28 December, 2010

On the option of surgery

Those around me are well aware that I have a small handful of days before I board an airplane to Thailand. While there, I am going to achieve what is, for me, a milestone in my transition: Gender Realignment Surgery.

Among the transgender/transexual community, surgery has many different thoughts and ideas. No one of these ideas is, nor should be, the be-all, end-all idea that rules over the entire spectrum that we call trans. Simply put, as I think I've touched on below, everyone has different ideas of what their transition will encompass. For most, the common thread is that their idea of gender differs from the rigid gender idea bestowed upon the person by their biological sex. Past that, I think that gender becomes so different that if we imposed a universal "this is what transfolk must and will do to be trans" rule, we will hurt far more than we will harm.

From here on, I will speak mostly in "male to female" terms, as that is what I know best. Some transwomen want to be able to change their names and identities permanently so as to be constantly known by their new gender. Some do not, and are completely satisfied with just being women part of the time. Some transwomen want estrogen and progesterone hormones to assist in their physical and emotional appearance. Some don't. Some transwomen want to enlarge their breasts surgically, either with or without help from hormones. Some don't. Some want to enhance their facial appearance by surgically minimizing masculine features in a procedure we call FFS (Facial Feminisation Surgery). Some do not want this. And, of course, some want to modify their genitals for hormonal and/or sexual needs. Many do not. This is all important to realize when we talk about what the transgender community wants or expects. It would be horrendous to say that certain ideas should be applied across the board to all trans identified persons. That would cause far more damage to individual identities than it would help.

Speaking ONLY for myself, here is what I want. I wanted hormones; I got them. I wanted to be fully seen as female, or what many of us call "full time." So I changed my name and identification. And I wanted to modify my genitals by completely realigning my penis into a functional neovagina, permanently removing my testes in the process. Now, in a week, I will have that. At this moment in time, though, I do NOT want FFS! And I'm on the fence about my breasts; I actually rather like them, but would like them to be a bit larger. However, since I haven't been on hormones for very long, they may still grow to my satisfaction, so I can't say that I want augmentation at this time.

But that is just my story. Your mileage may vary.

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