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47 Responses

  1. anna
    anna June 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm |

    “What is the problem with providing mammograms and STD screenings and basic physicals and referrals to other clinics or programs or partner organizations for services that NOWHC can’t provide?”

    I think it did say in the section quoted at the link that you could contact them for a referral if they were unable to serve you.

    I don’t know, but perhaps there are specific health issues for trans women after SRS that an underequipped clinic wouldn’t be able to provide? It’s the only explanation I can find for being “trans friendly” and helping trans men but not women.

  2. anna
    anna June 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm |

    Hm. Maybe it has to do with their funding as a women’s health service? In the largely trans-phobic society we’re in, perhaps there are legal stipulations?

    Again, I don’t know.

  3. whatsername
    whatsername June 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm |

    Anna, 99% of trans women’s health care is the same as any other woman’s health care. There is no care-based reason why they would have to refer all trans women for all their care, which is what they’re saying here, that they don’t serve trans women at all.

  4. Luna
    Luna June 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm |

    You’d love my doctor! On the form one has to fill out just to become a patient, question 1 reads:
    sex: __ F, ___ M, ___ MtoF, ___ FtoM, ___other

  5. belledame222
    belledame222 June 27, 2009 at 3:23 pm |

    Besides everything said here: it’s depressing as fuck that people I’ve respected are acting in ways similar to the very people they’ve called out on their shit in the past. Which, in turn, was depressing…big fleas little ones etc. Yeah, I get personality clashes, I get some defensiveness…but: speaking as someone who has often been an Internets Asshole, rightly or wrongly (or both), it is possible to be an asshole and still be substantially right. This is more important in shit like this, where real lives are involved, than in your basic Someone Is Wrong On The Internets.

    and just not interested in reading long impassioned defenses of character or motivation at this point, however heartfelt; wondering what’s going to happen with the actual people whose health and lives are at stake. (oh, how familiar and ironic this all sounds)

  6. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla June 27, 2009 at 3:28 pm |

    a couple of days ago, i sent NOWHC an email asking them to clarify whether they are turning away trans women from all services that they provide, or only from certain services. i have not received a response.

  7. voz
    voz June 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm |

    Thank you for this post.

    I will not defend my temper, except to say my rage has been directed at those who openly threaten me and mine.

    Here, we have an opportunity to build something wonderful.

    Join me, or not. The choice is yours.

  8. belledame222
    belledame222 June 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm |

    …yeah, just clicked the link: “This domain is not valid.”

    What…? Why…? I mean…

  9. karak
    karak June 27, 2009 at 4:17 pm |

    I’m hoping that what they mean is they are unable to handle trans-specific care and issues (like after-surgery care for those who have chosen SRS). My GUESS is that if a transsexual woman showed up and asked for a mammogram, they wouldn’t turn her way. I hope.

    I want very, very hard to believe that it is not an expression of transphobia, but of covering-ass-ness in case they can’t handle a (possibly mythical, I don’t know) trans-specific medical problem.

  10. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla June 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm |

    holly@8 and bd@10 – i guess that explains why they did not respond to my e-mail. so starved for cash that they could not renew their hosting account? or closed?

  11. voz
    voz June 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm |

    @GallingGalla well, i think the timing is a lil..suspicious.

    Either way, I hope they are back, stronger than ever real soon.

    with some appropriate changes , of course.

  12. voz
    voz June 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm |

    to all the apologists and explainers-in-a-vacuum, would you really feel okay going to a clinic that expressly tells you to go someplace else?

    trans women want the same level of healthcare that cis women and trans men receive here.

    we should not be forced to “look past” a “trans women not welcome” sign, and try to conjure good intentions from stone obvious hateful exclusive language.

    no..just…no.

    when we are told to go away, we do. and that needs to stop, now.

  13. Amanda in the South Bay
    Amanda in the South Bay June 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm |

    When I first saw this on QT, I immediately assumed (because I didn’t pay too much attention to it) that the remark about genital surgery referred specifically to trans women who have had vaginoplasty, rather than being phrased in a gener neutral manner. At least they are being fair and impartial assholes?

  14. anna
    anna June 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm |

    whatshername:
    In response to Holly’s response to my first comment, I accept that and move on. It was just a suggestion.

    Could specific-issue funding thing have something to do with it? Who are their sponsors; where do they get their money? It doesn’t sound like the kind of place that would get their money strictly from patient fees, which is why I wonder.

    I’m not trying to be an apologist, voz; I’m wondering if there’s a policy issue that could be targeted and addressed, instead of a more difficult to resolve bigotry issue, which doesn’t really seem to mesh with the rest of the organization’s message.

