Rorschachs hostage.

wpid-wp-1410862083754.jpegToday I was at the last meeting with the psychologist in the investigation team prior to diagnosis.

The last three or four meetings with him have been all about testing my mental resilience and general grade of functioning regarding IQ, memory, concentration, verbal abilities and problem solving. The team wants to know that my situation is stable, that I’m well enough to continue and that the gender dysforia I experience is not caused by a personality disorder or depression, for instance.

I’m usually totally exhausted after an hour and a half of intense testing.The first time I was asked intimate questions such as if I “like to behave like a woman, sexually”, what ever that means. That pissed me off so much I haven’t even been able to write about it properly. Then I had to solve logic problems, do advanced 3D jigsaw puzzles and answer questions regarding general education, like how hot water is at it’s boiling point or what the word “palliative” means.

Today, among other things, I had to do a Rorschach test, the old ink stain test that means to examine my personality characteristics and emotional functioning based on how I freely interpret nonsense paintings. 0 It is well known that Rorschach-tests are not reliable, so I didn’t think they were used any more. But I was wrong, they are widely used, especially in the juridical system in Sweden and it is a matter of some controversy.

It makes me feel awkward, frustrated and exposed to interpret pictures in front of a gatekeeper who decides if I will get the medical care I ask for, or not. The Rorschach test is a projective test, normally used to judge if a person has psychotic tendencies. I’m not convinced that it is a valid tool for evaluating my creativeness and personality, like the doctor said when I asked why I had to do it.

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Me at a larp, wearing a 1930’s doctors outfit matching the style and age of the Rorschach-test.

I feel like I’m someone’s hostage and cannot be free of this process until we are done with it. I have to cooperate and be a very, very good boy if I want to continue with the investigation. No matter how intimidating or insulting the questions are, how irrelevant they may seem or how badly the tests are managed.

The good news is that there will be no more psychological testing after today.

When I had finished the doctor summed up my profile as normal to above average, but uneven. No surprises here, I told him all about this the first time we met, about me being an academic nerd with ADHD. Perfectly in line with that he pointed out that I have dips in concentration that show extra well after a long time when solving logic or mathematical problems. Otherwise I’m generally very quick, performing well and I’m especially good at verbal tasks. Not psychotic at all, no signs of depression, no personality disorder and I have very low rates of anxiety.

That was it, all testing done and all relevant information gathered at this stage. I expect things to go more slowly from here. I’ll get a doctors appointment in a month or three. Hopefully I’ll get the diagnosis then. After that I’ll have to go through a thorough medical examination and get a recommendation to start the hormone treatment. I can’t wait. But we knew that, I have another diagnosis for it. 😉

/ E.

 

More about why Rorschach-tests are not reliable, in Swedish;

http://www.barnasrett.no/Artikler/rattssikkerheten_hotas.htm

http://ww2.lakartidningen.se/ltarkiv/2000/temp/pda20501.pdf

Facing transphobia – how to be my ally

After my last post about transphobia I got a lot of feedback and questions from my readers. Who was the bastard? Someone I may run into? Or you?” And “What would you like me to do as an ally, in a situation like that?” In this post, I’ll try to answer your questions. I’ve even made a short plan for you to follow, a handy list on how to face transphobia.

The working order when facing transphobia

  1. Someone is a bastard, with or without intention.
  2. I tell them off and give them the means to behave.
  3. You back me up and set an example, following the rules I stated and without outing me as transgender.
  4. If the transphobic bastard continues – I tell them off again and clarify the rules for how to behave.
  5. If the transphobic bastard continues – help me to verbally shame the offender and call other peoples attention to what is happening.
  6. Is it not working? Do whatever seems safest at the moment: Tell the offender to fuck off or walk away yourself, taking me with you.
  7. Afterwards: Let me talk about it without questioning or victim-shaming me. Ask me if I want to do anything about what happened or if its okay with me that you speak to others about it.

Please remember that this plan of action is only valid for me, not other transgenderd people. Read more about generally being a good ally here. Now on to your questions.

“Who was the transphobic bastard? Someone I may run into? Or you?”

