Author Juno Roche debunks six common myths about trans people

Jake Hall
Thursday 03 May 2018 15:15
news

If you believed every headline you read about trans issues, you'd likely think the NHS was throwing free gender reassignment surgeries at toddlers on a weekly basis.

This isn't true.

On the rare occasion that puberty blockers are prescribed to children under the age of 16, the child in question will have to undergo a lengthy process including regular check-ups and an official diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Adult trans patients are more frequently prescribed hormone therapy, although the process is similarly lengthy and accompanied by a series of requirements. Then, there's surgery itself. In order to undergo gender reassignment surgery, at least a year of 'social gender role transition' - essentially the process of living full-time as the gender you identify with - is needed to get the go-ahead.

Changing your gender legally is no easier, either. Currently, the process is monitored under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, which requires approval from a panel of experts. The patient must 'prove' they have been living full-time in their true gender identity for two years. An announcement came last year that this process was to be made easier. This announcement became a catalyst for a slew of misinformed headlines and nasty rhetoric which essentially halted any reform to the act.

This is the extent to which transphobia still exists - just this week, approximately 300 Labour members quit the party in protest of its decision to allow trans women to stand on all-women shortlists.

Unfortunately, stories like these means that trans authors, cultural commentators and activists are all too often dragged onto mainstream television shows to defend their identity against opponents to tear them down. In among this noise, the truth about trans identities are buried.

Author Juno Roche recently sought to remedy this.

Instead of courting headlines or responding to bigots, Roche quietly set about crafting a series of interviews with prominent trans, queer and non-binary subjects, published in a new book entitled Queer Sex.

The idea was to provide an intimate, in-depth, no-holds-barred exploration of queer sexuality, which intersperses personal accounts penned by Roche with insightful, often revelatory insight from others. But in order to appreciate its beauty, there are a few myths which need to be cleared up.

So, in the video above, we talked to Roche and asked her to clear up a handful of the most common trans myths.

In the short clip, Roche debunks the well-worn narrative that trans people always feel like they're 'born in the wrong body', an overarching statement which recurs throughout press coverage. Not only does she point out the inherent diversity of trans and queer communities worldwide, she also addresses the misconception that trans people are always straight and highlights that the 2014 trans 'tipping point' isn't the boon for visibility that it's often claimed to be.

Finally, she highlights that trans people aren't inherently political - they're just unfortunate enough to live a society which politicises their bodies, desires and lives by default.

It's a touching but ultimately informative account which might clear up some of your own confusion.

More: 'I just want to remind people that HIV isn't fussy!' - what we learned from an HIV-positive trans activist

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