Featured image showcases a flag that represents the transgender community
Can you imagine waking up every morning as a different person from who you truly are? This is the unfortunate reality of life for members of the transsexual community, who have been born into a body that is of a different gender from the one which they identify with and are often left alienated, distraught, and desperate. As a homosexual and member of the New Zealand LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual) community, I believe that it is out of our country’s integrity and belief in socialism that we should help to end the strife of our transsexual citizens… by means of providing them with free transgender surgery so as to improve their well-being and provide them with equal rights in the welfare system.
Transsexual people are often emotionally distraught by the deviation between their alter-ego and their physical state, which causes a sense of desperation and insecurity among them. To most people, looking into the mirror and seeing one’s reflection of themselves is a completely normal happening and is not often met with an ordeal. Yet, for members of the transsexual community, this is an occurrence that happens on a daily basis, leaving them feeling alienated as their alter-ego greatly deviates from their physical appearance. A transsexual woman, who had been born male but identifies as a female, would feel an overwhelming sense of incompleteness in her identity; for her physical state does not emulate her personality and it causes her to feel insecure out of discontentment with her appearance. Such emotions of discontent often leave transsexuals in desperation to alter their bodies by means of transgender surgery, in order to become the manifestation of the person whom they believe themselves to be; so then they are able to find wholeness in their identities and give oneself a greater sense of self-worthiness.
Unfortunately, many individuals are unable to financially afford the high costs that come with gender reorientation surgery, which is ever so important for transsexuals to undergo. In New Zealand, there exists a strong belief in the philosophy of socialism where all citizens are given equal rights, liberties, and welfare regardless of who they are. Citizens who have special needs such as those with mental or physical disabilities are given the appropriate assistance and treatment required free of charge. Transsexuals belong to this group of people, for they themselves have special needs. Individuals born with a hormonal imbalance that causes one to naturally identify with a different gender have what is called Gender Identity Disorder; which requires gender reorientation surgery in order to be corrected. Unfortunately, such a surgery is not provided free of charge by public hospitals in New Zealand, and can only be done through private specialist programs which are both costly and hard to access. How can our government provide free treatment to other groups of special needs people whilst ignoring the needs of the transsexual community? This has caused many transsexual individuals to feel as if their special needs are being neglected by the government, for they do not benefit from the welfare system which has been established. For transsexuals in New Zealand, having their needs met is not something of which they are privileged… but instead, have to strive for. Throughout the country, many of these helpless people suffer in silence, unable to find an end to the misery and desperation they face.
Deciding to provide free gender reorientation surgery is not a choice but an obligation. It is the duty of our government to give equal rights to welfare for all of its citizens and not just selected groups. We, the people, have democratically elected the government into power to represent our best interests, and therefore it is of the utmost importance for politicians to recognise all our individual needs; including those of people in minority groups such as transsexuals. Yet, there has been no amendment made for our free treatment to be more inclusive of transsexual citizens; this has made it impossible for people with Gender Identity Disorder to have their condition treated. Doing the right thing by recognising the special needs of the transsexual community is a test of our national integrity. If the government were truly comprised of high morals and the belief in equality, then shouldn’t they serve the people and provide them with total equality regardless of who they are?
Today, transsexuals throughout the country face an ordeal of struggle as they strive to find their true selves in a helpless world. Their desperation to be the person who they truly are, and the misery they feel, is a devastation to our society. Let us heterosexual and LGBT unite together to support free gender reorientation – to end their suffering.
Opinion writing excerpt, written by Frederic Kwan