Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trans Women Must Pay for their Breasts

I stumbled across the following news bulletin and I thought I would share it with you.  Try and see if you can spot the fails.

 Minister: No Free Breasts for Transsexuals

THE HAGUE, 15/04/10 - The Lower House wants men having themselves transformed into women to be given breasts by the government. But Health Minister Ab Klink is not planning to do so.

People who undergo a sex change operation are reimbursed for the medical costs in the Netherlands. This does not apply to secondary procedures, including electronic depilation of bodily hair and the creation of breasts.

The House wants men undergoing a sex change to be reimbursed for these supplementary procedures as well. This would involve about 100 people a year and would only cost 250,000 euros, the House majority argues.

But Klink will not change anything for now. He does not wish to give preferential treatment to transsexuals over and above real women who would dearly like to have bigger breasts and are also not reimbursed.

How about acknowledging the radical notion that trans women are REAL WOMEN.  I honestly don’t know why this concept remains so difficult to understand.  There is no such thing as a fake woman and people can identify as whatever gender that best suits them without being fraudulent. 

I am further disgusted with the idea that it constitutes preferential treatment to pay for breast implants for trans women.  These procedures are not undertaken from a position of vanity, but to affirm their status as women.  The idea that somehow cisgender women are being oppressed because trans women are having their medical treatment covered is ridiculous and it is biased.

Passing is very important to some trans women, and when we consider the violence and ridicule they are often subject to it is completely understandable.  Being read as trans is enough for someone to become violent, because we have so devalued trans lives and because we have insisted on the necessity of upholding a limiting gender binary. I also think that the closer the body reflects the identity of the mind, the easier it is for a trans person to negotiate this life and find happiness.

Klink is not concerned with the well being of trans women.  Cisgender bodies are his priority because the world has taught him that the needs of the marginalized are always secondary, even when the cost is both fiscally and socially insignificant. Incidents like this are exactly why the trans community and their allies must continue to fight, because Cis people will not relinquish their privilege and as history has shown, no privileged group has ever willing done so. To me, seeing my trans sisters gain their equal rights is a positive step for women’s rights, because no one but the individual should be able to decide what constitutes ‘woman,’ or what any female body should look like.

This decision is also extremely biased because transphobia is a large part of why having these procedures covered medically is important.  Trans women often face discrimination in employment, thus making it difficult for them to earn a living, never mind save the capitol required to pay for the procedures that are needed. Not only does the state (note: I am use the word state loosely) support transphobia, it penalizes trans women by not offering the services that would help some women combat the oppression that they face.  It’s a vicious circle that it makes it difficult to determine where the oppression begins.

I have watched in my own country as SRS has become delisted in certain provinces due supposedly to budgetary shortfalls.  It would seem to me that if we are going to ask trans women to pay taxes to support medical services that do not directly benefit them, that we should be willing to pay for their medical needs when it does not benefit cisgender people.  Equal means that everyone should have access to all of the medical services necessary to live an equal and happy life.