Archive for October 21, 2009
I thought I’d use the convenience of my Blog to share some thoughts prior to my upcoming surgery in November; it’s basically 2 weeks from now.
Essentially, I’m undergoing this procedure to further line-up my internalized perception of self as female and further negate the external realization of a male XY chromosomal heritage.
Admittedly, there’s a certain degree of vanity tied up in all this. I mean, legally, I’m already defined as female courtesy of the SRS (sexual reassignment surgery) I underwent over a year ago.
So, by submitting myself to FFS (Facial Feminization Surgery) and breast augmentation will I become more female? Well, in some ways, the answer is, yes. Basically what I see/what I hope is that the surgical procedures will heighten the perceptions of others around me to help them identify me as female.
I understand and agree that self-perception is all important and that I shouldn’t allow what others see to define me. Nonetheless, no man/ no woman is an island. For example, an African-American is truly equal to any other race. Yet, unless society provides the means and respect for that person to accomplish his or her goals all that internalized strength of character will fail to find expression outside the role of martyr.
Frankly, I’m hoping to avoid the whole idea of martyr for myself. November is the month we honor those of us who have been killed or victimized by virtue of their transgendered status. Too many of us have already fallen victim to the violence of ignorance, hatred, bigotry and intolerance.
I believe it’s important for transsexuals who wish to be seen as women to portray themselves as such taking on and expressing the attributes, attitudes, and sensibilities of our XX sisters however varied and complex those expressions may be.
More controversially, (but here I speak of my own perceptions, motivations and wants) I think also, that opposite sex validation is an important component. Again, not that men should define us… or perhaps more accurately, be the sole validation of our female status. Nonetheless, our desirability in male eyes as possible romantic/sexual partners should not be dismissed as unimportant. Obviously, many Male to Female transsexuals define themselves as lesbians sexually. Nonetheless, I personally feel that opposite sex attraction is a legitimate reflection of our status as females.
I clearly recognize that many XX women repudiate any male participation in helping define women as women. What I write above is purely a reflection of my own psychology…but it’s a psychology I knowingly share with a number of my real-world girlfriends.
Ok, so I’m admittedly a victim of self-professed vanity. But I also believe that external validation of my female status plays a part in internalizing the fact that I’m female. Little girls are often sanctioned, restricted, socialized in a myriad of restricting and empowering ways. Because I’ve lived most of my life in “boy-world” I missed out on that important socialization… both for ill and for good.
So, for example, I was never expected to help the women prepare Christmas dinner like my female cousins were… setting the table etc… No, I was allowed to hang out with the men playing with my toy cars or whatever in the living-room far removed from the hurried activities of the kitchen. However, the vast majority of cis-gendered females never have to suffer the indignity of being called “sir” either.
I also admit to a certain curiosity about how I’ll be perceived at work. I’m employed at a large hospital in my city. Hundreds of people know me or rather “know of me”. I’m curious if they’ll interpret my changed appearance as a positive or a negative.
On a more immediate scale, my mother has frontal lobe dementia and short term memory loss. I have concerns that my altered appearance will upset or confuse her. Alternatively, she may notice no change at all! Regardless, it represents a future event; the outcome of which remains a mystery to me.
And finally, today, I received a mixed review on my EKG. The anesthesiologist in Montreal is concerned that I might have either some form of pulmonary disease or heart condition that may negate my eligibility for surgery.
Fortunately, a preliminary discussion with my personal physician deemed such a delay in my operation unlikely. A quick comparison with last year’s EKG showed no change in the readings. The mystery is answered by the fact that EKG readings need human interpretation. Last year I was given an unqualified “all clear.” This year the interpreting cardiologist decided to err on the side of caution. Regardless, I’m confident that the extra testing I’m undergoing will not jeopardize my scheduled surgery date…now just two weeks away.
Lesson learned? Smoking may be cool when your 16 but quickly loses it’s charm and takes a toll as the years pass. I’m a non-smoker now, having quit some 9.5 years ago. Nonetheless, it’s a case of “needle and the damage done”. I had a pack and a half per day habit…. up to three packs if I was out with the boys drinking in excess. So, in all likelihood I do have some permanent lung damage that shows up on my EKG. However, it shouldn’t extend to the point that I would be denied surgery… at least in the immediate future.
Soooo, a long story a bit longer…. Montreal looms large in my future… and yes, I’ll be back with more info and insight as events duly warrant.