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About Bodies

April 28, 2010

Soooo….. today I got my first tattoo. It’s something I had been thinking about and planning for some time. As luck would have it, I spent part of yesterday afternoon dealing with doctors’ offices on account of another permanent decision. It’s been done before, but I can’t help notice that there are some parallels between getting a tattoo and, say, having SRS.

Yes, I’m not the first person that’s noticed this. And yes, there are limitations to the analogy (the words “medically necessary” come to mind). Anyhow, it comes down to something I think Julia Serano’s already pointed out. Governments and insurance providers typically classify trans-related medical procedures as elective (like tattoos). However, these same agencies simultaneously regulate these procedures as if they were dangerous medical procedures. As a result, trans people end up getting treated like children. We don’t have autonomy over our own bodies, because our choices are medical (and wrong), but because our needs aren’t really medical, we don’t get any substantial support finding (and paying for) treatment. It’s the worst of both worlds.

This is what it comes down to for me: my tattoo was a big personal decision, and at the very least, I was able to arrange to get one as if I were an adult. It was downright easy to get tattooed. While I don’t fancy having to pay money I don’t have for surgery I need, I’m also confident in what I want, and damn tired of asking other people for permission to have control over my own body.

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