avia: A beautiful artistic phoenix raising their head to the sun. (phoenix of rebirth)
(This is a public post, in case anyone wants to link to it. I thought it needed to be said in a wider space.)

Sorry for another post being grumpy about jarandhel, but I think this is something that needed to be pointed out.

I don't try to look at jarandhel's posts any more, but I do look at the Tumblrs of other therians/otherkin, and sometimes they reblog him. This discussion got my attention, and, particularly this part of it:

Look at the transgendered for a moment - they didn’t come along saying “I believe I have a neurological condition which results in me experiencing gender dysphoria”. They said they felt trapped in the wrong body. Scientific and medical language was applied to their condition later, after proper study of the subject had been made. Not by trans individuals playing armchair psychologists and diagnosing themselves.


You know, I don't know much about how the trans* community started, but I'm pretty sure that they didn't do this because they wanted to play nice and sit around and wait until the Proper Medical Authorities noticed them. They didn't talk about things using the phrase "gender dysphoria" because they didn't have that language available to them. Not because it wasn't "the respectful thing to do".

I'm willing to bet most trans* activists didn't care about being respectful to the mainstream, because, when did it ever respect them? I'm sure those activists would feel sick, if they knew that they were being used as an example now, of how people should just wait politely to be recognized. They knew something was wrong, and they fought to be recognized. Fought.

And if trans* people didn't do some self-diagnosis, then probably they never would have been understood. Does jarandhel really think that the whole acceptance and understanding of trans* people was based on the medical community's work? I'm sure that trans* people actually did most of the work about understanding their selves, and the first time (and probably the 20th time, and the 200th time, and I'm sure it still happens today) that a trans* person went to a doctor or psychologist and explained their feelings, the doctor or psychologist looked at them strangely and said, "I don't know what to do about that". And so they were forced to find their own way, to understand their selves and then go back to the medical communities and say, "Doc. This is how I feel. This is what I need."

And say it again, again, until people listened.

Self-diagnosis is a tool of knowledge and empowerment. Do some people make mistakes in self-diagnosis? Of course, but a lot of doctors make mistakes in diagnosis too. And even if there are some false experiences with self-diagnosis, that's a small price to pay for the ability-- the right-- to educate our selves about our own bodies and our own health and to say, "I am the one who knows best about what is going on in my body." To use doctors and psychiatrists (who often like it when people come in knowing what's wrong with them! It makes their job easier) as assistants to help us get onto a path of wellness (or whatever path we want), not as gods who we are following blindly. To be able to understand our bodies without needing to pay the fees of doctors that many people can't afford. To be able to understand our bodies even before medical science cares about understanding them, which can often take many years after we notice something is wrong.

Look at transgender people for a moment - they didn't come along saying "I believe I have a neurological condition which results in me experiencing gender dysphoria". Because they didn't have those words and that power.

Don't we wish they had? In what world, in what totalitarian nightmare, do we think that it was a good thing that transgender people didn't have the words to describe their bodies and their experiences from the beginning?

And, now, in a world where those words exist, it doesn't seem sensible to start again from scratch.

Imagine a tornado is coming for your house. In days before people understood tornadoes, people might have said, "Huh. That's a big swirly pattern in the sky. I wonder if it means anything." Then, as time goes past, they might think, "It's getting closer. I really hope it isn't dangerous." And finally, while it is destroying their neighborhood, they think, "Okay, when that big swirly pattern happens, it's bad"... but of course, then, it's too late.

But that was before we knew about tornadoes. Now that we know, isn't it better, if we see a tornado, that we can think, "oh, that's probably a tornado, better get my family and run!" Even if we turn out to be wrong? Or, is it better to just stand there and think, "Well, that's a swirly pattern in the sky. I guess it could be something bad, but instead, I'm just going to stand here and wait until the weather service tells me. They know best, after all."

And then watch, as your house gets destroyed?

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May 2013

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