Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dr. Oz "Transgender Families" ~Sevan

Today's Dr. Oz show dealt with transgender issues. I was nervous when I first saw the title "Transgender Families: When my husband became a woman" but I have always been of the mind that "any press is good press" if it's presented in even a slightly positive light. This show left me very sad however.

I understand what a vast and huge issue it is to tackle gender and transgender issues in a 101 setting. I just spoke to the youth at a local LGBT center about transgender identities and it's definitely a challenge!
As someone who's not surgically tracked I was very dismayed that they portrayed "the surgery" as the end all/be all. Calling it "the point of no return" and not even MENTIONING all the hard work of therapy, hormones, hair removal and social transition that precedes bottom surgery.
Also there was not a single mention of FtMs or the other vast variety of identities that the Transgender umbrella encompasses. Literally not one sentence about FtMs. Amazing! Based on the title I knew it was going to be trans-female focused. I was prepared for that. I don't even think it's a bad idea to par down the overwhelming topic of transgender identity/life. To not even mention it once though? I was surprised. Even Dr. McGinn; who preforms surgery for transmen didn't mention them.
I am impressed by the three women who bravely shared their lives with us on this show. They answered the questions with grace and kindness. They were well spoke and I really appreciated their stories. I'm so glad that we can see such pillars of our community represented. I just wish Dr. Oz had done a bit more, and stretched a bit further rather than sticking to the "the surgery" line of thinking.
Not everyone can afford surgery. I feel as though his presentation shows the masses that you are a man until the day you enter the surgical suite. That "the surgery" is what makes you a woman. This is false and incorrect! This is bordering on harmful. All three of the women profiled were lucky enough, and had the ability to work hard enough to afford that surgery and healthy enough to go through with bottom surgery. Not every woman is so lucky or able! Are they any less of a woman? No. They are not. Their identity should be just as valid, and in my eyes...*is* just as valid.
Thank you Dr. Oz for tackling such a topic, however you fell short of what I thought you could do with this. I know that many people listen to you who might not hear anything about transgender people at all and so I appreciate the attempt...but I'm sad at all that was missed, avoided, or shuffled under the rug.


Unknown said...

Hi Cynthia and Sevan,

The transgender umbrella is very broad spectrum and they chose to focus on one segment of it.
Our hope as a family was to show that being transgender doesn't mean the end of your family. Transgender families are just like any other family, we have the same hope and dreams as everyone else.

Thank you for your kind words, we feel blessed that we could share our journey.


Sagebrush said...

The word that was used was "transgender" but they were using it to mean "transsexual." This is not surprising. Even now, most people know only about people -- mostly men -- born transsexual who change sex and people who cross-dress. The so-called umbrella and all the different flavours of gender-variance under it are mostly of interest to those under it and mostly unknown to those outside of it.