In Babel

Business Insider published an article about the plight of the gay community in Afghanistan.

The article mentions a Canadian charity called Rainbow Railroad, which helps LGBTQ+ people facing persecution to get to countries where they can apply for asylum.

From their website Rainbow Railroad describes how they work. They verify applicants, and support them to make asylum applications. They also provide people with emergency travel support to get to safety.

This seems like an extremely good idea, leaving the welfare of LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers in the hands of government is never going to work out well. Look at the way the UK government has institutionalised transphobia for example.

Organizations like Rainbow Railroad are needed like never before, there are currently 80 million displaced people in the world, with an unknown number of LGBT people among them. The highest number since the chaos in Europe at the end of World War 2.

Last year around April a study from Italy, into cis men recieving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer, suggested for some reason they had significantly lower rates of Covid infection than healthy cis men. I wondered what, if anything, that meant for trans women.

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In the UK, transgender people engage with health services at a lower rate than the non transgender population. This includes lower levels of engagement with important health screening services such as breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening programs.

Why does this matter? In global terms LGBT people have significantly poorer determinants of health than the general population, and new research is revealing that the consequences of anti LGBT discrimination, including in relation to healthcare access, has a significant economic impact globally. Anti-LGBT discrimination is estimated to cost countries where it is an accepted cultural norm, in the region of 1% of their gdp annually. [1]

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Personal Subtitle; I Cannot Stress How Good and Significant This Book Is.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49656839

I think this book may actually be one of those rare ground breaking texts, and if you care remotely about global LGBT rights, this is worth reading. It is about so much more than economics. It’s about the psychological and social harm that LGBT inequality creates, on large and small scales.

As part of my course we’re studying public health, and the social determinants of health. That is the social, cultural and economic factors that influence people’s health choices and behaviours. This includes an examination of how our early life circumstances can shape our health as adults. With emphasis on the role of ACEs —Adverse Childhood Experiences, or early trauma, which can be everything from abuse and bullying, to the loss of a parent when we are children.

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Being trans for some people is a burden and there are times when I feel like that. I have the dubious luck to have experienced a type of religious conversion “therapy” when I was a teenager, aimed at curing me of being transsexual. It failed, but it did destroy my sense of self esteem and self confidence for the better part of two decades. The only thing it converted was turning me from a hopeful and optimistic young person into a depressed self destructive nihilist in the space of a few months.

During this time one of the men who talked me in to going along with it asked me; “If I had the cure for this, as a single injection…” as he mimed holding a syringe, “but it meant you would no longer be a transsexual, instead you would be fine being a male, would you take it?” My reply was instant and unequivocal. “No.” Despite the suffering and anxiety gender dysphoria had wreaked on my life, the fracture it created in my relationship with my parents, and wider family who were part of the same faith, I knew being transsexual was who I was. It was a fundamental part of me, and to lose that would be to lose myself. The same way sexuality is an important part of people’s sense of themselves.

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This is a content warning. I was going to call this Cutting Off Your Own Balls is Not Easy. Consider that a warning for dysphoria, transphobia, self harm, torture of trans people and medical themes.

Gender Dysphoria:

Being ‘mistaken’ for a girl used to happen quite often and people weren’t afraid to comment.

That flat in Glasgow. I used to live in Glasgow. One day I overheard one of the neighbours kids saying to their friends “my dad said it’s half man and half woman” as I walked by. About me. I felt so much shame I died a little bit. I wasn’t half of anything. Except I was.

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