Note: This happened over a month ago, and most of us never heard about it. Dude, we need to step up our community’s communications, myself included.
A significant event has occurred! France has offically removed gender identity disorders from its list of mental health conditions. The announcement was first made in May, 2009 by France’s Health Minister, Roselyne Bachelot and came into effect this past February. France is being reported as the first country to removed gender identity disorders, and more specifically “transsexual” identity from mental health diagnoses, first country of those that have GID that is, which is all countries in which transition is legal. The NY Times quotes that gender identity disorders has been removed as a “long-term psychiatric disease.” Following in suit, Cuba issued a statement stating that it would also no longer be recognizing trans folks as mentally ill. One that is amazingly empowering, for a state address. Is this a new wave of countries getting their acts together?
Maybe, but not really. (I know you all were excited at the prospect of maybe getting an optimistic ‘good news’ blog from me, but come on, you should know better.)
Word on the street is that this very important step, is more like an important scoot if anything. French transfolk are quoted saying they are still not able to make their own decisions about their bodies and identities decisions instead of “depending on doctors and psychiatrists.” Though gender identity disorder is no longer listed as a mental health condition, it is still listed as requiring psychiatric care, which is confusing. Baby steps I suppose… Diagnosis or no, there has not yet been political reform to support the change. French transfolk are still unable to autonomously decided what they do (surgery or no), how they do it (what doctor and where), and what they can get from it (i.e. documents, name change). Folks are worried this is part of a bigger plan to appease queer French populations in leu of queer marriage and adoption legislation, among other wanted civil rights. Transgender Today has an excellent article about the state of French transfolk.
And though this small victory for France is not what they had hoped for, it is a victory among a slew of past victories the USA is no where near to obtaining. France’s universal health care is reported to do a terrible job providing skilled doctors for trans transitional care, but it is covered. There is a thick line between covered by care and not, and another line between capable care and shit care. One purely good thing this news has brought, is it reminded me of the hidden pockets of transfolk who are also fed up with this shit. I am not the only one, you are not the only one. All over the world there are more of us working for our community. We are not alone, and will are making changes scoot by scoot. Well what do ya know, this ended up being an optimistic post after all…