    Of course, with the site down, I don’t know if there’s any way to find out.

  15. anna
    anna June 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm |

    whatshername:
    In response to Holly’s response to my first comment, I accept that and move on. It was just a suggestion.

    Could specific-issue funding thing have something to do with it? Who are their sponsors; where do they get their money? It doesn’t sound like the kind of place that would get their money strictly from patient fees, which is why I wonder.

    I’m not trying to be an apologist, voz; I’m wondering if there’s a policy issue that could be targeted and addressed, instead of a more difficult to resolve bigotry issue, which doesn’t really seem to mesh with the rest of the organization’s message.

    Of course, with the site down, I don’t know if there’s any way to find out.
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  16. voz
    voz June 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm |

    I’m not trying to be an apologist, voz; I’m wondering if there’s a policy issue that could be targeted and addressed, instead of a more difficult to resolve bigotry issue, which doesn’t really seem to mesh with the rest of the organization’s message.

    Well, the message was targeted at trans women, using language that bespoke a certain sophistication.

    Somebody poured resources into that statement, and a lotta thought.

    plus “we do not provide services to those male assigned at birth” is fairy unambiguous.

    and, it required intent and skill to produce that statement. This was NOT accidental. If they were sophisticated enough to single us out from all other genders except cis men, they were sophisticated enough to express their intentions accurately.

    They did precisely that.

    I think fumbling for “explanations” here is grossly inappropriate, and their intent absolutely clear as day. Attempting to “explain and mitigate” is apologism.

    That intent is exactly “trans women not welcome.” No more, no less.

    There is nothing but simple bigotry here. After all, policy stems from beliefs, no?

    Moving on, there’s a discussion about trans women and our experiences with healthcare at my place. Time to act, since my energy is at low ebb, and I want to see something come out of this for trans women.

  17. lynn
    lynn June 27, 2009 at 6:19 pm |

    Voz, thank you for saying that so calmly and patiently so that I can put the shotgun down and pins back in the hand grenades.

    and Luna, I don’t love your doctor. Fuck “trans friendliness” on cis ppl’s terms.

  18. anna
    anna June 27, 2009 at 6:35 pm |

    voz,
    by policy, I mean one that is not their own. As in, for them to be able to do one kind of good work, they are restricted in their ability to do other.

    Yes, I’m probably shifting blame. But until blame is given correctly, the problem isn’t precisely identified.

    The larger problem, of course, is transphobia, but there is clearly a specific problem HERE, that I’m trying to fully identify. Yes, SOMEONE has made it so that trans women are not welcome. That is nothing more or less than bigotry. I don’t disagree with you.
    I just think that unless the precise source of that bigotry is identified, we may condemn the wrong people.

    If, in fact, this establishment has chosen independently to deny services to trans men and women, then they deservedly must be condemned for it. However, if someone else forced that upon them, then the condemnation ought to be shifted to address the issue correctly.

    I hope I’m not being offensive here. If I am, I apologize. I did have the opportunity to read the information from the source before it went down, and the section regarding trans people didn’t seem to fit. This is why I am trying to understand why the organization would exclude them.

    Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time an otherwise accepting organization chose to limit their offerings to trans people, but for an organization to claim trans-friendliness and then systematically deny access to over half of the trans identities, seems strange to me.

  19. lynn
    lynn June 27, 2009 at 6:39 pm |

    Still fucking moderating me? I’m not the fucking troll here. the fucking troll owes VOz a big thank you cuz I was about to run over her like a garbage scow over a kayak.

  20. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla June 27, 2009 at 6:54 pm |

    anna, they are denying services to trans women as an entire class. trans men are welcome as long as they have not had GRS, hence the vast majority of trans men are welcome. you did see the “female assigned at birth” language, right?

    so while they may be denying care to a small percentage of trans men, they are categorically denying care to *all* trans women. they are privileging all people assigned female at birth. trans men may feel uncomfortable / ungendered with NOWHC lumping them in with women but they can still get care. trans women are categorically denied care and are the ones being *physically* harmed by NOWHC’s policy.

    i’d ask you to re-read the language on the site, but it’s down…

    whether it’s NOWHC’s own policy or is a result of restrictions imposed by a funding source, the effect is the same.

    but for an organization to claim trans-friendliness and then systematically deny access to over half of the trans identities, seems strange to me.

    doesn’t seem strange to me. seems typical to me. it’s so common and pervasive that whenever i see the phrase “women and trans” or one of its variants, i understand it to mean female-assigned-at-birth only, with trans women excluded, unless i see a clear, unambiguous statement that trans women are included.

