Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Money & Privilege

CNN and NPR and other news agencies said they are not going to use the correct pronouns until Chelsea Manning receives hormones and transitions. The New York Times wrote…
National Public Radio will continue for now to refer to Private Manning as “he,” according to a spokeswoman, Anna Bross. “Until Bradley Manning’s desire to have his gender changed actually physically happens, we will be using male-related pronouns to identify him,” she said.
The policy goes against the AP guidelines for trans-people in that the AP stylesheet “use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.” In addition, the policy assumes that a person has enough money to begin transitioning, for many the cost is prohibitive. For many trans-people the cost of transition is way out of reach costing several thousand dollars for therapy, hormones and for trans-women electrolysis and that does not even include surgery.

In a Maine homeless shelter clients complained about a trans-woman staying at the shelter, they said,
“That person did not have any feminine mannerisms and often dresses in a T-shirt and jeans, sporting a 5 o'clock shadow of male facial hair”
I said in my blog that,
Honey, if you want to give them a couple of thousand dollars for them to have electrolysis or laser treatment, I sure they would be happy to have their beards removed. But since it is unlikely you will give them the money and since they are living in a homeless shelter I doubt very much that they have the money.
I know of a number of trans-women who are on assistance and cannot afford electrolysis and Medicaid just pays for their hormones. It puts additional stress on them because they have a “5 o’clock shadows” and it decreases their ability to pass which in turn limits their chances of getting a job.

Money also increases the opportunity for passing, visual non-conformity is a risk factor in causing anti-transgender bias and its attendant social and economic burdens. A number of trans-women have what is called “Full Face Feminization Surgery” that makes the face have a more feminine appearance and it can cost over $60,000. The better that you pass the better your chances are to finding a good job, so it is a vicious circle.

It no different in the non-trans world, those with money have privilege, but in the trans-world having money to transition makes all the difference between a homeless shelter and passing.

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