Currently, no word exists in our vocabulary for the broad category which includes being trans and being cis. To address this gap, I propose the adoption of a new term: gender modality. Gender modality refers to how a person’s gender identity stands in relation to their gender assigned at birth. It is an open-ended category which includes being trans and being cis and welcomes the elaboration of further terms which speak to the diverse experiences people may have of the relationship between their gender identity and gender assigned at birth.
Keywords: transgender; terminology; aspects of gender
Gender identity clinics have reported unexplained shifts in assigned sex ratios in recent years. Recent attempts at explaining these shifts have often presumed that they reflect a shift in assigned sex ratios in the underlying transgender and gender diverse population. This letter to the editor challenges the assumption, highlighting that the disparity in size between gender identity clinic populations and trans and gender diverse communities makes it more likely that the shift in assigned sex ratios is attributable to a change in referral patterns due to sociocultural factors.
Keywords: gender identity clinics; sex ratios; demographics
Although informed consent models for prescribing hormone replacement therapy are becoming increasingly prevalent, many physicians continue to require an assessment and referral letter from a mental health professional prior to prescription. Drawing on personal and communal experience, the author argues that assessment and referral requirements are dehumanising and unethical, foregrounding the way in which these requirements evidence a mistrust of trans people, suppress the diversity of their experiences, as sustains an unjustified double standard in contrast to other forms of clinical care. Physicians should abandon this unethical requirement in favour of an informed consent approach to transgender care.
Youth explore their genders—both theirs and others’. Exploration is not only a vessel of discovery and understanding, but also of creation. Centring the notion of gender exploration, this article inquires into the ethical issues surrounding care for transgender youth. Arguing that exploration is best seen not as a precondition to transition-related care but as a process which can operate through transitioning, the article concludes that the gender-affirmative approach to trans youth care best fosters youth’s capacity for healthy exploration. Unbounded social transition and ready access to puberty blockers ought to be treated as the default option, and support should be offered to parents who may have difficulty accepting their youth.
Keywords: bioethics; transgender youth; bioethics; social transition; medical transition; gender-affirmative care
In her article, Maura Priest argues in favour of legislation which would enshrine trans youth’s right to access puberty blockers without parental approval. In so arguing, she acknowledges the unlikelihood that such laws would be passed without a requirement that parents be notified. In this peer commentary, I argue that the proposed legislation should include measures for publicly-funded education and counselling of parents of trans youth. Although access to puberty blockers is necessary, it can also precipitate conflict within families, especially if notification is required. Given the disastrous impact of parental rejection and youth homelessness, any measures seeking to promote access to puberty blockers must be accompanied by harm-reduction measures targeting parents of trans youth who have difficulty accepting their child’s gender identity and transition. These measures can take many forms. Both supervised parent support groups and narrative ethics-inspired counselling should be considered as primary means of addressing parental hostility and rejection of their trans child.
Keywords:bioethics;policy; transgender youth; medical transition; puberty blockers
If I don’t tell you that I was assigned male at birth, as a transgender person, can I go to jail for sexual assault by fraud? In some jurisdictions like England or Israel, the answer is: yes. Previous arguments against this criminalisation have focused on the realness of trans people’s genders: since trans men are men and trans women are women, it is not misleading for them to present as they do. Highlighting the limitations of this position, which doesn’t fully account for the messiness of gendered experiences, the author puts forward an argument against the criminalisation of (trans)gender history non-disclosure rooted in privacy. Gender identity is a private matter and people should not be forced to figure it out or communicate it to others to have an intimate life. Mobilised in this context, privacy can be understood as a refusal of the state’s authority to order our gendered lives. The author argues that this mobilisation is compatible with leftist critiques of privacy. Finally, the author considers whether (trans)gender history non-disclosure is a criminal offence in Canada and concludes that it is not.
Keywords:criminal law; sexual fraud; privacy; discrimination; non-disclosure; human rights
Dubov & Frankel argue that facial feminization surgery should be deemed medically necessary insofar as it helps transgender people “pass” as cisgender, which is required for their wellbeing and ability to function. This peer commentary problematises their argument by pointing out how it constrains our understanding of trans embodiment to narratives of gender dysphoria, to the exclusion of narratives about gender euphoria and creative transfiguration, as well as by calling into question the value of facial feminization surgery for those who will never be able to pass as cis. With consideration to the diversity of trans experiences of the body and the variety of reasons why trans people desire facial feminization surgery, we invite policymakers to move away from justifications of insurance coverage that rely on the putative mutual exclusivity of medically necessary care and cosmetic care, arguing that aesthetic experiences of the self can be sufficiently ethically important to justify insurance coverage on their own.
Keywords: bioethics; insurance coverage; medical transition; transgender embodiment; facial feminization surgery
In a Letter to the Editor, “Gender Transitioning before Puberty?”, Steensma and Cohen-Kettenis (2011) cautioned against prepubertal gender transition by referring to two children assigned female at birth who, they say, had “transitioned when they were in elementary school” and subsequently struggled with returning to “their original gender role.” This letter to the editor criticises their argument, highlighting that it fails to account for the fact that the two youth had not socially transitioned in the usual sense of the term, and arguing that preventing youth from being gender non-conforming would be ethically questionable.
Keywords: bioethics; transgender youth; social transition; the Dutch approach; gender-affirmative care
The question of judicial protection of trans people has come to the fore in recent years, culminating in Bill C-16 which added gender identity and gender expression to the federal anti-discrimination and hate crime laws. In this article, the author contests the notion that anti-discrimination and hate crime laws are effective in mitigating anti-trans harassment, discrimination, and violence. Suggesting that the model of anti-trans acts which underlies anti-discrimination and hate crime laws is erroneous, the author argues that the law’s impact on trans well-being will be modest and that a careful analysis of anti-trans attitudes enables us to identify a number of more effective governmental avenues toward trans emancipation.
Keywords: criminal law; human rights; anti-discrimination law; hate crime laws; critical trans politics
Dans cet article, l’autrice explore la question de savoir si une obligation légale de respecter les pronoms et accords neutres existe en contexte scolaire francophone au Québec. Ille débute par un survol du contexte vécu par les personnes non-binaires francophones ainsi que de leurs besoins par rapport au respect des pronoms et accords neutres. Ensuite, ille analyse l’état actuel du droit relativement au harcèlement et à la discrimination envers les personnes trans en contexte scolaire et évalue la plausibilité qu’une obligation de respecter les pronoms et accords neutres soit retenue par les tribunaux québécois. Enfin, à la lumière des limites du droit, ille propose une approche stratégique concernant le respect des pronoms et accords neutres qui met l’accent sur le développement de politiques institutionnelles s’appuyant sur le droit.
In this article, the author explores the question of whether there exists a legal obligation to respect gender neutral pronouns and accordance in schools in Quebec. They begin with an overview of the lived context of non-binary francophone people as well as of their needs with regards respect for gender neutral pronouns and accordance. Then, they analyse the current state of the law on harassment and discrimination against trans people in schools and evaluate the plausibility that an obligation to respect gender neutral pronouns and accordance would be recognised by Quebec courts. Finally, in light of the limits of law, they propose a strategic approach to the respect of gender neutral pronouns and accordance that puts the focus on the developing of institutional policies informed by the law.
Keywords: human rights law; anti-discrimination law; non-binary people; pronouns; French