  21. on nowhc: “Women and Trans” Health Care Really Ought to Mean It « Raven’s Eye

    [...] from Feministe by Holly I was really shocked, confused and appalled when I saw this. Queen Emily was trying to find trans [...]

  22. voz
    voz June 27, 2009 at 7:13 pm |

    They do not deny services to trans men, only trans women. The correct word is, transmisogyny Transphobia is not at all present here.

    Now that I see where you are coming from, I read you, and yes, I agree. Thank you for not being put off by the gruff exterior. Underneath all that, I am merely a cranky old bitch who has seen a lil too much action in her life with an attitude problem towards exclusion that threatens our lives. :D

    That said, the target is somewhere? A malicious webmaster? Space aliens diddling electrons on the intertubes making us see hate speech and exclusion where there is none?

    It would not be the first time if a rogue element decided to slip that into an otherwise inclusive and nondiscriminating program. It has happened before, like when a receptionist reads one of us as trans, and sends us away, cuz the “bible told her so” or some such thing. But, how likely is that? And, what conditions allowed it to sit there, waiting til someone with enough guts to speak out actually did so?

    And, isn’t the clinic responsible for not harming its stated constituency, all women? Seems like they unarguably botched that one, and are responsible, even if they have a rogue in the ranks, or an old school benefactor who stipulated that “those dirty MtFs” not be served. A clinic that is inclusive would not have allowed this to happen. There are such things as proofreaders, yanno.

    I would hope whoever bankrolls this organization steps up and finds the person or persons responsible. Far far more importantly than looking for a sacrificial head on a platter, I hope the clinic actually serves all women, and quickly restores its website to reflect that, and structures of accountability are put in place.

    Not serving any women because they were called out on not serving all women is not acceptable. In the meantime, irreparable harm was done to trans women, and we are don’t have much to go on but what their openly stated intentions are.

  23. whatsername
    whatsername June 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm |

    anna,

    There are a number of posts on this issue in the blogosphere right now, perhaps you should do a bit more homework on this organization. That might make this conversation considerably less frustrating for those already more than familiar with the 101.

  24. voz
    voz June 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm |

    I can haz that garbage scow please? Pretty Please?

    Thank you whatshername, GallingGalla, and Lynn. Expecting the “educate me” privilege slams and actually calling it out are very different things.

    And, please allow Lynn in. I don’t think sending trans women affected by this is appropriate, nor do I think women whose lives are threatened are legitimate targets for tone arguments.

    But hey, I do know how this place runs, and I am less than OK being here, even tho its our lives being discussed.

    @luna I would stfu and listen to what Lynn says. The doc I saw in Rhode Island had forms like that (othering language, anybody?) and yes, still came unglued when he examined me, and gouged my breasts repeatedly with a metal implement. Yes, I went back, because there are too damn many “trans women not served here” signs up for me to go elsewhere.

    I do not love doctors with forms like that. Sorry.

  25. anna
    anna June 27, 2009 at 8:05 pm |

    whatsername, thanks for the reminder and please accept my apologies. I had gotten into following this thread and hadn’t looked elsewhere. Will do so.

  26. whatsername
    whatsername June 27, 2009 at 8:10 pm |

    anna,

    no apologies necessary, thank you for taking the message as I intended it. :)

  27. voz
    voz June 27, 2009 at 9:13 pm |

    hmm…anybody notice anna thanks the cis woman, and totally ignores the trans women who took time to engage her?

    That was extremely uncool, anna, and says quite a bit about how you see us. Not an okay approach to this issue.

  28. Melia
    Melia June 27, 2009 at 9:33 pm |

    “Maybe it has to do with their funding as a women’s health service? In the largely trans-phobic society we’re in, perhaps there are legal stipulations?”

    But if this were the case, wouldn’t they be able to treat anyone who was legally female at least? (i.e. cis women and post-SRS trans women.) I don’t know too much about how the laws work but that would make sense to me.

  29. Amanda in the South Bay
    Amanda in the South Bay June 27, 2009 at 9:55 pm |

    Melia-
    Depending on the jurisdiction, you may not even need SRS. I believe there are a handful of places that allow one to change the sex on a birth certificate without surgery. And in a few places, (like Colorado, IIRC) the sex marker on a drivers license suffices for purposes of marriage.

  30. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil June 27, 2009 at 10:03 pm |

    I dunno, Voz. whatshername did specifically point out that Anna needed to do some 101. I don’t see the slight as intentional.

