Dr. Helen

If Men Are So Privileged, Why is There so Much Discrimination against Transgender Men?

I was thinking about the discrimination against men in our society as I read a Continuing Education article on Transgender children and the parental feelings that occur when their child wants to change genders. The article said that parents were much more concerned about their daughters who were transitioning from female to male than a son transitioning from male to female. I wondered why.

Certainly, it could be that the parents are concerned that the daughter will not have a family or for other reasons but underlying this concern for their daughter, I bet, is a feeling that it will be harder for their daughter to live as a man in our society.

Case in point is this article here at PJ Media on biological females who dare to register as male:

The problem boils down to this: the NHS will invite you to receive screenings — or won’t invite you — depending on which gender you are registered as, and not which body parts you actually have. What this means is that, for example, someone who is biologically female but has registered as male won’t be invited to receive potentially life-saving screenings on her breasts and cervix, even though she has them. And someone who is biologically male, but is registered as female, will be invited to have these screenings, even though he doesn’t actually have female breasts or a cervix.

Now, to be fair, the pamphlet does also express that people should still come in to receive the appropriate tests for their body parts. It is by no means saying that “women” without cervixes should come in for cervical exams, or that “men” with breasts should skip their mammograms. What it is saying, though, is basically that the NHS won’t remind people to come in for screenings if they’ve changed their official gender to one that doesn’t need those screenings. And it will remind people to come in for screenings they don’t need if they’ve changed their official gender to one that does need them.

Men in this country often have trouble getting treatment for things like breast cancer. Women who transition to men often are discriminated against in ways that few understand. For example, there may be more discrimination in getting medical care in general:

(Reuters Health) – Many transgender men face discrimination in U.S. healthcare settings, according to a new study.

About 42 percent of female-to-male transgender adults reported verbal harassment, physical assault or denial of equal treatment in a doctor’s office or hospital, the researchers report.

“Over a third of participants in the study were blatantly mistreated when they tried to get healthcare,” said Deirdre Shires of Wayne State University in Detroit.

I always admired Nora Vincent who lived disguised as a man and wrote about the difficulties faced by men in her excellent book, Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man. She understood the difficulties and complexity of being a man in our society and the privilege that people think men have is not so apparent when you actually live as a man. Women have higher value in our society today, they don’t want to admit it because it would make their victim status questionable but it’s true. If it’s so easy to live as a man, why don’t more people want to transition to male?