Systemic abuse?

Abuse happens where there is an imbalance of power: where one side to an exchange feels compelled to go along with what they are being asked to do…told to do…because the person doing the telling either has formal positional power over them (parent, teacher, police officer, etc.) or because that person is in a position of trust.

Sometimes the two overlap.

I’m not going to go into detail here: I’d be breaking confidence and, besides, I don’t see it as the purpose of this blog to go to town on individuals unless I have much stronger evidence than I have now.

However. I am angry. Very, very angry.


Because I’ve just been reading notes made by someone who appears to have experienced the most appalling abuse imaginable at the hands of a “medical professional” in the early days of her transitioning.

Wearing my sceptical journalist hat, I know I’m just at the start of this: I need to check evidence, seek corroboration and, sadly, test the word of the person who has sent me details of the incident. Until then, I can only say that I have seen evidence that, if true, does nto require that a certain medical professional be struck off: it would require them being torn limb from limb and then having their remains stuck up somewhere where the public can vent its disgust toward them.

Did I say I was angry?

You bet!

But then, I don’t like doing stuff by halves. The deeper into transition I get, the more and more episodes I hear from other trans women of conduct towards them by everyday professionals that is obscene. That, were it done to a child (and some of those who have suffered were children when this treatment began) would have the perpetrator instantly locked up.

That, in turn, got me wondering. I am well aware of how mistreatment of gay folk used to go dwon. Sometimes it was simple homophobic bullying. Sometimes, something else: an awareness on the part of a person in authority that they had power over an individual by virtue of the fact that that individual had “broken the law”: and so they were safe, themselves, to abuse in whatever way took their fancy.

That, too, is disgusting. But hardly surprising. The easiest targets for abuse are those already on the fringes of society: those who operate at the margins of legality and who are told in no uncertain terms that because one part of their life may be called into question, they can’t expect the same legal rights and protections as the “normal” majority.

Which means, as of today, I am starting a little bit of very personal research: is this just an isolated case? Do I just get to hear the worst instances? Or is there something in the establishment that has been abusing trans men and women over the last few years.

Anyone with any views or insights, please feel free to post or, if you are worried about being “outed”, contact me directly via Any and all stories treated in strictest confidence – and i am interested in the gay perspective as well as the trans.


P.S. and if anyone knows of any organisation already out there with this specific focus, let me know. lst thing i want to do is tread on toes or reinvent the wheel!


About janefae

On my way from here to there
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Systemic abuse?

  1. Kedge says:

    “Or is there something in the establishment that has been abusing trans men and women over the last few years.”

    I am sad to say that I would not be surprised if this were so.

    Will you be going into more detail on this particular case, Jane? I’d be very interested to read it (as I am with all your posts, I just don’t really feel I have anything to add – I can’t pretend I understand what you’re going through, but I see that you have many commenters who do, and I’m glad of that for you).

    Still with all the darkness out there, the medical establishment is a growing and maturing thing. I know this isn’t news to you, but fifty years ago? A hundred years ago? Nothing like what’s out there today, across all fields. Some of my friends joke about Bedlam to me sometimes, and I know they mean no offence by it, but it does make me very uncomfortable to think about the way people like… yeah, us, I guess, used to be treated. And it upsets me too to see some of the treatment (social I mean here, not medical) that you are receiving. We have to hope that the field will continue to mature and be more accepting, because without that what do we have?

    Take care, Jane. I think of you often,
    Jackhenry Kedge

  2. Denise Anderson says:

    This isn’t a surprise to me, i’ve seen at first hand too letters with awful levels of nastiness in them, in some cases things have been able to have been sorted…

    But of course i can’t go into anything either…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s