Sunday, 25 June 2006

Another Part of the Puzzle

I have to think of it that way. Objectively. With detachment.

I can't blog about all of the things I've seen and heard since starting transition. Some are far too private, some are far too heartbreaking, and some are too fantastic to be believed, even though there's enough evidence to prove them beyond any reasonable doubt.

In my day-to-day existence, I've received nothing but support. But in my battles with bureaucracy and the law, the situation has been decidedly mixed. Too many people don't know we exist, too many people know that people like me can't exist, for if we did, their cosy little worldview would be shattered.

Another fragment, from deep down the rabbit-hole :
There are studies that show that long term abuse causes changes in the 2nd primitive brain, which includes the hippocampus and the hypothalamus. These studies includes MRI data on the brains of sexually abused women, and studies on brains of those who have PTSD, and show amongst other things that the hippocampus atrophies due to the chemical changes in the brain caused by ongoing stress. There are also studies (Chung) that show that the hypothalamus, which is the region which is believed reponsible for sexual orientation and gender identity, isnt fully formed until we are in our twenties. All which points to the fact that those who state that there is no evidence for abuse causing GID, are in fact incorrect.

The extent of the damage from abuse depends on a number of factors, including the number of childhood developmental stages through which the abuse continues on, and the closeness of the family relationships between the perpetrator and the victim. In this repect the paper by Perry about "states becoming traits" is important to show that abuse causes behavioural changes in a person that become hardwired in the brain over time. Milton Diamond and Ken Zucker and Green have all published papers that describe cases where abuse preceeded GID, or describe the lack of formation of a male gender identity as a consequence of abuse. The US Army has also published information that indicates that abuse affects gender identity.

So its entirely possible that abuse can cause brain changes which mimic the same brain differences found in those transsexuals who "were born like that".
Although the brain is somewhat malleable, there is little to no evidence that the brain will change its structure back to its original state after abuse. That is, there are long term behavoural consequences arising from abuse which seem to become hardwired in. I think I probably fall into that category, and I'm obviously feminine enough in my psychological makeup to succeed at a gender change.

[A national health body] has, until recently, accepted that the abuse caused my GID, on the basis of reports from 5 different psychiatrists and two clinical psychologists, that that was so (on the basis of being regularly raped for five years) - but a third certain [nation] psychiatrist said that she didnt believe in "radical mutiliating surgery" and therefore couldn't support my request for surgery and to procrastinate some more. [The National Health Authority] then sought more advice from a certain foreign transsexual psychiatrist who wrote to them and said that she didnt believe that there was any evidence for abuse being a cause of GID - and on that basis they are now sticking their heels in (despite the 900 page file of information that includes that above case studies and research information) and saying that they don't have enough information on which to make a decision, and are therefore turning me down - we are about to argue that through a legal review, but I'm getting tired of fighting for this one ... its gone on for too many years now.

I've already largely been through [an SRS surgeon's] process, and [the surgeon] has already agreed quite a long time ago that I am a candidate for SRS, and [another medical professional] (who is the psych who vets people for him) was one of those who wrote my referral letters.

I may now try a different pool of money, because I already have my two letters of referral, and I have become aware that there is yet a third possible funding route.
BUT I would have liked to have won this one, because there are a whole group of girls out there who have had a history similar to mine, and I am the one who has the capacity for arguing the case! ([The National Health Authority] apparently has five of us on their list, which is why they are resisting the precedent so strongly~!)

Well, that might explain why GID tends to get worse over time. An initial GID condition, left untreated, leads to horrible stress (trust me on that). This might well exacerbate the initial condition, via this mechanism.

And I won't think of the women who suffered repeated rape when young, and I won't think of the courageous and years-long struggle with an inhuman bureaucracy that this woman has waged. I will remain as coldly clinical as she herself is.

I will not get upset or angry at Health Authorities whose resistance to funding treatment is directly proportional to the number of people requiring it. Especially conditions where the patient often dies without treatment, and so isn't a problem any more. Problems that are, in the end, just too embarressing for victims of them to be allowed to exist.

OK, I will get angry, and upset, but in addition to getting mad, I'll do what I can to change things for the better. And try to agitate for more study of the syndrome too, so we know more about it, this is not just important from a humanitarian and medical viewpoint, it's important to the whole scientific understanding of how our minds work, and the nature of consciousness, self-awareness, and identity.

Welcome to the world down the Rabbit-Hole.

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