As you know my daughter is a transgender girl. More than a year in now and it's a pleasure to see her so happy. What would make her happier though is to have the surgery to give her the rest of her female body, this doesn't even take into account that she has long had a medical problem that this surgery will end once and for all.
Herein lies the problem. Money. It costs at least $10,000 dollars to have the surgery presuming that some item numbers are covered by medicare.
It seems there is only one doctor in Australia at present ,Proffessor Bennet,who is capable of this surgery and has retired from the Public Hospital System.
He recently offered to do suregery on a young biological woman born without a vagina, but NSW health will not allow it.Apparantly she can go through Sydney Childrens hospital as a public patient but the doctors really don't have the expertise for this surgery.He has treated 130 girls in the past 5 years, the birthrate is 1 in 5000.
If this is the case for bilogical girls with genital problems, where does this leave the transgender community male or female?
There is a 2nd doctor,Ass. Proffessor Grover who is away o/s training and will not be back until 2011. Even if he operates in a pbulic hodpital there is still the high cost of surgery because of medicare and what is covered and what is not.
I cannot find statistics for transgender numbers , the statistics I did find are grim ,suicide 1 in 5. The turmoil this group of people go through is incredible.They are fighting what their society tells them they should be and look like, discrimination, ridicule, families who feel personally affronted.
Why is it so hard in our society for people to get their head around the fact that some peoples brain and body don't match. Especially men, I don't understand how they are threatened by this.There is not some secret enclave of transgender girls out to trick and shame them somehow and funnily enough the type of male that is so offended is the guy these girls never wanted to be let alone hook up with.
Discrimination for being transgender is illegal in Australia, but in day to day living and getting on, it doesn't seem to matter, try finding a job, accomodation , giving your female name out with a male sounding voice , the 2nd and 3rd looks etc.
There have been some wins in our story though, very early in transition, just after Chloe had changed her name,she had to go to Canberra hospital for surgery.I have to give Kudo's to them,they were so professional and understanding,no raised eyebrows ,funny looks,they addressed Chloe as Miss and used all the right pronouns,that put me to shame at the time...I was just learning, and it's soemthig I will always rembember.It was extrememly encouraging for both Chloe and I, esp considering the nature of her problem and how early in transition she was. Her employers have been excellent,one would wish all employers so enlightened.
But back to surgery. It is about time that in this country SRS surgery is covered in its entirety by Medicare. Just recently Young Bridget Clinch appeared on SN and Sunrise and highlighted this issue. Bridget is in the Aust Army and had to fight to have her surgery covered my medical , she fought them and won as she will be a good Captain male or female. Thats a very simplified sentence describing her journey as it is her story to tell, but Bridget does highlight that this surgery is free in the Defence Force and in the Prison system in Australia. And borrowing from Bridgets reasearch several other countries fund SRS the UK, Canada, Iran and Cuba.
Its about time Australia follow suit.
So this is my bandwagon, feel free to jump aboard, I've started letter writing to the Health Minster ,the PM etc If enough of us write and mention the Australian Human Rights Commission report 2009 's reccomendations for transgender ,then we might be able to force changes.
I must be getting shorter, it's taking me longer to jump down from my soapbox lol