Here’s what I’d like you to do:
- Cut open my penis.
- Remove the spongey erectile tissue. Make sure to leave the nerves and blood supply intact! We’ll need those!
- Invert all that stuff up into my pelvic cavity.
- Use that tissue and blood supply to make me a brand new clit.
- Shorten my urethra – won’t be standing up to pee anymore!
- Take the extra scrotal tissue and shape me a good labia.
Perfect! Now that’s what I want to see when I look in the mirror.Vaginoplasty, the surgery described above and what most people mean when they say “gender reassignment surgery,” is terrifying. My cock is a sensitive thing, even more so since going on hormones and getting more in touch with my sexual self. Even if I’ll be under anesthesia, the idea of all that happening to me – the cutting and the slicing and the moving about – is scary. Terrifying, even. Violent. Bloody-sounding. The type of thing out of a horror movie, not a consensual and desired and medically-accepted surgery.
We pretend surgery isn’t violent. That knife-to-flesh is an act of healing, of care. We need to, to get through it. I need to, anyway. And I will admit that surgery is controlled. When it’s done right, it’s not messy. But cutting and blood and pain and recovery necessitates an act of violence. To recover, to have recovery time, means that there is something to recover from. The scars on my stomach, from my gallbladder removal, are the result of an act of violence. Pain-relieving, potentially life-saving (had the infection spread), and absolutely necessary violence.
The Surgery requires about a week in the hospital – a week, in this day and age of outpatient surgery – and months of post-op recovery. It costs tens of thousands of dollars, plus travel and assorted fees and random expenses. There’s a possibility, albiet a very small one, that Il’l never be able to orgasm again. I know the general consensus – from among surgeons, post-op trans women, and my therapist – is that the ability orgasm is extremely common with modern surgery, and even more likely if the woman is orgasmic and actively sexual pre-surgery (which I am).
But still, the possibility of never being able to cum ever again, and paying twenty thousand dollars for the privilege?
So why am I doing this? Why am I researching surgeons, with the hope and intent of having The Surgery in the next 12-18 months? What the hell am I thinking?
I hate the cliches surrounding The Surgery: That it makes trans women feel complete. Whole. Like themselves. At home in their body. All the things you hear on talk shows and newscasts and radio and best-selling tell-alls.
And yet, for all the pride I take in my ability to use words to communicate how I feel, I’m struggling to come up with a better justification or explanation for why I’m planning to have The Surgery. Gender reassignment surgery. A vaginoplasty. To have my cock turned inside out, and become a cunt. I’ll go into a magical sleep, the vagina fairy will fly through the window, and I’ll wake up with an innie instead of an outie.
In some ways, it’s a logical and natural continuation down the path I’ve been traveling: hair removal and hormones and growing my hair out and makeup and dresses and presenting (and usually being perceived as) a “real” girl. Perhaps the question I should be asking is “Why wouldn’t I want The Surgery?”
(I want to take a moment to clarify that I do not think all trans people “should” or need to have any sort of surgery or medical intervention to be trans or to be happy or to be “real” men, women, or anything else. I am speaking only of my own experience, and my own journey.)
What frustrates me is that there’s something of an inability to fully feel something if you can’t express the feeling. George Orwell knew this:
In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.
Lets try this: I want surgery because….
- …when I imagine my idealized or ideal body, I imagine it with a vagina and not a penis.
- …I want to feel someone, something, myself, you, us inside my cunt.
- …I want to be able to wear tight clothing and bathing suits and dresses without resorting to tucking.
- …it would make me feel less different from other girls.
(Yes, I know that last sentence is problematic. Some of my favorite “other girls” in my life have cocks, too. But I’m trying to be honest with this list, even if my emotions or desires don’t always match my politics, and not self-censor.
Perhaps we use such cliches – at home in my own body, whole, complete – because language simply fails us. Difficult as it is to contemplate, maybe I don’t have the words to explain or justify why I want The Surgery.
But there is beauty in transformation. Flowers, butterflies, the changing of the seasons, growth and strength, the rush of blood and tightening of flesh. Of making myself who I am. Chipping away at rock until the final sculpture is made clear. Hopefully I’m going in the right direction.
I think I am.