In praise of gatekeepers: An interview with a former teen client of TransActive Gender Center

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

I also had an experience there which I believe to be directly negligent on the part of the therapist. During the course of my therapy, before I received a referral for hormones, I began to have trauma flashbacks, which I hadn’t previously remembered. I brought these up to my therapist, and her only response was to devote one or two sessions to it, and then continue with the transition therapy process. This process seemed to be primarily about validating pretty much whatever I said about my gender/planning and mapping out a timeline for my transition, and it was not brought up at any point that prior trauma might have anything to do with dysphoria. The implication that was always present, in therapy or in the other trans-related discussions I was part of, inside and outside of TransActive, was that if I was trans (and my therapist never gave me the impression that I might not be), my options were “transition now, transition later, or live your life unhappy/commit suicide.” To a teenager who is struggling with mental health issues, this is a very attractive proposal: “This is The Cure for all of the emotional pain you’re feeling”.

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Trans* Women in My PTSD Group and Performing Femininity

Originally posted at Loving Lily

Recently I was trying to get help for my PTSD. After a long wait, I was finally admitted to a publicly funded PTSD therapy group in Toronto, the WRAP group at Women’s College Hospital. I was elated to have gotten in and hopeful. It seemed very intensive, well funded and like there was a lot of helpful information I could learn. The intake coordinator also told me that it was also based on the work of a feminist researcher who I admired. They were not following her trauma model exactly, they had simply switched around several of the steps. Nevertheless the intake coordinator assured me that they held her in high esteem and her book on PTSD and Complex PTSD was a masterpiece. The group marketed itself as a feminist therapy group that was focused on empowering women. I’m sure that over 90% of women there had been victims of child sexual abuse (if not 100%). I took all this at face value and was excited to begin. I entered the WRAP program and began attending their group. In the spirit of inclusiveness and “trans* women are women just like every other woman” and “trans* women are males who transition to socialize as women” my group included trans* women.

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Redefining Realness by Janet Mock: A Book Review

Originally posted at Liberation Collective

Janet Mock is a transwoman author who has strong opinions on gender and the sex industry shared in this memoir. Mock discusses many topics, but this review will cover five: essentialism, the term “cis”, the term “fish”, hormone blockers for children, and the sex industry.

In the memoir, Mock’s discussion of childhood frequently delves into ways that parents or circumstances threatened or validated “the girl” within. Being punished for wearing a dress was “hammering the girl out” (p 22); a haircut would “cut the girl right out of me” and cause “irreparable damage” (p 32). Being molested “validated the girl-child inside of me” and involved being treated “like a girl” (p 45). It is profoundly sad that Mock subscribes to the same anti-feminist rhetoric that tells us that the purpose of females is to be violated, and that expressions of femininity are natural for women.

Feminists have faced accusations of essentialism for our belief that socialization into a particular gender has lifelong consequences for women, yet Mock is here expressing a different type of essentialism— the type that feminists have long fought against, and the type that Paul Ryan and other religious conservatives or brain-sex advocates espouse.

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The “Transsexual” Delusion

Originally posted at

The word “transsexual” implies that the person is in process of or has made a transition between the two sexes. It is impossible, however, to transition from one sex to the other. The only transition possible for a person who believes that he or she is “transsexual” is from a whole person to a person with a mutilated body.

Transsexuality is presented as the conviction that one has been born into the wrong body – that while the body is one sex, the brain is the other. It follows that this “mistake” can be corrected with surgery and hormones, so that the “transsexual” person can live as a member of the desired sex rather than his or her birth sex. Since there is no scientific evidence to back up the belief a person’s body can be one sex and their brain the other, transsexuality may be characterized as a delusion. The general criteria for a delusion are…

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The Inconvenient Truth about Teena Brandon

Originally published by Carolyn Gage at

“Inconvenient” means “causing trouble or difficulties.” The inconvenient truth of Brandon’s incest history causes trouble because incorporating information about child sexual abuse into the narrative of Brandon’s life pathologizes the transgendered identity adopted by Brandon and for which she has become an icon. This is perceived as disrespectful and transphobic—as an attack on Brandon’s identity and a posthumous attempt to appropriate a victim’s identity.

But the omission of Brandon’s incest history is disrespectful and phobic to survivors of child sexual abuse. It also constitutes a posthumous attempt to appropriate a victim’s identity. As a survivor, I am disturbed by the revisionist histories of Brandon that omit Brandon’s status as a victim of child sexual abuse—and all of the subsequent inconvenient truths accompanying that status.

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