Very, very angry…

Did you know that us gender variant folk are little better than sex offenders?


Well, if you live in Australia, today’s news – or perhaps more accurately, last year’s – is just that: to access certain key hormonal treatments, the bureaucrats have decided that those identified with trans or intersex conditions belong in the same category as paedophiles, rapists and the sexually violent.

You could not make this up!

And whilst the detail behind the story, and the fact that it is an issue resurfacing today (as opposed to something suddenly decided) MAY make the news just a smidgeon less offensive, its still the headline that will be remembered – and used, and abused, by those who already have it in for us.

Prescribing guidelines

So let’s start with the headline, as reported in that quite useful site dedicated to sex and sexuality, CarnalNation. Today they report, accurately as far as i can tell, that intersex Australians must register as potential sex offenders to obtain access to certain hormones.

Specifically, testosterone suppressants, like androcur. Trans individuals will recognise that substance, too, since it (or similar) is a regular and often essential part of the transition process.

Unfortunately, as CN reports, taking their cue from feminist blog, the Dawn Chorus, these drugs may only be prescribed for licensed purposes which, at present, include:

– Advanced carcinoma of the prostate;
– To reduce drive in sexual deviations in males.

There is some discussion as to whether the prescribing rules also allow testosterone suppressants to be prescribed for

– Moderate to severe androgenisation in non-pregnant women

So let’s not beat about the Bush (pun unintended!). These drugs are not recreational extras. They are absolute necessities for some of us: in some circs, they may even be life-saving, since they may help persuade someone that suicide is not the only alternative to gender issues.

The real issues

There are three stark out-takes from this, if it is still continuing practice (and i will be doing a bit of my own investigation over the next few days).

First, as some Australian posters have noted, the existence of the third ground as a basis for prescribing and the apparent reluctance of some physicians to use it suggests either ignorance or something worse at work in some parts of that country’s health service. Where they can presecribe, there should be absolutely no excuse for not doing so if it helps the patient.

Second, there is the current and possibly spreading use of prescribing rules as a means whereby pct’s and individual GP’s refuse to hand out treatment in the UK. It remains the case that most of the drugs used to treat intersex and trans conditions are not licensed for those purposes – even though there is now significant history of them being used in those capacities.

That has led to some bureaucrats, some of those looking for “any excuse”, to claim that therefore they cannot prescribe. To refuse to prescribe, even where Gender Identity Clinics have recommended that they do. That is outrage…but given the way the system works, this needs to be fought by demanding the long overdue admission of the drugs in question on to prescribing lists.

Lastly and most sinister. I have frequently covered the way, in the UK in particular, there is a tendency for organisations to share data. Sometimes unlawfully. Sometimes with a nod and a wink in the direction of legality.

That sharing has consequences. Its why trans people have fought for a long time NOT to have their trans status noted on databases, because that often means that individuals reading just that will treat us differently, abusively.

So just imagine if getting treatment meant being placed on a database of potential sex offenders? Just imagine the conversations likely to take place every time a policeman pulled your vehicle over, or stopped you in the street at a demo.

Does anyone expect a mild and civilised exchange of views? Or rather, do we foresee nastiness?

I’d suggest the latter. Which is why, if this is the best Australia can do, we are long overdue sorting out the prescription issue everywhere. In the UK. In the US. Everyehwere.

Before the bureaucrats find how useful this is as a means to put us down.


P.S. Did i say i was angry. I’m not. No: i’m absolutely fucking flaming angry! And if this story remains true today, then screw Australia!


8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Imagine the disclosure of that information in the context of some kind of “Sarah’s Law”

  2. 2

    I was fortunate enough to receive androgen suppressants in my teens, after two years of being very ill whilst my doctors (most of whom didn’t seem to care much but enjoyed exhibiting me to students and commenting on how I was unusual) tried to find a drug that would work. I don’t think I’d be alive today if I hadn’t got that medicine, and for reasons that are wholly physiological (not a situation in which any amount of willpower could save me). Many intersex people need these drugs in order to survive and many more need them in order to live healthy, active lives. To force people to sign the sex offenders’ register is not just politically horrific, it places intersex and trans Australians at risk of vigilante attack. For some people, it could be a choice between wasting away or being beaten to death. It’s that serious.

  3. 3

    Sabine said,

    The usual inertia of bureaucracy. Although this time it’s really over the top. Basically it reads like a workaround for doctors to be allowed to prescribe at all. Workarounds often have unintended consequences.

    You aren’t grasping half of it, though. Why is there a register of POTENTIAL sex offenders? Either someone has been found guilty by a public court of law of a sexual offense or they haven’t. Who decides if someone is a potential offender? How do you get people who notice they find children sexually attractive so seek help if they have to sign some register?

    Is there no doctor-patient privilege in the Commonwealth? My doctor decides what he prescribes. If it’s a controlled substance he may have to justify prescriptions to the proper authority, but not giving patients names just: I’ve go a case of XXX, I have prescribed NN amount of YY – signed GP. Of course a GP has a much smaller need to prescribe heavy pain medication than say a specialist in cancer treatment, but he still can do it without needing more than a special form.

    Fastest bugfix would probably be a category of medicine permissible in intersex and trans cases. Any label with the words sex offender in it is highly dangerous and you can never get totally rid of it.

    Seems like there is something rotten in the state of Australia.

  4. 4

    Purity Vendetta said,

    I cannot believe that all this has only just come to your attention! I was forced to begin self medication in order to save my own life using Androcur. I don’t do the softly softly approach so literally informed my GP that we could handle this in one of two ways. I could continue self medication and if something went wrong I would make it fantastically public that I had been refused help when I desperately needed it or we could go for the prescription plus proper monitoring route. Guess which option he agreed to. Provision for the treatment of Intersex and Transsexual patients is confused at best in the UK. This situation is not helped by the pathetic organisations and self appointed mouthpieces who have constantly insisted on confusing gender issues with sexual preference.
    Quite honestly I am sick and tired of the so called trans activists who seem to think that bullying people with transsexual backgrounds when they claim different needs and won’t fit into their prescribed terms. As one of those people I have been talking to others who simply identify as women, not trans gender, gender queer or any other term they have been ordered to align with. Of course you will never hear the opinions of us. We live in stealth and don’t really want to walk around with a placard. This doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve decent treatment including drugs and access to good quality surgery which is simply not available in the UK. If you can’t understand that someone is born with a female internal gender identity and thus simply desires to live in piece as a woman you cannot represent them. This seems to be the fundamental problem preventing the treatment of transsexual and intersex people moving forward

    • 5

      Organisations like The Equality Network, the Scottish Transgender Alliance and Trans Media Watch routinely invite people to submit their views if they identify as ‘women with a trans background’ or ‘men with a trans background’. This is intended to make sure that voices like yours are heard. If you can think of a more effective way of doing this, I at least would be open to changing things (at TMW) – we want to be as inclusive as possible.

  5. 6

    Brian said,

    I’m not absolutely sure, but I think that CarnalNation story is a couple of years old. I can’t find a date for it, though. And the facts may still be the same as reported.

  6. 7

    gina said,

    This article is essentiality right. The register is held by the YTGA. For a full explanation of prescribing protocols see OII Australia web site.

  7. 8

    I will investigate this as well. In the US, there is not a national policy. Doctors choose to do as they please so if your doctor isn’t helping you, find another. This has its downside as well. But, in the cities, thing are working
    if you have insurance or money.

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