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We are Not Sick, We are Transsexuals

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In 1990 the World Health Organisation understood that being Gay or Lesbian didn't mean you were sick, and removed homosexuality from their listing of mental illnesses. No doubt in the past twenty years, homosexual people live in a society that is more accepting of you, as you, than twenty years ago, but there is a long way to go. There are still people listed as mentally ill on WHO for simply being themselves.

There is the concept that Transsexualism is due to psychological influences in early childhood, but new research is paving the way to show what every Transsexual knows. And that is, Transsexualism has its origin in biology, it is our genes that determine who we are.

One young woman, Michelle, is spearheading a campaign to get WHO to remove Transsexualism from its listing as a mental illness and would like everybody to know that she does not have a disease; she is living her life as herself.

The Interview

Michelle, what is it like living life as a transsexual, and what prejudices have you encountered?

"I remember the first time I ventured out as a woman, I was 13, my chest was tight and I couldn't stop my hands from shaking, but I also remember the feeling of exhilaration, knowing that I was finally standing proudly in public as the person I really am.

Nowadays for me, I have found it easier living as my natural self ever since undergoing the gender reassignment program and being on hormones for nearly 2 years now, and with the help and support from family and friends, it goes a long way.

In the beginning it was very daunting and became quite the struggle, I would be too afraid to step outside my front door as myself with the fear of getting bashed or tormented; I knew a few cases of this happening in my area. I was afraid to come out and tell people as I was not sure how they would react or treat me."

In 2012, the age of enlightenment, why do you think we are still encountering problems over sexuality, do you think fear of someone different to ourselves is the cause and how can we change that?

"It may come down to fear, but mainly it comes down to a lack of understanding and knowledge/education, people fear what they don't understand."

We are who we are, there is no normal on the subject of sexuality, we are homosexual, heterosexual, transsexual, transgender, and in other words we are human. Why class Transsexualism as a mental illness?

"To me there is no reason whatsoever why we are classed are mentally ill by the World Health Organisation and WPATH, it stems from a lack of understanding and knowledge on the subject, it is a medical condition NOT a mental illness, that we are born with and we have to go through extensive medical procedures to correct ourselves i.e. hormone replacement therapy, sex reassignment surgery, and many other medical procedures that are not covered by healthcare."

How can we make more people aware of this WHO listing and most importantly how can we change it?

"Like I have been doing lately with a lot of radio interviews, and spreading the petition around amongst networks and friends is a great start to getting the awareness we need, to make people aware of this WHO listing and most importantly how we can change it."

How You Can Help

You can sign Michelle's petition "World Health Organisation: Stop classing Transsexualism as a mental illness." By going to Change.org and by sharing the petition on Facebook with friends and family.

To read more of Michelle's story go to:

http://www.mamamia.com au/social/im-not-sick-im-transsexual-stop-classifying-me-as-mentally-ill/

Thi site has some true stories of what it means to be transsexual from some very young children who knew they were in the wrong body from an early age,it also contains advice and information for parents of transsexual children.

Fiona Hammond graduated as a freelance journalist from the John Morris journalism academy. Fiona lives on the south coast of NSW Australia and writes human interest stories and opinions, about gardening, sustainability, fishing, the environment and our planet. Read more stories by Fiona Hammond.

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