.

Continue reading Broken is broken

A Privileged Position

TW: medical treatment for non-gender-binary and trans people, privilege

 

Side note: rumour has it that one no longer needs to provide ID to get codeine, at least until it goes script-only. Small wins are good, right?

 

So all this medical stuff I’m going through lately, and specifically how people seem unable to see ‘me’ in all this, has made me think about how i fit into the whole thing and how trans* and non-binary people get care. My position is that because i am afab (assigned female at birth), and since that’s generally how people assume when they see me, even if i do my makeup and bind and layer specifically for passing (especially now), i don’t really get put in the position of having to ‘convince’ anyone i was afab for things that is necessary for.

And, it is, unfortunately necessary. Because medical experimentation and treatment outlines and pretty much everything is designated male or female, it’s something that sticks with someone even if they surgically transition and live entirely as their preferred gender identity. (It’s very embarrassing to have to approach FtM relatives, for example, to ask if they had endometriosis, just fyi.) So, because i was afab and because i don’t want to permanently alter how i look, i don’t get the ‘but i was afab so you do need to give me a pap smear’ things.

What i also don’t get is valid and appropriate care for things which should not be gendered but are. Half of my heart is enlarged and i have a family history of heart disease (the rocks fall everyone dies kind of history). Because i don’t present male enough, it isn’t being taken seriously. Nobody knows why my heart is enlarged. Nobody thinks it’s worth looking into, no matter how much noise i make over it. Heart disease is a male illness; the warning signs and treatments are all designed for and tested exclusively on men. The fact that my heart isn’t working how it should, because i do not present male, is not important. The fact that i get dizzy if i move too fast, that my right shoulder doesn’t work, that i get chest pains for no reason – these mean nothing.

Well, i am told that the chest pains are just anxiety, because i have a mental health diagnosis, but then if that was the case it wouldn’t happen exclusively when i’m either sitting doing nothing and being very calm, or in the middle of the most strenuous physical activity i can not fail at doing.

 

Because i present female (even when i don’t mean to), doctors treat me as the stereotypical female. Since i have a mental health diagnosis from when i presented as a female under thirty… every physical thing gets written off as stress. i don’t get second opinions. i don’t get the right scans – just the cheapest. i had an echocardiogram after six months of saying ‘this isn’t right’. The cardiologist sent back a report saying it wasn’t concerning. My family history wasn’t passed on to him. i’m sure my file sits next to my dad’s in their file room, but confidentiality means even if someone noticed, they couldn’t use that as a reason to suspect a connection. Another doctor asked why i hadn’t had an ECG or a stress test, until he saw the report. Then, well…

Because people who present female and still count as ‘young’ are still ‘hysterical’ and ‘its just stress’.

 

And this is before the gynaecologist, where suddenly i’m not dysphoric enough to have a procedure i asked for for medical reasons, and i’m meant to wait until i’m older “in case”.

 

My point is, i think, that having any kind of non-binary or trans identity not only blocks people from accessing care due to the attitudes and assumptions of physicians, but even without those, we can never escape our birth identity. It still defines us, for them. We can’t avoid their boxes and the traits that go with them. Some of us have privilege that matches enough to get what we need; some of us do not. Some of us have to apply labels we don’t identify with to get what we need; some of us do not. Some of us can fight for what we need; some of us can’t.

It’s not us that need to change.

Lack of Lived Experience

TW: medical stuff, ableism, lack of understanding from medical professionals

 

In this post I am going to list things and what people say and try to explain why it’s totally inadequate and ill-informed that they said it. It’s a processing post, because I can’t separate the hurt from anything rational because this all feels so totally irrational to me.

 

You don’t have many pimples anyway, you can just use pimple cream!

People don’t only get pimples on their face. Pimples on the face can be covered with makeup. Judging acne only from what’s on the fact is therefore flawed. I have pimples down my torso to my waist. Some of them form deeply and last for months.

Pimple creams are acidic and generally carry warnings about not coming into contact with clothes. For pimples generally in areas where there are clothes, pimple cream is not an option if one can’t afford new clothes.

The fact that I have pimples again distresses me because it is a symptom of my body not being the way it is in my head – there are not-mine hormones and not-mine shapes. It isn’t compassionate to say ‘but they’ll go away with time’ because that is measured in years, if at all. It isn’t compassionate to say ‘but pimple cream!’ because that expects me to spend money I don’t have and incorporate a daily/twice-daily thing that is focused specifically on this symptom I should not have. Making it a bigger part of life doesn’t make it less distressing.

 

You can have a Mirena! We’ll just knock you out for it.

I said NO to the Mirena. I am here because I had one forced on me and it has screwed up my body and now it’s not mine. Being unconscious for insertion doesn’t change the fact that once one wakes up, it is in there and has a constant presence and greatly unwanted side effects. Being unconscious for a procedure doesn’t take away the before and after. It doesn’t take away the knowledge that strangers are poking in body parts that one pretends aren’t there. You don’t get to be unconscious for the time when you’re preparing for it.

And, since I was very clear about my history and what I wanted and why, suggesting it at all implies that the doctor isn’t paying attention.

 

But it will go away with time, you just have to wait.

Wait how long? With debilitating anxiety? Exactly? Can you put an end date on this? And what am I meant to do in the meantime? See how I’m explaining how this impacts me? And you expect me to live like this because it might go away later?

 

But you haven’t had a period, that’s great!

Yes, I know it works. That’s why I didn’t want it changed in the first place. But it was. And because you’re refusing me a permanent solution, I have to put up with you suggesting constant non-permanent solutions, which do not work for me and you follow up with but I can’t have them yet because I’m too young (what the hell) and you won’t let me type to you. I have to put up with all of the above.

I also have to put up with a permanent migraine and a bunch of side effects which you’re totally minimising. But, you know, sure. Not being able to see and being constantly terrified is great and I can’t think of a reason to justify that even to be sarcastic. But go ahead. Sure.

 

 

We can’t be sure why you want this.

Well, refer me to someone so you can get a report that says so, since you’re quite happily ignoring the one (two) you already have. Also, you’re the one who decided that it was the only way to get it done and hasn’t bothered listening to the whole ‘I am in a lot of pain’ part. And perhaps if you even let me communicate with you, yeah, that would help.

 

I Can’t Even

TW: gender dysphoria, anxiety, ableism, discrimination, mentions of rape/pregnancy, discussion of reproductive organ stuff

 

I just got home from the gynaecologist. I didn’t make it home before spouting into big ugly tears. I didn’t even make it out of the office, though I fought valiantly to keep them just in my eyes.

 

Let’s recap the situation:

I am genderfluid (they/them), asexual, and very not interested in having children. I very dearly above pretty much everything else in life, including singing with Sir Russell and not having to ever talk to my mother again, want a hysterectomy-oophorectomy.

Continue reading I Can’t Even

That’s The Thing About Football

TW: discussion of media coverage of rape, retraumatisation, rape culture, discussion of social media discussion of rape, police handling of rape

 

It’s the start of March. While the boys have been back training for some months now, some even since October, and the last few weeks have been filled with pre-season matches and promotional events, this is when footy season starts for real. We now get six months where there’s no break from it, as opposed to the off-season, where there might be one day a week where the news doesn’t cross to some oval somewhere, or a player hasn’t done something.

 

Continue reading That’s The Thing About Football