  31. woland
    woland June 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm |

    voz-if you like, it might be worth letting people at Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto know about your dvd project and asking them to post a request for contributions. I can’t speak from personal experience (I’m a cis lesbian) but I think the centre is held in high regard in the trans comunity.

    The LGBTQ health program there was started in response to surveys showing the queer community had generally poor access to appropriate health care. Several of the staff (including my doctor) are transgender, and the centre seems to be really involved in community activism and has a lot of programs specific to trans people (I don’t know how much is targeted to trans women specifically.) To my knowledge, services aimed at women are fully inclusive of trans women. I know they are also involved in projects to improve LGBTQ health care in general and access to care for trans people in particular.

  32. rosasharn
    rosasharn June 27, 2009 at 10:47 pm |

    Is Voz a troll? “OMG SOMEONE (who upthread said I had a great post) DIDN’T THANK ME IT IS TRANS PERSECUTION!!!!”

  33. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil June 27, 2009 at 11:02 pm |

    Rosa, the “You’re transphobic!” “Yeah, well, you’re a troll!” conversation doesn’t really get us anywhere. It’s more productive to point out the problem with the original statement and move from there.

    My criticism of Voz’s comment (if it ever appears) is that it engages in making conclusions about Anna’s intentions (by assuming that Anna is transphobic or transmisogynist) rather than engaging on the issue (whether or not Anna ignored criticism from transwomen and only took criticism from cis-women seriously).

    /threadjack

  34. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. June 28, 2009 at 2:23 am |

    I felt the same when I saw this on QT.

    In my cis-privileged-ness I didn’t realize how impossible it is for trans women to find respectful and humane routine care. This betrayal by INCITE (and the related interweb argument) has really made me depressed about social justice movements in general, but that’s a different issue.

  35. voz
    voz June 28, 2009 at 4:37 am |

    voz-if you like, it might be worth letting people at Sherbourne Health Centre in Toronto know about your dvd project and asking them to post a request for contributions. I can’t speak from personal experience (I’m a cis lesbian) but I think the centre is held in high regard in the trans comunity.

    Thanks for the tip…I have Canadian contacts who are on the case. Thanks for confirming what they told me. I will def look into it.

    engaging on the issue (whether or not Anna ignored criticism from transwomen and only took criticism from cis-women seriously).
    This is exactly it, and reflective of her cissexism. Trust me, I have seen this shit enough to recognize it and call it out. You are a non authority on my experiences, no matter what yours are. Deal.

    @GallinGalla everything you said, times 10001. experience talks, cis stupidity walks.

    @Kristen thanks for being open to the possibility that we might actually know what the fuck we are talking about in our lives.

    @Holly I am so sorry the crazy came chasing me and pissed all over your thread. If it will help get this thread out of cis-head-up-the-ass land, you can delete everything I wrote with my blessings. Naively, I expected better for this site than when I called for its boycott.

    I now stand corrected.

  36. anna
    anna June 28, 2009 at 10:52 am |

    I had no positive indicators here of who was trans and who was cis. Neither do you. Please do not presume to know my identity. I do naively try to believe the best of people and organizations that claim to be friendly to me and people like me, and tend to grant them the benefit of the doubt until I learn better. This was my point.

    I may be stupid and naive, but to assume I’m cissexist is unfair. That is the last I have to say here.

  37. malathion
    malathion June 28, 2009 at 12:49 pm |

    I wonder what kind of care this clinic actually provides? If it’s really limited to “female reproductive health” – e.g., pregnancy tests, PAP smears, pre-natal care, birth control pills – then they might have some kind of justification. But if that’s the case, then it makes more sense to say “we provide medical care for uteruses, fetuses, and cervixes and referrals for other kinds of care.” I think that it’s justifiable for a clinic to focuses on a specific slice of the population for reasons of resource conservation and expertise.

    Anyways, what’s really sad is that there isn’t money for community health care clinics for everyone of every gender for all kinds of care, not just reproductive care.

  38. voz
    voz June 28, 2009 at 1:21 pm |

    Okay…for the last(yeah right) time, the clinic provides much more care for marginalized women than just the care directly related to dropping babies. Women’s healthcare is not all about popping kids out, and the clinic staff are hip enough to know that for all but trans women. For us, even though our care requires only that they welcome us and not hate us, they still actively chose to post a hate policy.

    There are enough resources. Excusing the clinic sight unseen is validating cissupremacy, and grossly inappropriate given your total lack of clue.

    I have a screenshot of the web page in question, if anybody is interested. That way, commentors named after toxic insecticides and others might actually have some facts to go on before making blanket statements about excluding traditionally marginalized women without cause.

