MORE SENSITIVITY FOR TRANSWOMEN AND MALE SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS IS NEEDED.

I knew a man once, whose uncle, a Pacific War veteran, complained about increasing petrol prices, whereupon he suggested to his uncle that he sell his six cylinder engine car and buy a little Honda. The uncle said, “No way! I’m not doing that! Holden or Ford for me!” Some Second World War Pacific Theatre veterans refused to even countenance buying an Australian built Toyota, Datsun or Nissan or Mitsubishi (I remember my Year Eleven Economics Teacher saying that his father-in-law swore that he’d never have a Japanese car, but, in 1982, bought a Mitsubishi Sigma station wagon, and I thought, yes, that’s all well and good, but what his father-in-law did was, after Mitsubishi bought Chrysler Australia, it continued making the Sigma, but with a Mitsubishi badge, so he bought a car that was made in Australia bearing the badge of a Japanese company) as they didn’t want to give their former enemy their money.

I am reminded of an episode of The Bill that I saw where detectives went to a house where an older man playing a skinhead said that a man who was connected to him had gotten weird since being released from prison after serving time for grievous body harm (his excuse was that he was drunk) and he said that the man wanted to go out at night. Another man, who was a postal worker, was raped by the former prisoner, and it wasn’t so much a suspicion that he was LGBTIQA, but the prisoner had been raped by other inmates and he was determined to enact revenge. I remember the rape victim asked for a female police officer to take his statement and go with him for the exam.

Just like the man’s uncle didn’t want to buy a little Honda (I don’t agree with his sentiments, and, after all, I remember a woman whose father had been a POW in Japan, saying that through her father’s experiences, he said, “There are good Japanese, and there are bad Japanese. There are kind Japanese and there are cruel Japanese.”) many of us who are sexual abuse survivors do not feel comfortable sharing our stories with other males (that’s another thing for this ridiculous doctor who claims that men and women should not be just friends to remember) and this can impact upon our choices. We may not feel comfortable seeing other male doctors (we may find one or two exceptions, however), for example, we may not feel comfortable being in an all male environment, we may not be comfortable with male care workers. This list goes on.

I read this week that a woman who was a sexual abuse and rape survivor felt compelled to leave a support group because there was a transgender female who came, who apparently didn’t have any female characteristics. I saw the usual redneck claims, and I had one person who, when I tried to explain transgenderism, tell me that you can paint a Ford but it will never be a Porsche.

My description of transgenderism, as both a literal and metaphorical explanation, is, the year is 1988, and a young man buys his first car, a 1978 Ford Falcon. It has an AM Radio and he wants to listen to an FM station and cassettes in the car. So, he goes to a car accessories store and buys an AM/FM cassette player but it has a 25 watt output. When he takes it to the installer, they say, “We have a problem. The factory speakers don’t have sufficient output, so if you connect this radio to those speakers, they will go, “No way!”” So, he goes and buys new speakers and gets a new stereo. The radio is referred to as the head unit and the speakers, as, well, speakers. So, my explanation is, you are making the body compatible with the brain, by having hormone treatment and surgery. The head unit being the brain.

Sex abuse survivors can be cisgender females, transgender females, cisgender males, transgender males or non-binary.

I remember an episode of Australian soap opera, written by Peter Phelps, where his character was raped by an old school friend on his bucks’ night. Peter Phelps’ character believed he needed a sex change. Well, no, he didn’t.

Sex abuse survivors need to be able to access services that they are comfortable with. If you force a pre-op transgender female to attend a group with males, you are doing them a disservice.

I am supportive of women’s spaces, but by the same token, I am not supportive of exclusion of transgender folks. What transgender women need to be told, which I’m sure they know, is that they will still need prostate checks and that it is important that their doctors do so with sensitivity.

And let’s not forget that there are also intersex people. I read an article, and I agree with it, suggesting that unless a person is at serious physical risk, they should not have surgery until they are old enough to make up their own mind.

I applaud many state governments in Australia that have outlawed gay conversion therapy and I consider that, as well as gender conformity therapy, to be dangerous and can cost people their lives, as they are incapable of being their true selves.

So, what is important is for everyone to be comfortable with what services they access. One thing I would also ask people is, have you, in a non-emergency situation, ever had to endure a physical exam with a doctor where it was non-consensual? Or have you had a doctor who has done a non-consensual exam? I have, and having to mask was horrendous!

So, if the attitude of people such as the man’s uncle should be respected, so should the rights of those who do not conform to gender stereotypes and are transgender and who have been violated.