An open letter to OII

Dear OII
I missed the workshop you gave campbetty, I am very sorry i did, it was one of the many i had to miss because of the timetabling clashes.
There was a pamphlet you produced called “what is intersex, “a number of the claims about transexual people are incorrect and could be harmful to trans people.

Before I talk about my problems, I want to say that I support the printing of this pamphlet and your work in the support of intersex people, intersex people, like trans people should have intersex controlled groups which provide support and advocate for their right, my problems are simply that you appear to be spreading miss information about trans people.

You state that trans people have a “full and functional reproductive system” Ignoring the fact, although you do state it later that sterilization is often required for trans people to change their legal gender, and is also a side effect of hormone replacement therapy, which is important treatment for many trans people, in fact, only some pre/non transitioning trans people could be said to have a full and functional reproductive system, and very few transexual people would have this.

You state that “good medication [is]  readily available through the PBS (pharmaceutical benefits scheme)”, this is not true for trans men unless they have had expensive surgery, surgery which is general can only be accessed after several years having used testosterone without the support of the PBS, I know less about the situation for trans women but at best your statement is only true for around half of the transexual population.

“The right to choose the time of surgery with extensive peer support” Surgery requires two letters from psychiatrists as well as substantive funds, as most trans surgeries are not covered by medicare so I would argue that this is only true for trans people who have significant funds available and are able to navigate the gatekeeper system without major barriers, this is not true for trans people who are neuro diverse or those who are poor or working class.

Many human rights abuses are carried out on intersex people, they face major barriers to healthcare access, bodily autonomy, and many other areas, I hope to ally with intersex people and groups to prevent these abuses from happening and working for the full rights of intersex people in society, I hope this can be done without seeing trans and intersex issues as a zero sum game, or spreading misinformation about the situation for trans people in Australia

Cheshire bitten


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2 Responses to An open letter to OII

  1. M says:

    Hi Cheshire Bitten, and thanks for the feedback. I was one of the people involved in the workshop.
    We revised the leaflet after earlier feedback, and we fully accept that we might still get it wrong. The trans experience is not our experience. I do feel, however, that some of your comments focus on a level of detail that might not be appropriate in such a short leaflet.
    It should be obvious that trans people have the capacity for a fully functional reproductive system prior to any surgery they choose to seek. As some transmen are capable of giving birth, it would follow that fertility can return if hormone therapy stops.
    I suspect we need to include a disclaimer: the section was written with advice from people with transsexual experience, but we couldn’t verify that from a first person perspective. If you have specific comments about how we could accurately and succinctly change the wording, that’d be very welcome. Thanks!
    As the intersex guy who spoke at your own workshop (and was misidentified as trans), I had hoped that your workshop might spend a little time on creating queer spaces that are inclusive of other people who are neither trans nor women, but also not always men.

  2. cheshbitten says:

    Hi, thanks for reply, and I want to apologise again that you where misidentified as trans, I also hoped that the workshop could touch on issues such as the access to spaces by intersex people, sadly as I wrote about I feel the workshop didn’t go as well as it could.
    To be honest I would suggest removing most of the section I commented on, I feel that it achieves little in the way of awareness, and could be damaging, but if you wanted to reword it maybe “before treatment, trans people are generally fertile” but this still doesn’t address those who transition during or before puberty.

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