I don’t know who he was. I was blinded by adrenaline, so mad I cannot remember his face. I sort of remember the colour of his clothes, his hair and his hateful eyes. But I couldn’t pick him out in a crowd or be sure to recognize him if we ever meet again. And guess what, it doesn’t matter. There are thousands like him and I’ll meet them anywhere, all the time, every day. I cannot know when something will happen again and yes, it affects me. I’m not scared, but I’m soon to defence and instantly on my guard. The next time, it may not end so well.

“What would you like me to do as an ally, in a situation like that?”

Don’t worry about white-knighting me. It is important to act against the stereotype image that says “real men fight their own battles”. I need my friends, sometimes more than others. That does not make me any less of a man.

When someone questions my gender identity, I usually go easy on them at first. It could be a very understandable mistake. I just laugh before I correct them like “Oh, you thought I was a girl? Well, I’m not. You say ‘he’ or ‘him’ when you speak of me”.

The first correction is your cue! This is when I need you as an ally to step forward and back me up. How? That depends on the situation, but always avoid to literally out me as a transgender. Usually it will be enough to simply set an example of proper behaviour. You can preferably start to talk about something else to avoid going in to conflict, but be sure to make a point of addressing me the way I just asked. Put some weight behind the masculine pronoun: “You cant believe what Emil just told me HE did last weekend…”

It does not matter much what you say, it is all about how you say it. The point is to show the offender how to behave and that I’m not alone, that you are with me. (Which is nice for me to know, as well!)

Optional hardcore defence-strategy

Some of my queer activist friends like to take this opportunity to play up what ever masculinity I’ve got by telling a facilitating story about me, carefully mentioning things I’ve done that are coded as traditionally super-masculine. Like how awesome it was that one time when we went to a gay club together or an anecdote about how I’m so much stronger and bad ass than I look. It’s supposed to be funny and it is okay if it is building on stereotype masculinity. What this sort of story actually does when told in relation to me, is that it opens up the definition of masculinity, making it inclusive rather than exclusive.

Call other peoples attention to what is happening

No matter how you go about, if setting an example is not enough and the offender interrupts or keep addressing me in a scornful or diminishing way, it’s time to definitely put an end to it. I’ll probably try to clarify the rules for addressing me again and eventually tell the bastard to fuck off, but it might not matter what I say.

One thing you always can do is to call other peoples attention to what is happening. Shame the offender and look for support among others present by saying things like

  • “Did you hear that?”
  • “Hey stop it, I notice that you X has a really bad tone towards Emil”.
  • “There seems to be some sort of misunderstanding here, didn’t you hear what HE said?”
  • “You keep insisting that Emil is lying about who HE is, why is that? I thought he was rather clear on that point.”

If this is not helping either, it might be a good time for us to leave before things end up badly.

I do not ask of my friends to stand up for me and literally pick up a fight with all the transphobic misogynist bastards in the world. If the offender is persistent in being threatening, the situation might be more dangerous than you can imagine. That is why you have to decide for yourself, the most proper thing to do or say.

/ Emil

A taste of transphobia.

The other day I had rare but ugly close up meeting with transphobia that pissed me off seriously. I was at a reenachtment event when I was addressed as a “she” by someone I don’t know. I protested mildly and informed the person that I was a “he”, a guy. He laughed scornfully at that, insisting that I was a girl. When I denied this, he rolled his eyes and pointed to my head – “So, if I put on a funny hat like yours, I’ll be a lady!?”

“No” I answered coldly and gave him the evil eye. “I’m telling you the truth. This is not funny and not a topic for discussion”. He was now smearing, leaning forward a bit, intimidating me, physically invading my personal space. I was mad as hell.

He made me someone to make fun of. I could tell that this was one of those times when explanations are no good. He had made his point clear and I was on my own. There were other people around us, but nobody intervened or gave me any support. I could do nothing but pick up a fight or leave. I opted for the later, wishing I’ve have had other choices to make.

I know this is every day stuff to many transgenderd people out there, but I’ve NEVER been treated this way before and was surprised, angry and upset. The whole experience got the consequence that I felt a bit unsafe during the rest of the event. I could not remember the man’s face so I had to keep my guard up and I stayed close to my friends. Nothing else happened but I left the event with a little less trust in humanity than I had when I got there.