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Tad Dagan

A Rant

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geek poetry
Tad Dagan
My husband's blog

A Rant

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geek poetry
I should be done posting about what happened at Social Security. It happened, it wasn't much different than I expected, life goes on. In fact, I should be asleep - it's gone one, and I have to be up at seven to call the doctor and talk to a friend. But I'm still really upset, and I can't stop thinking about it.

The thing is, the guy who helped me was really nice. He did everything he could to help me, and he was as tactful and respectful as possible. And the woman at DMV yesterday was the same. And yet despite that, the experience was humiliating, degrading and infuriating.

One of my friends afterward asked me, "Well, you didn't expect it to be easy, did you?" Well, honestly, yes. I did, because frankly it should be. For everyone.

No cis person can really understand what it's like to go into a government office to take care of some mundane, annoying, but necessary paperwork and have to face an intrusive series of questions about the most personal, private part of their lives and bodies. They can't ever understand what it feels like for a complete stranger - an uneducated, ignorant, often hostile stranger - to hold the power to decide if you're "worthy" to make the basic decisions about who you are and whether you deserve to get a job, rent a flat, get married, go to school, be seen as a whole, normal person in your everyday life. They don't understand what it feels like to be required to talk about their genitals in public, to people they don't know, just to avoid discrimination or prejudice. And even if they're asked to imagine it, they feel like it wouldn't bother them. I would have thought the same, before I had to live through it over and over again.

There's this attitude that we shouldn't expect any different. We are, after all, asking for something so weird and difficult that it only makes sense we have to jump through hoops and deal with these kinds of obstacles. But why? What exactly are we asking for? To be treated like normal human beings? To be trusted to know ourselves better than some person who glanced between our legs when we were born or some clerk who checks ticky boxes? To make our own decisions about how to treat our own medical issues? What about this exactly is so terrible that we deserve to be singled out and abused? It's not like people go in and change their gender markers on a whim. What are they so afraid of?

At one point the clerk asked me if my transition was complete. I said it was in that I was kliving as myself and my employers didn't need to know any details about my genitalia. He said, "Well, no, and neither do we, but..." And I wanted to shake him. What does he think asking about my surgical status is doing? He's not a doctor. He's in no way qualified to determine whether or not I'm a man. So why does he have the right to decide what my paperwork says? Why does he get to ask me questions about my confidential medical treatment and judge whether that ttreatment is appropriate to my situation?

None of this is helped by the specific, intense dysphoria I've been dealing with lately. I wanted to ask him - if your ability to get a job depended on you spending $20,000 cash to get your dick cut off and a roll of muscle attached in its place that many people think will "never look quite normal" (and constantly tell you that), which makes you impotent and, oh yeah, has no erotic sensation, what would YOU do? And how would you feel about strangers asking you about it and implying that the fact that you hadn't already done it meant you weren't really a man?*

I don't know. I realise that I'm not the only one to have to deal with this, and that I've been lucky before this in my legal transition. But why should I have to consider myself "lucky" that I've been treated like a real human being? Why do any of us have to put up with things like this and worse? I hate feeling this helpless and ashamed because of other people's ignorance, and knowing I've had it easier than most just makes me angrier.

*This is a really unflattering, not wholly accurate description of one particular procedure, born out of my own frustration and self hate, and is no way meant to be a judgement on those who have chosen it (I may end up one of you) - nor should it be used to judge or reach conclusions about SRS by those not familiar with the options.

EDITED to add a warning to the cut and rephrase something that didn't come out at all how I meant it.
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