The Transgender Rule Book

| Nov 6, 2017

The Transgender Rule Book

When I began my journey, I wanted a guidebook, map, compass, rule book, breadcrumbs, anything to help me go in the right direction. After waiting for fifty-plus years, I knew I had to do this correctly and make the most of the time I have. The more I looked, the less I found. I was heartened to finally find The Transgender Rule Book.

Here’s what I found inside the rule book.

NOTHING! Not only was I battling my runaway feelings, not finding a helpful guide book only exacerbated my depression. I found a therapist and began to sort out my years of hiding. What finally became my biggest help was other Trans* people. Individuals who had fought their own battles, found their own resources and grew into the people they were happy to be. If I talked to ten people, I heard ten different ways to go about it. As I listened, looked and learned more, I finally got a game plan that would meet my needs.

What about The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)

I came across WPATH information and thought I’d found The Transgender Rule Book. Here’s how WPATH describes itself.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), formerly known as the (Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, interdisciplinary professional and educational organization devoted to transgender health. Our professional, supporting, and student members engage in clinical and academic research to develop evidence-based medicine and strive to promote a high quality of care for transsexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming individuals internationally. We are funded primarily through the support of our membership, and through  donations  and grants sponsored by non-commercial sources.

Mission  to promote evidence based care, education, research, advocacy, public policy, and respect in transgender health.

Vision  to bring together diverse professionals dedicated to developing best practices and supportive policies worldwide that promote health, research, education, respect, dignity, and equality for transgender, transsexual, and gender-variant people in all cultural settings.

Goals and Tasks

As an international interdisciplinary, professional organization, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) will work to further the understanding and treatment of gender dysphoria by professionals in medicine, psychology, law, social work, counseling, psychotherapy, family studies, sociology, anthropology, sexology, speech and voice therapy, and other related fields.

WPATH provides opportunities for professionals from various sub-specialties to communicate with each other in the context of research and treatment of gender dysphoria including sponsoring biennial scientific symposia.

WPATH publishes the Standards of Care and Ethical Guidelines, which articulate a professional consensus about the psychiatric, psychological, medical, and surgical management of gender dysphoria and help professionals understand the parameters within which they may offer assistance to those with these conditions.

I dug into the WPATH’s Standards of Care and Ethical Guidelines. I found it long and complex. After waiting 56 years, I wasn’t about to wait around while I ticked off boxes from an international treatment organization. Looking back on it, I did end up adhering to most of the WPATH treatment protocols and guidelines. It would have been so nice to have a simple statement or a knowledgeable person just lay out what needs to be done in a few bullets on the back of a napkin. I could have worked with that.

After a few years of therapy, referral to a gender doctor, hormones, legal papers and bureaucratic hoop jumping, I’m proud to say, “I am really happy how I am!” My approach took years and thousands of dollars. When I have drinks with my girl friends and we talk about our journeys, their path to happiness are different from mine. What I’ve been able to determine after over ten years of doing this, the are no hard and fast rules. There are rules for name changes, gender markers, social security cards and birth certificates. Most of these rules are unique to your state or country. They are not standard. My requirements in Florida are different then my birth state of Ohio.

So, why does the Transgender Rule Book have no pages? Because we all must decide, devise, search, research, plan and ask a million questions to get where we want to be. It’s impossible to define the rules when everyone’s Trans-identity is unique. You can be Trans* and never ever do anything about it. You can be Trans* and define yourself as you see fit. You can be Trans* and be totally transformed. We make the rules, no one else, with the exception of the legal stuff that applies to you. The reason the Transgender Rule Book is blank is because we have to fill it ourselves. We must decide who we are and how we wish to live our lives. Once we do that, we can proceed on our own unique journey. All our rules are different. Enjoy your ride.

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Category: Body & Soul, Opinion

About CateOMalley: I am Cate, a mature transgender woman. I am a writer, blogger, parent, grandparent, sailor, activist and happy. I am a widow, and live with my yorkiepoo, Belle. I love music, reading, cooking, outdoors, DIY, theater, antiquing and flea markets, home brewing, and seeing what is around the bend in the road or over the horizon. I own the MatureTransgender.com website. It is an outreach, support and resource for mature trans* people and especially for those who, like me, came out after fifty.

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