    Treating 98%-99% of marginalized women and excluding the ones most hurt by exclusion is hateful, and unjustified by any rational economic measure of this world. This is a fact, and not something reasonable people will find debatable.

  39. Butch Fatale
    Butch Fatale June 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm |

    Malathion, if you google New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic, you’ll see that NOWHC offers both comprehensive health care and works for structural change so that low-income women of color will not be so chronically underserved.

    Why would so many people be so upset if this were about a clinic that simply does not serve anyone who could not give birth? They would not, of course, because trans women have better things to do with their time than that.

    Even if what you suggest were the case, many women, trans and cis, require regular mammograms or at least breast exams, and a number of other types of care that may be folded into a pelvic exam visit.

  40. piny
    piny June 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm |

    To add to what BF is saying, this is another verdict that should be left up to the patient. Trans women will probably be at least as knowledgeable about what they can and cannot use anyway. “We are still working on x type of service,” is totally different from, “We cannot serve x type of people.”

    Plus, this idea that being trans or trans female puts you and all your organs and systems in an entirely different medical category from cis people or cis women? It’s not an assumption based in fact, first of all. Pap smears, mammograms, blood tests, safer-sex education and supplies, well-woman checkups: all this stuff is wholly modular.

    More importantly, it’s an excuse for exclusion that should be familiar to any trans person who has tried to get medical care. Clinics, doctors, and insurance companies use it all the time. It even becomes a kind of panpathology, as trans patients are told that their exogenous hormones are clearly why they suffer from joint pain/stomach cramps/ingrown toenails. A cis analogy would be the fat patient whose doctor refuses to treat them as a whole person, and sources every medical concern from sinusitis to fibro back to a failure to be skinny.

    It’s a silly way to treat human bodies, and a dangerous burden under which to access care. Whatever the intention behind it, it’s a misguided policy that helps shore up both cissexist attitudes towards trans bodies and transphobic mechanisms for diverting healthcare away from populations in need.

  41. voz
    voz June 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm |

    In solidarity with cis woc, I am asking ppl to stand down, and let Emily and the NOWHC staff settle this privately.

    A friend convinced me, although I can’t talk about it.

    Holly, please place this prominently in your post

  42. tghi
    tghi June 30, 2009 at 2:58 pm |

    There are critical updates galore. I am asking Holly/Feministe to update everyone on

    1) the clinic’s accountability & explanation:
    http://questioningtransphobia.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/the-response-from-nowhc/

    2) queen emily’s subsequent apology:
    http://questioningtransphobia.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/clarificatio/

    3) bfp’s thoughts:
    http://flipfloppingjoy.com/2009/06/30/1412/

    and subsequent apologies
    http://flipfloppingjoy.com/2009/06/30/an-open-letter-to/
    http://flipfloppingjoy.com/2009/06/30/to/
    http://flipfloppingjoy.com/2009/06/30/and-most-importantly-to/

    4) belledame222 has also apologized:
    http://fetchmemyaxe.blogspot.com/2009/06/i-also-want-to-apologize.html

    Thank you to all these sisters for their apologia, self-reflection, and grace.

    If we’re just going to go around calling oppressed people hateful bigots without bothering to learn wtf is really happening, without engaging one another like the complex people we all are, we will reproduce oppression and we will get NOWHERE.

    It would be great if the feminist blogosphere was as passionate about engaging transformative community accountability work as it is being on the attack. Because, for real? You never know when you will fuck up (cuz it’s always when, never if) and the bloody swarm will come after your ass.

    I’m not saying don’t address the fuck ups, or even the perceived fuck ups. All I’m saying is, it seems pretty clear that we need each other, and if we keep acting like this, we won’t get there from here.

  43. amandaw
    amandaw June 30, 2009 at 7:13 pm |

    tghi’s comment got stuck in the spam filter w/ all the links. I just pulled it out and wanted to make sure it shows on the front page.

  44. Luna
    Luna July 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm |

    @luna I would stfu and listen to what Lynn says. The doc I saw in Rhode Island had forms like that (othering language, anybody?) and yes, still came unglued when he examined me, and gouged my breasts repeatedly with a metal implement. Yes, I went back, because there are too damn many “trans women not served here” signs up for me to go elsewhere.

    I do not love doctors with forms like that. Sorry.

    I see. I had no idea. Obviously. I thought it was inclusive. What would you have it say instead?

    And yanno, telling someone to stfu and listen is fucking rude. At least when said someone has posted *before* the dissenting opinion.

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