Gender Conference

TransAction's 2nd Annual Gender Conference took place this past weekend. It started at 9am on a Saturday morning and, being the sleeping-in schlub that I am, I didn't get there until about noon. My wonderful dad went with me. And he joined me on a "Trans Family" panel!

And we both went to various other workshops.

While my dad went to a workshop on trans in mythology, I went to one about state violence.  The speaker primarily spoke about trans incarceration and police brutality against trans people. It reminded me of this documentary along similar lines called "Cruel and Unusual" where the filmmakers spent three years with several trans women who were placed in cisgender men's facilities. This presentation (and the film) basically brought up how prisons don't have mechanisms in place for trans women.

As illustrated in the stories of the women in the film, for example, it didn't matter for any of the women how long they'd been transitioning, had breasts, etc. - if they hadn't yet had bottom surgery, they go to prison with men. End of story. Of course, higher incidents of rape becomes a problem, so the trans women are put in solitary confinement as a "step up" from rape, even though solitary confinement is a madness-inducing punishment.

For trans women who don't "pass" as cisgender women, it was pointed out that many can't find work and are often denied access to shelters and rescue missions. For example, one woman in the documentary I mentioned (named Linda) was in this situation, which led her to steal to survive, which led to prison. While in prison, unable to get her hormone treatments and going absolutely nuts going through withdrawal and watching the progress she'd made with estrogen fade away she castrated herself in an act of desperation. Lawyers observe that the taxpayers could have shelled out $20 a month for generic hormone therapy, but instead they had to pay tens of thousands of dollars for two trips to the emergency room.

The next workshop addressed health concerns and had a few professionals present, including an trans woman who's a therapist. I brought up my concern with being uninsured as a full-time student and how the insurance available for students is trans-exclusive. Most others also brought up problems with insurance being trans-exclusive. And how, once flagged as trans, the companies are able to argue out of covering most anything (even cold medicine for family members of trans individuals in some cases).

As I mentioned prior, my dad was on the Trans Family panel with me, where there were three other trans people with their moms. The panel facilitator had us share our stories and, eventually, had a brief audience Q&A. My dad said the most adorable thing when speaking at one point, saying that he never once felt like there was something wrong with his child, but that I've always been "incredibly unique" and "neat". Awwww.

The greatest thing I learned at the conference, by far, was news of a top surgeon here in Utah. Someone who will be $3,000-$5,000 max - no travel expense necessary! This whole time I've been planning to travel to Florida which would be $6,000 for the surgery itself and then however much two plane tickets would cost on top of that (one for myself and some poor friend to take care of me), motel for 1-2 weeks, and other expenses. This makes everything much more attainable and affordable. Very exciting!


5 comments:

  1. You may already have considered options; if so, disregard me, but, there's always Dr. Perry Johnson in Omaha. That'd still entail travel, but maybe not as much, & his prices are quite reasonable, the staff is sweet, & so forth. I live in Denver & went there so I can certainly vouch for his operation. *Note: NOT a paid endorsement* :-) Just a thought...

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  2. Hey thanks for the suggestion! I haven't heard of him, actually. I'll look into him on TransBucket - but given that there's the additional travel expense, I'll likely opt for the local surgeon. NO travel expense ='s top surgery MUCH more attainable for me! :]

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  3. OMG top surgeon in SLC? No way! I wasn't able to attend the trans health workshop, we opted for the relationship one instead, which was really cool but damn I'm sad I missed that one now. Do you have a name, or number for said surgeon? I am way excited about the financial implications of this as well. I was considering financing a trip to Florida, or possibly San Fran. But local would be much more ideal!

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  4. Ray: I just asked a friend for her URL again and will relay it to you as soon as I hear back from him!

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  5. Top surgeon in Utah? That's awesome, brings you a few notches closer I would think? Very exciting stuff!

    I'm very proud of the conference this year! I'm excited to see what they come up with next year, it's getting big.

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