Recently I participated in a Veterans Administration survey. It primarily revolved my treatment at VA facilities as well as background on my life as a transgender woman. Included within the survey were heavy questions on had I attempted any surgical gender intervention, as well as treatment I had personally received as various VA facilities. As I have said many times, following a very slow and unsure start my treatment has evolved to a positive experience.
Long ago, I decided at my age, I would decline any and all gender surgeries including facial feminization, breast augmentation all the way to genital realignment surgery. In other words, I decided the numerous and welcome changes I experienced through hormone replacement therapy would be sufficient. My thought pattern was and is my gender is a highly personal matter and was decided by what was between my ears and not my legs. It didn’t hurt either the only surgery I had ever undergone was to have my tonsils removed. Who was I to attempt to question success. My rule of thumb was to not undergo any or all unneeded pain. Such as elective gender surgeries.
Overtime I built up a bias towards those who viewed me as less transgender than they were since I have not gone under the surgical knife. While I still think the “transer than thou” ideas of certain post GRS persons is completely unfounded, I understand why some of the younger trans individuals would desire the surgery more than others. An example would be at the age of seventy three, my life is at a point where I am secure where I am currently at as far as my life as a fulltime transgender woman. Again, I don’t see surgery giving me any sort of improvement.
The more I thought about the surgical questions in the survey, I put myself in the place of a much younger transgender person. Throughout my younger years, lack of insurance support and financial considerations would very much stop any idea of gender surgical intervention. These days though, there are more and more ways to finance surgery. Even the VA was asking in their survey. Perhaps most importantly there are more and more surgeons who can do a quality GRS and not mutilate their patient. After all, no matter how you cut it (pun intended) genital realignment surgery is a major operation. Major or not, if I was a young transgender person looking ahead at life. If I was in their shoes, I would desire any benefit I could get to live my life as happily as I could.
Luckily when I fell off my pedestal, I didn’t hurt myself. Plus I realize also many older transgender adults go through GRS for any number of reasons. I’m sure many see the surgery as a natural progression in their gender lives. Sadly our trans community puts too many up on their own pedestals as they try to find a way to look down on others. It’s a human condition.