Won't Somebody Think of the Children-A Critical Analysis of the Swedish National Guidelines for Treatment of Young People with Gender Dysphoria

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper

Author: Daniel Milve; [2022-02-15]

Keywords: non-binary; trans; health care; policy; youth;

Abstract: This thesis critically analyses Sweden’s National Guidelines for Treatment of Young People with Gender Dysphoria, with the aim of providing recommendations for amending the guidelines to provide better access to gender affirming treatment for young non-binary people. Using Critical Discourse Analysis, supplemented with a group dialogue with three non-binary persons, the National Guidelines are analysed through the theoretical lens of performativity, Dean Spade’s theories on the population-management mode of power, and critical age studies. In the analysis, I point out what seems to be a lack of critical trans and age studies among the authors, and argue that this is hurting the knowledge production which results in the guidelines. Further, I argue that the National Guidelines are formulated in ways that render non-binary youth unintelligible, by using a binary language on sex/gender and through restricting treatments based on assigned gender at birth. Lastly, I argue that the National Guidelines implicitly make negative value judgments about trans bodies, and undervalue young people’s ability to know their own gender identity. To close off the thesis, I suggest points to consider for future versions of the National Guidelines, including changes to treatment criterions, measures to improve patient safety, and a broadening of research expertise in the author groups.

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