The goal of many transsexuals in a complete sex change. We’ll pick up that second job, forgo many other milestones, get flat mates to save on rent—whatever we need to do to save up and pay for our surgeries. (That’s if our insurances wouldn’t cover us; luckily, we can still get mastectomies and hysterectomies.) The goal of a transsexual is to, as much as modern medicine allows us to, become physically as much as possible a member of the opposite sex as possible.
Transgenders may dispute this necessity, but that one major point separates the two, or why many are reclaiming transsexual as a term to describe themselves. Just because we may be pre-op, we are in-between surgeries, or we have medical counterindications that may slow down undergoing the various sex reassignment surgeries, doesn’t make us any less transsexual, and ultimately any less members of the opposite sex.
My case in point, to recap. I was able to undergo a double mastectomy (a.k.a. top surgery) with chest masculinization, and a total hysterectomy. Where it fell apart was when trying to undergo a mastectomy—my hysterectomy caused so much bleeding that my surgeon forgone doing any reconstruction, fearing further loss of blood. At a follow up, along with my gynecologist‘s second opinion, the feeling was that I was not a candidate to attempt metoidioplasty again. The suggestion, rather, would be to undergo phalloplasty at a later date, when I healed.
My clitoris still isn’t big enough to attempt metoidioplasty. I still refuse to undergo phalloplasty due to its great chance of medical complications, long recovery time, and the fact I don’t have the insurance to cover it—I currently utilize a mishmash of plans that covers my wellness visits and hospital emergencies—but that’s what I want, insurance only to cover what I need. (If you are a transsexual looking for a sex change, I recommend working for an employer who’s comprehensive plan will cover your sex change; afterwards, if premiums are too high, a basic plan with a prescription discounts helps to keep the cost of HRT down. I can give you pointers if you are still left confused.)
My other big issue with phalloplasty is what I’d live with if I had it. It’s pretty much a meat sack, nothing akin to that of a cissexual male. One size, whether flaccid or hard. The extra cost to create a foreskin, because the default presumption is a “cut” look. That I may end up still squatting. The fact to get physical with women I still something to get erect and perform. With metoidioplasty, even though I would have a “micropenis”, at least it would act totally like a cissexual, congenital penis; it would allow me to act as a cissexual man, from the bathroom to the bedroom. I live with my vagina, and occasionally “pack”—though not often, as I find the process cumbersome, and for me usually unnecessary. I have learned to content being a man with a vagina, and most dysphoria previously stemming from it has long since faded.
So, without a penis and no longer seeking to undergo any kind of phalloplasty, does that mean I’m not a man? Far from it. There’s more to defining manhood (or, as this quote explains with defining womanhood) than your congenital sex organs:
The controversy at play here is that there are multiple approaches to explaining what makes someone a woman. Carlbrook repeatedly took the oh-so-trans-exclusive bio-essentialist approach, implying that certain biological abilities inherent to many female-assigned people grant them exclusive access to the highest degree of womanhood. In their eyes, this degree of womanhood is fundamentally inaccessible to people without these abilities, which means that being transgender precludes one’s ability to be “complete.”Trans and Caffeinated
(To be honest, if lacking core gynecological organs eliminates your womanhood, many of my female friends and relatives couldn’t be considered women anymore. Breast cancer, ovarian and uterus cancers, organ deformities [in my case if I never changed sexes]—these women don’t consider themselves any less female because they lack these organs. They agree, in some form, with trans women that re-aligning feminism with these organs is not good for the movement.)
Throughout history, whether due to war or medical issues, men without penises were considered “less than” their peers who had a full penis intact. In today’s culture, if a man had his penis blown off due to war, or had menial cancer, or something that removed his penis, he is not considered less than a man, and our medical establishment would do whatever possible to help him. Despite “size envy” when comparing in the locker room, we don’t think about size in everyday situations. Regardless of size (or even existence), people are judged as a “man” or “boy” not just by age, but by his actions. In many societies, just because you were born male, doesn’t mean you become a man at puberty or age of majority; other societies would even allow women to live like men, like in the Balkans, expat Chinese laborers, even ancient Egyptians. Ultimately, let’s not forget that all embryos begin as female, and only undergo metamorphosis sometimes.
I will never be a cisgender woman, and that’s okay. My womanhood is no less valid than any cisgender woman’s just because I’m trans. My lack of a uterus or vagina, my facial hair growth, my Y chromosome – none of these make me any less woman. Some women have penises, and frankly, it’s time that people get over it.Trans and Caffeinated
I understand there is a double standard around transsexuals; we often find that it’s okay for transsexual men to forgo a penis, and still be validly male. Yet, when a trans woman doesn’t have or forgoes get vagioplasty, she’s not considered “really trans” or even a woman. This is because of the rare saying, “It’s easier to dig a hole, than it is to build a pole.” The science for phalloplasty and metoidioplasty is far behind that of the bottom surgeries for transsexual women. Trans women are also far more prominent in the mainstream conscience compared to trans men, so the notion exists that unless she has or is pursuing creation of a vagina, she must either be a “trap” or a cross-dresser. Many people still don’t realize the medicine involving sex changes with trans men, or they at least understand how much more complex our surgeries are compared to those of trans women, so have an easier time understanding that if trans men don’t pursue bottom surgeries.
My brothers are no less men because we forgo these surgeries because they aren’t medically more advanced, they leave us “hanging” (pun intended), or they don’t act anywhere as close to that of congenital penises. The medical community still fails us, often as they are more fascinated with trans women than they are with our needs, and because they use some outdated quote that there’s far more of them than us, so the research funds should go where the profit is more potential.
So, until the science can come along to develop a neopenis that acts, grows, shrinks, and functions like a congenital penis, any arguments we’re not men fall short. My brothers also need to realize, though, that standards set for men in sports and other areas should not loosen just to accommodate our small numbers.
Let me know what you think, even if you disagree with me. I’m always up for (civil) discussions with points of view from all sides.