Sterilization on the trans/non binary/non-conforming/non cis and many more identity(ies) is an issue rarely talked about. We live in a culture that was created through the visionaries of white supremacists. Part of white supremacy is transphobia. We live in a transphobic culture so deeply rooted in our systems and ourselves that we are so unaware of all the violence we engage in to our trans siblings and ourselves.
Gender is a societal construct that we learn in the cultures and subcultures we are a part of (family, media, friends, school, neighbors, doctors and so much more). What we learn is what it means to be a boy/girl, man/women and how to erase all other identities. We learn that men have penises and facial hair while women have vaginas and breasts and that anyone else having these parts must be men or women. From these harmful messages we internalize that if I truly am (insert gender) than I must have (insert physical characteristic/body part.
The quickest way to eradicate an identity is sterilization; from an ignorant belief system that it will prevent people from making more people who are like them. The reality is, there is no evidence to prove that trans people only procreate other trans people.
Our culture tries to brainwash us by the masses by believing that in order to be a man we must have facial hair, testes, a penis, deep voice, engage in toxic masculinity (only share emotions such as anger, horny, happy) and much more. Therefore, pushing some of us to engage in medical procedures and/or take hormones which can ultimately lead to temporary and/or permanent sterilization.
Yes, not all hormones will permanently sterilize us and not all medical procedures/surgeries will permanently sterilize us AND not all trans people want hormones/surgery/procedures. It is also vital to hold that often folx who have not addressed our internalized transphobia and/or are aware of it are more likely to engage in behaviors to align with our societal constructs that we have so deeply internalized.
I am a trans and non binary person, my pronouns are they/them. I was assigned female at birth and socialized as female. I was then institutionalized for almost all of my adolescent years at many different places across the united states attempting to cure my trans/non binary and queerness. The many messages I received was that there is only male and female and for me to be truly male I must have a flat chest, testes, penis, body and facial hair. I cannot express my emotions, I need to be “tough” and so much more.
I was never taught that gender was construct, that my body as is, could be equally male as it was female and that there was even an option to be non binary. I was never taught that I could engage in the world as my authentic self and that I did not have to abide by the violent gender constructs that were thrust upon me and wear myself down performing a gender. I now am sterilized (hormones, mastectomy, and hysterectomy) and deeply saddened by my lack of awareness that I could be me despite how the world saw me and that maybe one day the world can experience people for who the person tells you that they are, not what we label them as.
This is not to say that all trans/non binary/nonconforming/non cis and many more identities should not have the right to do as the person wants with the person’s body. This is alongside stating that we need to eradicate transphobia and educate that there is not one way to be male, female, non binary and many more identities AND provide the right and authority over our own body.
A cis person wanting the same surgery/procedure and/or access to hormones that a trans person desires, does not need a letter or multiple letters from mental health professionals providing them with a stamp of approval for authority over the person’s body. WE, as non cis folx, need minimum 1 letter if not multiple. Many mental health therapists refuse to write these letters and/or expect people to engage in a year or more of therapy among many other violent hoops, such as, but not limited to; forcing us to have hormones for a year in order to have surgery, forcing us to come out, forcing us to join groups with other people who hold similar identities, forcing us to pick a binary identity and so much more.
Often, when therapists offer low fee’s the therapist, that could mean $100. If someone were to meet 1x a week for a 1 year that is $5,200 for just 1 letter. The average salary of a trans person is 10k per year and that is most likely a white passing, binary, able bodied, neurotypical and many more privileged identities trans person.
The reality is, we are set up to fail yet convinced and brainwashed to believe that we need to be sterilized for us to be us when the reality is the world wants us to be sterilized so that we do not procreate based on this archaic belief system. Additionally, we are told that for us to be truly the identity we share we are, we need to look, sound, act, and many more things in order to be “read” as (insert identity). It is not me or us who has an issue, it is the world that has an issue with us. We know who we are, we tell you who we are and the world gaslights us by convincing us we are not who we share we are unless x, y, z and/or that we are mentally ill.
Bottom line, trust people when the person tells you who they are and respect that by engaging with the person by using the pronouns and name the person shares with you. Stop perpetuating the violence by equating things as male/female, masculine/feminine, boys/girls and/or other gendered language. To learn more, check out my interactive workbook called Exploring My Identity(ies) to help cultivate your own tools to address your own internalized transphobia and create safer and more affirming spaces for yourself and for others.
Also, if you want access to mental health professionals who will provide letters after 1 session, please check out this google document. If you are a mental health professional and you want to learn how to engage in an assessment to provide a letter in one session, please contact me, I have a pre-recorded training, with letter templates and the PowerPoint.