Van Der Ross - Transgendered Citizenship in the Norwegian Welfare State Barcelona Jvdr | Transgender

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Nueva forma de entender el género y la ciudadanía
   1   Transgendered citizenship in the Norwegian welfare state: The non-recognition of diversities, or Gender Equality for all kinds of gender? Janneke van der Ros,  Assoc. Prof. and Senior Research Fellow University College of Lillehammer and Regional Centre of Equality, Hamar Norway Paper presented at The European Conference on Politics and Gender, Organized by the Standing Group on Gender and Politics, Section: LGBTQI Rights, Panel: Sexuality and Politics Sexual/Gender Diversities and Assimilationism/Radicalism Debates Barcelona 21-23. march 2013     2    Abstract The article assesses some central gender equality principles in Norway for people in the transgender specter by comparing access to transrelated health care and recognition of gender identity in the legal system for different groups of transgender people: transsexual persons, i.e. trans people diagnosed with the gender identity disorder transsexualism, and trans people experiencing gender identity problems, but without a diagnosis. With regards to (trans-) gender equality in the health care sector, trans people without the diagnosis have no access to gender identity related health care services in the public health care sector. In the legal system, official recognition of a trans person’s gender identity and providing identity papers congruent with the perso n’ s gender identity and gender expression, is conceivable only for those who accepted and indeed have undergone irreversible sterilization. Second, gender identity and gender expression are not part of either gender equality or anti-discrimination legislation, so transgender individuals are unprotected against discrimination on these grounds. These cases show, the author argues that gender equality policies seem primarily intended for women and men as understood in a (heteronormativ) binary gender model. Transgendered people who are or act too different from the gender binaries in the model are not granted equal citizenship rights and recognition.   3   Introduction Equality politics is about handling differences  –  how does a government assure that difference and diversity among a nation/state’s citizens is taken into account and that people different from one another in a number of central ways are treated similarly. In this paper, I argue that Norwegian gender equality first and foremost is designed for 1) women (and men) well settled in the heteronormativ binary gender model, and 2) for those in the GLBTQI specter who are assimilated within this model. Those different from the so- called “ordinary” women and men gender types challenge the regular order when demanding recognition for a variety of different gender identities and claiming inclusion in the state-feminist gender equality project. I refer here to recognition as understood by political science scholar Nancy Fraser (2003). Similarly, other citizens different from a white, middleclass, non-Christian, able-bodied, and preferably urban women and men citizen model, may experience failures of recognition and redistribution policies as well. In this paper though, I focus predominantly on transgender people ’ s experiences with a) the Norwegian welfare state with regard to access to health care services related to their gender identity dysphoria, and b) the non-inclusion of transgender issues in Norwegian gender equality legislation, such as anti-discrimination on grounds of gender identity and gender expression, and access to identity papers congruent with a person’s gender identity and gender expression. I will present and discuss some results from recently undertaken research on Norwegian transgender people’s living conditions and life quality in a “ (trans-) gender and politics” perspective: asking how the state handles/reacts to (trans-) gender differences, i.e. differences between all kinds of gendered people. What would gender equality policies look like if gender diversity would be recognized and taken into account in the policy processes? In order to illuminate my argument, I make a distinction between trans people with the diagnosis of transsexualism, F64.0 and those without this diagnosis, and discuss some of the implications of this distinction in the Norwegian welfare state. Gender, gender identity and gender expression, being the central theme in trans*gender people’s life, I reflect about different meanings of “doing gender”, “doing gender differently” and “doing different genders” for trans*gender and cisgender individuals, before showing empirically some of the failures of the Norwegian gender equality project with regard to those being different from, and of which many choose to stay different from women and men within the binary gender model.   4   The trans*gender specter –  troublesome and troubling terminology The terminology trans*gender specter is used to imply all those who experience or have experienced discomfort due to a mismatch between the sex ascribed at birth (and recorded in the birth protocols and subsequently in all kinds of ID papers, social security numbers, passport etc. ) and a person’s self-identified gender. Simply stated (as far as simplicity is possible): trans*gender is about incongruence between a person’s bodily (or anatomical) sex and this person’s mental (or psychological) gender, i.e. her/his/hen ’ s gender identity. These incongruences arise because both biological sex  , and the social construction gende r traditionally have been considered as dichotomous constructions (Beemyn & Rankin 2011:19). In the specter we include the experiences of people with nonbinary identities; gender nonconforming, gender diverse, gender variant people, gender rebels, transsexuals, cross-dressers, gender queers and what other labels individuals choose to describe their gender identity or identities. There are no neutral terms related transgender people (Valentine 2007); classification and naming is always politically charged (Beemyn & Ranking 2011:16). My reason for distinguishing between transsexuals and others with transgender experiences is to examine and question the basis of Norwegian gender equality policies. The first category, transsexuals, designates those who have been diagnosed with transsexualism; F64.0 in the WHO International Codes of Diseases system (ICD 10) and the second group are those who are not recognized as having a severe ( “ enough ” ) gender identity disorder or dysphoria and therefore do not qualify for treatment. In Norway this distinction is decisive for the recognition of a medically important illness, ensuring access to lifelong treatment in the public health sector (and thus publicly financed). Within the first category, the transsexual persons, the gende r “variety” corresponds with the binary model: one’s gender identity is opposite   one’s bodily sex. The conventional narrative for patients at the hospital diagnosing and treating the disorder (Section of Transsexualism at the Oslo University Hospital, which is the one and only hospital in Norway certified to offer diagnostic examination, and if the patient qualifies, to provide treatment) is that a person with transsexualism is “ born in the wrong body or born with the wrong sex ” , and the only solutions to the disorder is to “correct the body”  (medical terminology!) with hormonal and genital interventions to establish congruence. After these treatments, including irreversible sterilization, the birth certificate and all other id papers will be adjusted accordingly (to provide the right judicial gender identity). Transsexuals are thus either male-to-female, or female-to-male, and, in Norway, their interest organization (the Harry Benjamin Resource Center) prefers the label “sex - conversed” women and men, or simply women and men . Within the other main category, transgender people, the gender variety is, as mentioned above, large, can be floating, and gender is often understood as a continuous rather than a dichotomous feature. But also in this group we find quite a few FtM and MtF transgender persons; but these have not undergone SRS (Sex Reassignment
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