I’ve been told I’m I’m wrong to say this, that I am creating hierarchies and extolling separatism when I say things are different after SRS.
This is because a few assholes have made SRS into this thing that is almost like a trophy they can wave in the faces of those who can’t afford surgery, or don’t have the same level of discomfort within their own skins as to require SRS.
SRS is a surgical procedure, not a badge of distinction. After getting it you don’t suddenly become an all capital letters REAL WOMAN, because surgery doesn’t erase having been born trans.
I’ve been watching a sweet honest kid named Drew Cordes, who posts over on Bilerico go through post-op consciousness changes in public view. I should have kept track of more of her posts, instead I’ve had this one sitting in my tray for weeks while I dealt with the elections and holidays A Genderless Society Is Not the Answer. It’s a good post and shows how thinking adjusts after SRS.
If I had a hundred dollars for every time I’ve had a pre-op or non-op transgender sister tell me that SRS doesn’t really change anything, I would be able to retire in relative comfort.
But SRS does change life for people, hell even getting accepted to a program changed peoples way of viewing things back when I was going through the process. (I won’t bring up the pre-historic era when discovering there were doctors who would prescribe hormones changed how many people viewed themselves.)
Natalie Reed, who contributed some valuable insights into the “cotton ceiling” has a piece on her blog that deserves mention. (Sorry I didn’t get around to mentioning this one earlier but again there have been so many other issues.) Natalie’s piece is: The Personal Politics of SRS.
Being accepted in to a surgery track program causes people to reevaluate positions they have taken.
Honesty compels: SRS changes people physically…
It changes how we relate to ourselves and it changes how others relate to us even within the trans-communities.
The changes in how people relate to their bodies after surgery aren’t the exclusive property of the HBS assholes but are a common shared experience that people should be able to talk about without being afraid of being labeled as elitist.
Part of it may be hormonal since SRS usually includes removal of the gonads that produce hormones.
But a lot of the feeling is elation at having achieved a goal that we work a long time to obtain and often make great sacrifices to obtain.
It feels like the end of one chapter or sections of chapters in our life histories and the start of a new chapter and section.
Some people turn into assholes and think SRS makes them really special. That was sort of the case 50 years ago but now there are so many post-ops it is hard to go to a super market in some places without running into a sister or brother. I’m not talking LGBT ghetto, in suburbia too, even here in Dallas/Fort Worth.
We, transsexual and transgender people are all over the place.
Since others have had the same operation as those who think it makes them special it isn’t enough to have SRS, you have to abuse other people who had the same operation you did if they don’t think exactly the same way you do.
This is bullshit and the HBS assholes deserve to be called out on it.
Which brings us to the label I use transsexual or post-transsexual. WBT meant just exactly that, I see myself as a woman who was BORN transsexual and had to deal with that. It doesn’t make me any better than sisters who came out since the 1990s and the popularization of the term “transgender”, it is more indicative of when I came out and how I viewed what I did than some sort of quest for status. I look at what I have dealt with and the label I came out to in 1962 still feels like the right word to describe my life.
Your mileage may vary and if you have had SRS, or any of the other labels out there to describe “the operation”, it isn’t harming me if you describe your experiences differently as long as you don’t try to tell me I am describing my experiences improperly because I use different words.
In the immortal words of the Jefferson Airplane, “It doesn’t mean shit to a tree.”
On the other hand, we do people who are going through surgery a disservice if we pretend these feeling that exist for many people, if not all people who are going through the process aren’t real feelings.
When I first read Riki Wilchins book some 15 or so years ago I went, “Fuck Yeah!” Now I’m less enthusiastic about a lot of what she said.
She down played the physical pain and the pain of emotional loss too much. Her way of looking at her body after SRS seems weird to me. Too much Judy Butler and not enough from other sisters.
Now that the wars have died down we need to listen to each other, not slogans thrown back and forth but to what others are going through. One size doesn’t fit everyone.
It is okay to be excited about getting a surgery date, it is normal to have doubts and fears. If you have a lot of pain or complications from SRS it is normal to have a lot of anger and even question whether or not getting SRS was the right thing. This doesn’t mean you are less transsexual or less real than an HBS asshole who breezed through SRS. It means you have complications and a lot of pain.
It will pass.
I think people would be better prepared if we were able to discuss all these things without feeling hostility or jealousy.
It would be a good thing if both post-op and pre/non-op folks were to acknowledge how physical changes of this sort produce profound feelings in people and that there is no standard model for behavior or expectations.
Given some of the hostility that goes on and gets directed towards people who speak up about what they are experience emotionally while going through SRS I’m almost surprised by the number of sisters who stick around.
It speaks highly of commitment to the cause.
Listening to people going through SRS and not attacking those who express feelings outside the proper ideological framework would go even further.
Strength comes from sharing joy as much as it comes from sharing pain. Sharing people’s joy and congratulating them makes for stronger bonds than jealously sniping at them and putting them down or invalidating the experience they just shared with you.