Written by Kirsti Miller in collaboration with Caroline Layt
As a proud Transgender Hall of Famer who prior to my transition represented her country in two sports – Modern Pentathlon and Duathlon at World Championships in the early 1980s – I was dismayed and disappointed with the recent comments made by Kerrie Ann Kennerley directly aimed at Transgender kids earlier this week.
Kennerley attributed if Bill Shorten was elected as Australia’s Prime Minister on Saturday “life as we know it will be over.”
She took pot shots at Mr Shorten over his proposed changes to superannuation and negative gearing, but she reserved her biggest spat at Trans kids when she said, “One thing I’m seriously outraged about, the millions and millions they’ll spend on a Gender Commission,” Kennerley said.
She joined current Prime Minister Scott Morrison in denigrating transgender people and it appeared they would like to turn back time and make Transgender people invisible again.
It appears that every time an under-age Transgender person attempts to access medical care to make their lives better conservative people try to say they’re not ready for it.
As an older transgender woman who waited until I was 40 due to those same prevailing attitudes, I feel it’s sad right-wing people are still trotting out those same tired old lines.
According to them, we’re too young to know our gender pre-pubescent and when we start undergoing a puberty which doesn’t align with our gender identity apparently we’re still far too young to access puberty blockers to make the masculinisation process go away.
These people only want us to access medical care after the age of 18 and that’s when it’s far too late for many Trans women, as the whole masculinisation process [which we didn’t want in the first place] has already happened.
Cruelly in adulthood after all of the above has been thrown at us we’re told to “face facts”, as they say we’re really men and not woman and if we were truly transgender we’d have said something when we were younger.
So in essence we can’t win, as it’s catch 22 and we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t transition when we’re younger.
The real truth is that people like Kennerley who hold this point of view never want transgender people to live out their gender truth in the public domain.
Out of sight, out of mind.
If these irrational ”gender whisperer” fears were remotely true wouldn’t we have thousands of trans people of all ages crying out for help because some school teacher or doctor tricked us into being trans?
Trans people do have a growing number of fair-minded allies and we’re not confused with our gender identities, but there are still so many who question our legitimacy and some of these people just happen to be our parents, sisters, brothers, school mates, teachers, coaches, our religious clergy and especially our politicians that are confused and need the education.
Fifty six studies that consist of primary research on this topic, of which 52 (93 per cent) found that gender transition improves the overall well-being of transgender people, while 4 (7 per cent) report mixed or null findings.
Despite everyone, everywhere telling Trans folk like me all throughout our childhoods & adult lives we were the gender we were assigned at birth, trans folk remain fixed in their gender and this is despite all of the hardships, all the losses & difficulty a transperson will most often remain resolute and transition at some point in their lives.
This is because nothing can change our gender and to be forced to live in the wrong gender and for many trans folk, to have bodily features which don’t conform to their gender is an ongoing source of extreme suffering.
Thinking about your own gender identity for a minute: If somebody forced gender confirmation surgery and hormone therapy upon you in your childhood or teen years, you would move Heaven and Earth [pardon the religious pun] to regain your true gender identity.
It’s the very same for us having to live in the gender we don’t identify as.
It’s very clear that Kennerley’s position is similar to our current Prime Minister in Scott Morrison.
He added his two bobs’ worth to last year’s gender whisperers story in the Daily Telegraph with his “let kids be kids” tweet.
They want to take us back to the 1970s when I was growing up and force trans people underground, but the saddest thing of all is these people have such a media presence and voice while the true medical experts are left silenced as they don’t have the same media connections.
But the saddest and most shameful fact of all is that KAK and Morrison are lagging so far behind science and world’s best practice.
Bring on Shorten and Labor I say and a fairer world for all Australians.
(Photos of Ms Miller at school and with her grandchildren: Supplied)