“Surgery was (and still is) positioned as a route to gendered harmony.” – Sally Hines & Tam Sanger
In many countries, gender reassignment (commonly referred to as having a “sex change operation”) is regulated by the government. Patients must apply for approval to undergo gender reassignment surgery, which includes making a case for this choice. If the patient’s rationale for surgery is not convincing or clear, they risk being denied the opportunity to change genders. What are the psychological, physical and ethical ramifications of government involvement in this — and other — personal choices?
Human Spectrum Project is a mixed-media, interactive installation that addresses the social and legal complexity of this process. This simulated experience is based on real medical and governmental guidelines and interview questions. Participants in the installation assume the role of a psychologist conducting a mandatory counseling session with a person who is hoping and applying to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Through participation, the audience becomes temporarily complicit in this power relationship and can begin understand and question its significance in a deeper way. The project is not only selected to European Conference on Arts and Humanities, ECAH 2013, at the Brighton Thistle, UK, but also to 1st international conference of LGBT Psychology and related fields in Lisbon, Portugal, and paper will be published in a special edition of the international journal Psychology, Community & Health.