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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!