As I am presently unemployed, by budget has been rather tight of late. As such, I was initially going to forgo my latest round of laser hair removal, until a fat rebate cheque from the provincial government convinced me otherwise. I now have my next appointment scheduled for Tuesday.
But it got me thinking: so far in my transition, the only absolutely irreversible change that I have made to my body was has been burning all of my facial hair follicles out with a laser beam. In order to get on hormones, I needed to convince a psychiatrist, a GP and an endocrinologist that I was dysphoric enough to proceed*; in order to get laser hair removal, however, I only needed to walk into a clinic and pay for it
The excuse that we transgender folk usually hear for medical gate-keeping is that we are making irreversible changes to our body. But laser hair removal puts the lie to this claim, since, when I’m seeking treatment which is not specifically related to transgenderism, I suffer no medical gatekeeping whatsoever. The point of medical gatekeeping, then, is not to prevent us from making decisions we’ll regret, but in order to make it difficult for people to escape the boxes they were assigned at birth.
*Mercifully, I had good doctors, who never demanded that I fit their preconceived narratives of what transgenderism, and femininity, is supposed to look like, or the process would have been even more difficult. Others are not so lucky.