Analysis (Services and Self)

Koan Bremner's view on life as a database and data warehouse professional / addict and non-genetic woman

Monday, January 24, 2005

The quintessential electrified LART

For those who don't recognise the term, LART is an acronym for "Luser Attitude Readjustment Tool"... which probably doesn't help much if you don't know that luser is sysadmin-speak for a combination of user / loser / clueless user; and you're probably still in the dark if you don't know that sysadmin is a contraction of "system administrator"... this could go on ad infinitum! So, let's cut to the chase. (Warning; some of the remainder of this post may make you squirm, especially if you're male.)

Traditionally, sysadmins have used LARTs to effect a gentle re-education (either when such action is called for, or when they just plain feel like it) of recalcitrant, intransigent or plain TAPS users. Now, I have no need for a LART in my professional capacity; my colleagues are exceptionally talented. Outside of work, however, there is a particular class of luser that is guaranteed to make my blood boil; typically, they reveal themselves by making statements such as "gender dysphoria does not exist", or "gender reassignment surgery is just cosmetic surgery", or "if someone wants to mutilate themself, that's their business, but public funds shouldn't be wasted on providing surgery for such individuals"; that kind of thing.

I have nothing against people holding different opinions to my own; I absolutely welcome it. I love a good, informed, intelligent debate; and will readily admit it when I'm proved wrong, and have changed my views on key issues more than once, when presented with compelling evidence and / or arguments to support such a move. But, you see, I have a distinct advantage when it comes to discussing gender dysphoria with others; since I *have* it, I absolutely know that it exists, and what it feels like. I know it exists. I know what it can do to the person who has it; and to the people around the person who has it. So I feel reasonably justified in getting a little irate when some people express sentiments along the lines of those I paraphrased in the previous paragraph. They fall squarely into my personal definition of "lusers".

I've wondered, on more than one occasion, how I might convince such a person of what gender dysphoria does to someone; and how much they will endure to correct it. Even I would say that it's unrealistic to expect someone to live, dress and behave a a member of the opposite gender for two years, just to get an appreciation of just a part of what someone like me has to experience in order to achieve an outcome with which we can live. But now I've found the ideal LART; in fifteen minutes, I could lart the sternest luser into a state in which they would be, if not exactly sympathetic of people like me, then at least respectful of what we endure in the quest for an ordinary life.

And what is this LART? Why, the electrolysist's needle. Applied to the hair covering the male genitalia. Trust me on this; fifteen minutes of that and you'll get a quick taster of what someone undergoing male-to-female transition has to look forward to. And when you bear in mind that, in the UK, electrolysis (facial as well as genital) isn't covered by the NHS; and that most people need on the order of nine months' worth of genital electrolysis (weekly sessions of fifteen minutes) prior to surgery, which they will have to fund out of their own pocket; I defy them to look me in the eye and tell me that I'm doing it because I enjoy it, because it's a whim, because I've nothing better to do, or because I'm some kind of head-case.

Yup, fifteen minutes, Mr. Luser; just you, a skilled electrolysist and an electrified needle, inserted into the root of a pubic hair, with sufficient current applied to kill the root (on the one-in-three chance that the root is in the appropriate growth phase). I'll even pay; and I wouldn't want to watch. See, I *know* how much it hurts. I wouldn't derive any pleasure from seeing someone else go through that.

By the same token, neither would I deny essential medical treatment to anyone who needs it; and in the case of gender dysphoria, if the person who has it has tried everything they can to cope with it, short of surgical transition, and failed, then just who is to say that life-saving treatment should not be provided? No less a personage than the UK Government's Chief Medical Officer has stated that, for some transgendered people, surgical reassignment is the only effective treatment; and that the satisfactory outcomes are statistically far higher than for many other similarly invasive procedures which don't arouse such controversy.

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