Earlier this week Kay and I attended a trans group discussion in Tallahassee, Fl., even though it takes us about an hour and a half drive, we go because the leader was in the first lgbt group that I went to at the beginning of my transition. There was 3 couples, one woman who identifies as 'bi' and the rest, trans.
We make the effort to join this group because the discussions have been so intense and thought provoking. Last night, the conversation was really jacked up, discussing the pro's and con's of keeping GID in the DSM. Susan made some good points for keeping GID in; because of the need for treatment, if it standards are determined and enforced by the AMA and the APA. She view was that if GID was taken out, some doctors can opt out of treatment for GID because it is not in the book. That might claim that without a diagnosis similar, or spelled out in the DSM, then they are not required to provide managed care for trans people. The discussion became quite heated.
Then the discussion turned to consequences that both heterosexuals and gay people are having to deal with for Florida's "Real ID". In order to change one's name you must bring with you to the Motor Vehicles Division, a notarized copy of your birth certificate, 2 pictures documents with current address, and notarized copies of previous marriage and divorce documents. This applies across the board for everyone who seeks to change one's name. One of the girls was asking for names of doctors who treat the trans community and we were able to give her some good information.
We tried to let everyone introduce themselves and tell something about their life or transition. We couldn't get around the table for all the extra discussions. It doesn't bother me because I want to know what issues other trans people are facing. Having to live at home, losing one's family connection, the bathroom problem is always, always an issue with some trans, because they are not confident and have problems passing.
Usually the group will all go out to eat after the meetings, but the last two have run over time and it is a long, quiet, thoughtful drive back to Valdosta. We usually have to let the events of the evening simmer for a day or two before we discuss the evening. We try and stay connected to as many lgbt groups as we can, because with each gathering we can bring new points of views to our PFLAG and Integrity groups.