So. I have been promising this for the last few days. And I hope what I write now is distilled down from what might otherwise have been a long and somewhat wordy piece.
What the hell happened to me at the hands of the gender charlatans on Friday? And was it just me? Or is it an example of something that goes far deeper.
Delving down, I now realise that there were three things that turned Friday from bad to nightmare. First, the threat: do as we say or we take away your hormones. Second, the negation: “for the purposes of this interview I’ll call you jane”.
Third: the complete lack of empathy and care. The individual concerned wound me up (I think deliberately) and then just shoved me back on to the street with no explanation and no idea where to go for help. I am told, now, that he was supposed to have given me some sort of helpline number: he didn’t. Even though I told the receptionist that I was pretty distressed, they didn’t.
And there you have it. First control: by restricting privileges to be dished out to the good girls and withheld from the bad. Control comes in many forms and in this instance, the very first element of control was typified by a demand for me to capitulate to a legal nonsense: the taking out of a deed poll. No matter I daily risk life and limb in my new role…or have spent hundreds on PR advice as to how to manage my name change across my career. Either I do as they say or else.
Second, and absolutely central, is the negation. You have no independent validity from what we say you are. We condescend to call you “Jane”: but again, if you’re not a good girl, we can call you what the hell we like.
Not evident on Friday but, I am reliably informed, a counter-ploy by these patriarchs is that any attempt to mirror is classified as hostility and – you’ve guessed – written out of consideration. HE can invalidate my very being by granting that my name is dependent on HIS good will: whereas if, f’rinstance, I were to retaliate by stating: “that’s fine…and for the purposes of this interview I will refer to you as a twat”, I would be regarded as hostile.
My behaviour would be pathologised. His own transphobic bullying is simply par for the course. The accepted norm.
And of course: cut the mad tranny off from support. Humiliate her at the start…by calling out a name she never ever identifies by any more in front of others in the waiting room. And make sure she goes home for the weekend to stew on the threat and the control with no means to contact others for advice or sympathy.
That’s personal. But it so closely echoes experiences I have been presented with by others in different walks of life that it feels very like a meme that unscrupulous and abusive individuals in positions of power gravitate towards because…well, why?
Two reasons I would guess. First the pathological: it gratifies. Second – and I will return to this in future, like every other form of quack medicine (and cult religion too) it pays very nicely.
Other examples? I had already been collecting instances – cases – of women damaged by arrogant, usually male, surgeons. Much the same process seems at work for them. Control, in the form of denial of treatment or promises of putting things right so long as the women behave. Negation: their claims to have problems are just that, claims borne out of malice, misunderstanding or madness. And a cutting off from support: don’t talk to the press, support groups, whoever, or we’ll just not play ball.
The apotheosis of the latter, of course, appears in the way that hospitals pay whistle-blowers hundreds of thousands to shut up and go away (with the threat of career death as alternative).
And again in the sphere of the disabled people’s movement: individuals are pathologised and defined by “experts” who have little or no direct experience of their problems…and controlled, brow-beaten and bullied into being grateful for whatever small crumbs get handed out.
The pathology of bullying? There’s a big subject. But of course, it is all highly profitable for those involved. The charlatans who parade themselves as experts in these fields have very little claim to expertise, beyond the fact that they write learned papers which get peer reviewed by one another, signed off by one another and over time, form a body of work that is internally consistent…but may bear little relationship to the real world.
Theories on the solar system pre-Galileo instantly spring to mind.
And the profit motive? Well, a genuinely partnered approach might – horrors! – reduce some of the need for treatment and thereby remove the luxury for many such charlatans of a steady stream of patients cashing in several hundred pounds per hour of time abused.
To return once more to the personal: had I been at the start of my journey, investiagation and assessment makes sense. Since I have now been living in role for the best part of a year, on hormones for half of that, and presenting in every which way as the gender I now live…the idiocy of an assessment that takes me right back to the start is…well, just idiotic. But highly profitable.
In theory, the NHS is built to allow the inter-mingling of private and public medicine, with the public sector picking up where the private has got to. Not so in the Gender area.
Another instance? I recently encountered a trans woman who has been living in role even longer than I have…so much so that she has lost her job as a result and is now the subject of national media reports. But…here comes that control freak tendency again…none of her experience counts for anything until she has got past the initial assessment at her GIC.
Money for old rope, anyone? In an era of austerity, is it not about time that someone seriously looked into the financial abuse committed by these people – let alone the personal stuff?
So there you have it. I’ve been dabbling in this area for a while now, trying to get my head around the various abuses of power I keep encountering…not quite managing to find a common thread. And now I have one.
The fact that it looks and feels disturbingly like what a lot of feminists have been trying to tell me for years is embarrassing – but I’ll get over it.