This year I am boycotting Malmö Pride. Its an odd decision for me, because I never thought I would be in a situation where I would WANT to boycott something that is generally such a positive thing.
My issues with Malmö Pride are the following:
1. Malmö Pride (and Pride in general) is supposed to be for supporting the rights for all LGBTQ+ people. This year, it feels like that is not happening, and I mean I suppose it has been this way in past years, but I will be honest, it is not something that I have thought about. (And yes, that is definitely because of privilege)
When my wife came out to me as trans in November, my views were challenged. I’m not able to just sit on the sidelines and say “I’m an ally” anymore… the things I thought I was doing right, I was doing wrong. Its not enough to just say you support a group, you need to prove it, and I was not doing that.
Before my wife came out, I had never thought about what being a transperson means when it comes to getting health care. I just assumed that they would go to the doctor, get diagnosed, and get the help, like everyone else. I was VERY wrong, and since she came out, we have been struggling to get her the proper care, as every where we turn they say their hands are tied.
The waiting times to get into the clinic where they will do her evaluation to give the diagnosis is a joke. I have never seen something so ridiculous. When WPATH (World Professional Association for Trans Health) says that the evaluation to get treatment could be done in as few as 1 to 4 sessions, and here in Sweden the evaluation takes anywhere from 4 months to a year though, its not surprising that the waiting times ridiculously are long. Its because the Swedish system is making transpeople jump through un-necessary hoops!
So to get back to the point. I feel like Malmö Pride is not representing the picture fairly about how transpeople are treated, and they are not supporting transpeople in having proper health care.
2. I am angry that Malmö Pride can think that its acceptable to have SO MANY discussions about normalizing fetishes, or about testing VR and playing video games, but the ONE discussion that they have about trans health care is going to focus on how to prepare for surgery or hormone treatment, and what to expect after. They mentioned at the end of the description “talk about BMI limits, self medicating and more” Self medication was an afterthought. Thats a BIG issue.
Self medicating should NOT be something that is necessary here in Sweden. In a place that likes to say it is one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly places in the world, and is known world wide for their health care system, it is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE to have people being FORCED to self medicate to get the help they so desperately need.
and yes, I feel that it is FORCED. The way that the health care system is structured with only 6 centers that are able to handle the evaluations, and the evaluations taking WAY longer than they should, it FORCES people to self medicate because the waiting times are so long. This is not something that should happen.
3. Pride is about celebrating, but its also about creating dialogues. So why is it that with all the panels that Malmö Pride was able to put together, they were not able to get a panel of politicians (read: the people who can actually MAKE changes) together to discuss health care for ALL LGBTQ+ people. Transpeople are not exclusive in needing psychiatric care, its just that trans people REQUIRE it to get the help they need.
With psychiatric care lacking in ALL areas, why is this not a bigger discussion? Why is Pride spending time and energy focusing on talking about “BDSM” and “drag queen makeup tutorials” instead of putting that force and power that they have into REAL ISSUES. (It is not to say that these are not important discussions, I think that discussions about sexuality and self expression are important, BUT I do not think that they are of equal importance to discussions about how to fix health care for trans and nonbinary people. Health care not functioning properly causes suicide or self medication. People not being accepted for what they choose to do in the bedroom, does not.)
I love the idea of pride, I love equality, and I want to live in a society where EVERYONE feels that they are free to be who they are. BUT that means that we have to not just talk about if they are accepted in society, we need to push for them to get the proper health care in a timely manner so that they do not have to feel like outsiders!
I am SO DISAPPOINTED in Malmö Pride, and I hope that if your city has a pride that they will set more focus on rights for trans and nonbinary people, as this is definitely not a question that is exclusive to Sweden. (But that is where I am choosing to focus since this is where I live)
If you want to read my last post to understand what a struggle we have been dealing with you can find that here: http://bit.ly/2hxykoc
What are your opinions on Pride? If you don’t live in Malmö does Pride in your city focus on trans and nonbinary rights? How does trans health care work in your country? Drop some knowledge in the comments below, I would love to learn from your experiences!