Sunday, October 26, 2008

The "Specialist's" Impacts

Commissioner’s Directive 800 number 36 has been established as a very discriminatory policy. There are a plethora of ways that this policy impacts individuals, and it is crucial to pinpoint these impacts in order to understand the ways in which this policy is oppressive. One way that this policy affects the incarcerated transgender person is the requirement that one person, a psychologist, decides the fate of the individual. I intend to show that putting the outcome of someone’s life in the hands of another person, who could undoubtedly be transphobic, is very risky, and ultimately discriminating.
As transgender individuals are one of the most stigmatized and oppressed groups it is crucial that as a society we ensure that the medical treatment received by transgender individuals is not lined with discrimination. Although, health care providers, being human, often carry the same bigoted viewpoints that the rest of society does. One story that made headlines was when a Catholic hospital refused breast implants to a transgender woman. ( The surgical coordinator was quoted as saying, "it is against god’s will". This type of discrimination is faced daily by people not within the jail system; I can only imagine the type of oppression that is occurring within the jail walls.
Transgender individuals have to go through multiple levels of personal contact before receiving actual sex-reassignment surgery. If these transgender individuals are subject to one transphobic individual throughout the process, there is a distinct possibility that they will not be able to receive proper treatment. There are many debates over the ethical nature of the Harry Benjamin standard of care we previously discussed. "Some members of the transgender community are very critical . . . of the Standards of Care and take issue with the perceived need for someone other than themselves to decide whether they are eligible for sex reassignment (Bockting, 2004).
By picking through the many aspects of the Commissioner’s Directive 800 we have noted that there are many areas of the policy that need improvement, as this policy has a direct impact on the life of all incarcerated transgender individuals. The very fact that someone other than the transgender individual has control over the life choices of the individuals marks the policy as problematic. Due to the fact that we live in a world that discriminates against the transgender community we must ensure that the transgender community, as well as the incarcerated transgender community, can access proper health care without facing barriers at every step of the process.

BOCKTING, W. (., ROBINSON, B. (., BENNER, A. (., & SCHELTEMA, K. (. (2004). Patient satisfaction with transgender health services. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 30(4), 277.

No comments:

Post a Comment