For this week’s reading on “The Romance of the Amazing Scalpel: “Race,” Labor, and Affect in the Thai Gender Reassignment Clinics” by Aizura Aren I felt strongly about the sense of family support and how GRS in Thai turned into a free market capitalism. “Aizura interviews both Thai and non-Thai trans woman, surgeons, and clinic staff to reveal the political and racial economies of gender reassignment clinics” (Aizura, 496). Aizura looks at race and the “uneven distribution of care as a signal of the neoliberal privatization of transnational medical tourism” (Aizura, 496). Thailand is well known around the world for its GRS and its surgeons. The clinics in Thailand provide services for many foreign visitors; because of the high demand and well known surgeons these clinics have been able to raise their prices.
Some of the people Aizura interviewed experienced Thailand to have been the best place to have had their GRS and others feeling less than someone else who paid the same price for their GRS. In the case of Som, describing difficulty with the aftercare procedures and feeling that she couldn’t expect the same services as a non-Thai, or white patient. Another person Aizura interviewed was Emma, a Vietnamese who had been living in Australia for twelve years when she had her GRS in Bangkok in 2006. She went to Thailand to have her GRS and stayed in one of Bangkok’s premier medical-tourism hospitals, having surgery by one of the best surgeons. Emma was traveling alone and after her surgery and recovering she decided that going to Thailand was the worst choice. She described her experience as annoying and difficult. “Dr. ___ is very busy and it’s difficult to get him to come see me. I am very annoyed. Also, the nurses do not come to see me. I ring and it takes half an hour for them to come…” (Aizura, p. 498). On the other hand, Karen’s experience was marvelous, a white trans woman living in Brisbane, Australia. She describes her experience to have been supportive and positive. Nurses were by her side 24/7 for whenever she needed something.
The reason why I picked the TUFF organization to talk about is because fact that the health care system does not cover GRS allows for GRS to become a free market and with organizations like Rostovsky someone’s life could change.
Trans United Family and Friends Organization by a senior
Tuff (Trans United Family and Friends) is a non-profit organization that sets out to raise funds for FTM and MTF medical procedures that many transgender and gender variant individuals in the United States cannot afford. This organization was started by Jacob Rostovsky, a 22-year-old transgender male. He began this organization as a senior at Point Scholar at American Jewish University in 2013. Rostovsky came out as trans at the age of 10 years. His family was wealthy enough to help him afford hormone treatment and undergo top surgery. However, Rostovsky also knows how unfortunate and expensive coming out as trans and transition could be that he began funding the TUFF organization on his own until he raises enough money to earn its 501(c) fund the winning recipient’s surgeries (Lindsay, 2013). Benjamin Lindsay states, “Rostovsky says that once living as the sex he identified with he was able to live life positively and support the trans community. “Rostovsky says he has known since age 15 that he wanted a future aiding the trans community, and after realizing the benefits of his own surgery, he knew that funding surgeries is his exact calling. TUFF is still in the beginning stages, but Rostovsky has hopes to fund one lucky applicant’s gender reassignment surgery by September 2013”. The recipient who wins Rostovsky fund will have to just as involved in the trans community and give back.
Link to TUFF website:
Link to Jacob’s website:
Mission: “The mission of PFLAG San Francisco echoes that of the national organization. PFLAG SF promotes the health and well being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends, through support to cope with an adverse society, education to enlighten an ill-informed public, and advocacy to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. PFLAG SF provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity and act to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity”.
Link to PFLAG’s website: