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The Medical System Has Not Changed On Gender Issues
The industry that lobotomized gay people doesn't actually care about "gender affirming-care."
On the surface, it appears the medical system has changed. The system that used to give lobotomies and electroshock to people with different sexual orientations and gender identities now affirms them. However, their affirmation comes through medicalization. Now, the medical system gives people with different sexual orientations and gender identities puberty blockers and surgery. While the excuse has gone from condemnation to affirmation, the physical action has not changed. The medical system is still medicalizing non-conforming bodies and sexualities.
It does not matter to the medical system if people buy medical interventions for “curing” their sexuality or “affirming” it. The cash is the same either way. All the medical system has done is adapt their business model to a different culture.
The medicalization of sexuality goes all the way back to the roots of Western medicine in the Victorian era. During the Victorian era, the medical system led a campaign against masturbation. Masturbation was seen as the source of a great many social and physical ills responsible for every symptom from hysteria to epilepsy.
In his history of sexuality, French philosopher Michel Foucault suggests that doctors knew this campaign was destined to fail. The real purpose of the campaign was to expand medical power and gain control of children’s bodies and sexuality. Power over sexuality meant the power to regulate all of life, including the norms of society. Michel Foucault refers to this form of power as biopower. If the system could gain control of children, it meant eventual power over all of society.
Yet power over children was currently held by parents. To steal this power, the medical system told parents to watch their children for “signs” of masturbation. At the same time, parents were powerless to “solve” this “problem” and were told to call a doctor to handle it. Thus, parents became surveillance and enforcers of the medical system. Many of the “cures” doctors used were sexually abusive, including clitorectomy and circumcision.
This system of doctors turning parents into their minions continues to the present day, with pediatricians setting themselves up as arbiters of the child’s development. Parents bring their children to regular well-baby check-ups where they inform the doctors of their child’s progress and the doctor tells them what they must do to ensure the child’s further development. The idea that children could develop entirely fine without medical intervention is blasphemy to this system.
Control over children’s sexuality has been a central purpose of the medical system since this campaign against masturbation. The medicalization of sexuality through campaigns against homosexuality and campaigns for affirming transgender children is simply a continuation of this purpose. If public opinion were to rapidly swing against trans issues, the medical system would be first in line to begin offering “cures” for their gender identity again. The reason they don’t is that lobotomies are a one-time sale, whereas hormones are a lifelong recurring transaction. The economics of affirming care are just more profitable.
Surface debates over trans issues are a distraction the medical system uses to hide the massive industry they are building on the backs of trans bodies. Regardless of whether or not medical intervention helps people, it would not change the power and profit dynamics present. Even if the system could actually “help” a child through a lifelong expensive medical intervention, those power dynamics will lead to a medical-industrial complex that is incentivized to “help” as many children as possible and seek new “problems” to justify and expand its power. That system will then dump money into lobbying and media which transforms culture. Whether or not the system is doing good in this particular instance is irrelevant. The system’s incentives will lead it to become oppressive.
It is possible to advocate for love and acceptance for all people, while also questioning a multi-billion dollar industry that claims its power and profit is essential to that acceptance. A world where any body, gender, or sexual identity can be accepted without medical intervention would actually be threatening to the medical system because it would not involve medical profit. This system needs regular aspects of life to become “problems” they can profit by “solving.” In the past, the medical system has made masturbation, homosexuality, birth, the foreskin, wisdom teeth, and the appendix “problems” it can “solve.” Gender is just the latest grift.
The medical system has not changed. It doesn’t want a world where people are accepted. It wants a world where acceptance is conditional on medical intervention. The medical system has always sought power over children’s sexuality. It’s just transitioned to a new discourse.