Monday, April 22, 2013

A Few Words on Surgery...

This morning, I had a thought that came to me about something that "J. Skyler" said about me.  Referring to me, this person asserted, "...she's a surgical essentialist who thinks anyone who doesn't undergo surgery is pretending/deviant. "  Of course, as is typical with the TG kooks, this is a very simplistic portrayal of a much more complex opinion.  As I pointed out in comments yesterday, I would not automatically use the term "deviant."  As to "pretending," it is also not quite the word I would use either.

So, what do I believe?  First off, I believe that sex reassignment surgery....  Well, let me pause first here, to specifically reject the absurd trend towards calling it "gender reassignment surgery."  This is part of a larger effort by the TG crowd to muddy up, somewhat ironically, the waters they themselves created.  A common meme pushed by the TG crowd is "sex is what is between your legs, gender is what is between your ears."  Of course, they also like to push the idea that gender is, somehow, both fungible, and a choice. But they also want to claim that being TG is not a choice.  In short, they are pretty much making it up as they go.  More precisely, sex is what is between your legs, and what we call "gender" is better defined as the sexual differentiation of the brain.  Simply put, you are either hard wired as a man, or as a woman.  It is, in spite of one of the sillier assertions of some TG kooks, quite related.  But it also occurs at a different time during development.  The body can go male, and the brain female, or vice versa.  Such a condition is rare, but it is what make a person a true transsexual.  So, for something to actually be "gender reassignment surgery," it would have to change the brain, not the genitals.  In short, "gender reassignment surgery" is a fictitious concept, and simply does not exist.

Now, returning to my original thought, sex reassignment surgery, or SRS, does not make a man into a woman (or vice versa) it makes a male into a female (again, or vice versa) to the extent possible with modern techniques.  A better way of putting it would be to say that it allows a true, or classic transsexual the opportunity to live a normal life, and relieves their discomfort with their body.  It corrects, as much as possible, what is, in effect, a birth defect.  It is not magic, and it does not  change who a person is, or make them something they are not.

What this "J. Skyler" person seems to suggest is that I think that the act of having surgery would do just that, and nothing could be further from the truth.  Mr. "Autumn" Sandeen whined, "...It's more than that. She even gets on post-SRS folk who she deems to not be ideologically pure."  Again, a statement that is a bit of a distortion of what I actually think.  Yes, I have encountered post-ops that I seriously believe made a mistake having SRS.  For example, there is "Willow" Arune, the notorious defending of Bailey, Blanchard, and Lawrence, who asserted that he had decided to have SRS because he was raped in a Thai prison (and supposedly had it suggested by a therapist in Thailand).  Another good example would be "Anne" Lawrence...of Bailey, Blanchard, and Lawrence.  I could name a few more, but why bother?  Some are relatively well known, and some are more obscure.  Some have openly declared that they made a mistake, and others, like Arune, just act out in ways that show that their surgery was in error...while often maintaining that they made no mistake.  

So, what is my view?  It is actually simple.  SRS, like an medical procedure, has indication and contraindications.  It is not for everyone.  Surgery is not the dividing line between "real and fake, or between pretending/deviant and...well, whatever that person imagines would be the alternative."  Nor is it about ideology.  Of course, this shows what TG is about, and why it is a flawed, and yes, very dangerous concept.  SRS, again, is a medical procedure.  Those who would undergo it should be carefully screened.  In fact, if a therapist is not rejecting people who seek it, something is very wrong.  And sadly, an increasing number of therapists will pretty much rubber stamp any request.  Mistakes are going to happen.  Some people will always be able to con even the best therapist into granting them approval.  But, therapists should be more cautious.  Surgery should never be "on demand."

For example, if they are faced with someone who is middle-aged, has had a long and successful career as a man, who has shown no prior issues with their gender identity (and no, crossdressing not only doesn't count, but should be a red flag), these things should be investigated.  People who are transsexuals have life-long problems.  When someone claims they have always "known" they were the wrong sex, but clearly had no problems coping, and then suddenly, often after something that would otherwise trigger a mid-life crisis, declare that they are transsexual, and want a sex change, something is probably amiss.  As much as possible, the therapist should interview friends, family, and when appropriate, spouses.  There are a lot of things that should be looked at.  Taking the person's word for it, is not a wise path.

Fortunately, most who should not have SRS don't seek it.  This is the other side of the coin.  I don't think, for example, That Mr. Sandeen is a man because he doesn't want surgery.  I think he doesn't want surgery because, simply put, he is a man.  If he did decide to go the full route, it would not change him into a woman.  He would still be a man, albeit one with a effect, finally becoming a transsexual, albeit an FTM.

And that brings us back to a very simple fact.  True transsexuals are rare.  Those who, for want of a better term, can be labeled as "transgender" are far more common.  This has always been true.  Being transgender is a choice, and currently something of a fad.  It is, in many ways, the current rebellious fad.  Such things come and go.  History offers many such examples, but the ones most are familiar with are the more recent ones... In the Fifties, there was the Beat Generation. At least they gave us some interesting literature.  In the Sixties, the Hippies came along.  They gave us some decent music.  They were followed by things like Punks, and Slackers....which didn't seem to give us much of anything.  I imagine, in time, the TG fad will begin to wane as well...and some will be left badly damaged because of it.


Rosenkreuz said...

The question that needs to be asked is why do you want your body to match your alleged mind, except for your sex organs?

Also I love how they argue "nobody can see them so it doesn't matter"

1) If your need to match body and mind only extends to what other people can see then either one has a weak self-identity or is just doing it for show (though I've seen people who think they can forego SRS because of cost and just "ignore" it because they need external validation, but once they're secure, they suddenly need SRS because now simply being validated isn't enough)

If one can be "not dysphoric enough" to get female genitals, what about female hair? Female body proportions? Female hair proportions?

2) If external appearance is "enough" then why do they flaunt the fact that they have male genitalia?

Useful questions for discussion though we already know the answers.

Just Jennifer said...

That is a good question.

You have a very good insight into this topic. I had SRS for me, not for others. I needed it to feel correct, not so I could be a woman, but because I was a woman. Oh, and I have a very interesting quote from Sandeen that will be in my next post. You will be shocked, as I was, by just how kooky he really is...

I was never comfortable with my body. Even before I truly understood exactly what was going on. I remember some horrible experiences, up to, and including the final examination before my surgery. I understood that the two surgeons needed to know what they were going to be working with, but it was pure torture for me. Now, while I am not remotely an exhibitionist, I can get through a medical exam without feeling that old distress.