I remember well the time and place. It was the fall before I went full time. I had started taking hormones and was spending more and more time in female mode, but if I’m recalling correctly I gave in to a request from my spouse to not just show up as Rachel. I would show up and tell people that the following Spring they’d see me as Rachel. Well, ok, I wanted to keep peace and it had a certain logical consistency about it.
It was a party where a good deal of liquor was imbibed. In fact, the requirement was that you bring a bottle of this particular kind of alcohol as your entry fee. I had brought mine and my spouse was my designated driver, although I’m a lightweight and even after seven or eight hours I had perhaps had the equivalent of two or possibly three drinks.
Probably not so for the fellow I was talking to. Nice guy, very progressive guy, liberal politics, you’d expect accepting of someone trying to figure out their way forward in this world.
I broach the subject with him and after just a couple of sentences he asks “are you having the surgery?” No need to ask which surgery he meant. From here on it was not a good conversation and alcohol did not help. I tried to say, would you ask some woman you barely know about her privates? Of course he said he would, he was being a total ass. Yet that isn’t really the point.
The point of this short entry is the notion he expounded that if one isn’t willing to get surgery, one is not serious about transitioning. To which I say, “news to me”
I’ve written elsewhere about the pain (physical and psychic), work and expense of transitioning, as have many others. Clearly the notion that someone has literally turned their world upside down, threatened every relationship they have, especially close ones, put their job at risk, put themselves in a vulnerable position in terms of the attitudes of some members of the general public, and gone through all the mental and physical work to have transitioned “isn’t serious” is laughable.
What then is SRS (sex reassignment surgery) for? First, it isn’t to prove anything to another person in terms of your worth as a human being. Who would know that you’ve had it? Nobody you pass on the street, not your coworkers, not even your family (although you’d probably tell them). Yet you could now be more comfortable using changing rooms and showers, going to the beach and not having to be quite so careful in wardrobe choices in fear of something showing.
I can tell you why this is important to me personally, for me I feel awkward and a bit like a fraud knowing what I have versus what I should have. This is never more true then when I’m talking to other women. Erasing that difference is high on my list.
For me and most who have any sense, sex is perhaps number five or six (or seven) on the list. Aside from just not knowing how things will turn out, I really don’t know how excited I am to start dating again and worse, most likely dating men. Oy!
But what if I didn’t want to do this? Perhaps I’d date that little cadre of folks who are into that (although who wants to be an object, you know?). One could live quite nicely without it done and folks who want that are called “no ops” and there are a good number of them out there.
BTW – I just read the list of possible complications from vaginoplasty and mammoplasty and it is positively dizzying. I know that the really bad ones almost never happen (like << 1%) but it’s still really scary and that explains some of the no ops, you know?
There are those who don’t have insurance that covers it and simply can’t afford $20,000+ that it costs. Right now about 25% or so of trans women get surgery, I would bet that number would be around 50%+ if everyone had it covered, maybe higher.
This is all a long way of saying that if you’re a trans person, nobody has a right or the authority to judge you and what you do or don’t want to do in your transition. If you’re a trans woman and you want nice breasts then go for it. If you’re happy with what HRT did then don’t let anyone shame you into anything else. Most of all, don’t let some ass like my progressive liberal drunken friend tell you that you’re less a trans woman or woman because you personally don’t want the pain, risk, or recovery of reassignment surgery or frankly are just perfectly ok with what you have.
Gender is between the ears gentle folks.