Our bedtime discussion…

I’m not sure what most people discuss at bedtime but I’m reasonably sure it’s not what we talk about.

Jeremy stomped into my bedroom yesterday evening. “I’m mad at some celebrities,” they announced as they flopped onto my bed.

I put my book down beside me and waited. As far as I knew, celebrities hadn’t done anything to us.

“There are trans celebrities who won’t tell people if they’ve had surgery on their genitals or not,” Jeremy continued. “People are going to continue to be scared of surgery unless they know of people who had it done and say it’s easy and safe.”

I’ve talked to people and watched videos before; easy wasn’t a word that came to my mind when affirmation surgery was mentioned. But I could see their point.

“Besides, celebrities need to let normal people know it’s okay for them to have surgery. That way they won’t worry about having it themselves and once it becomes normal, it’ll be easier to get.”

I ignored the whole ‘celebrities are weird’ insinuation. “Except trans people already get too many pointed questions about their genitals,” I pointed out. “Everyone, even celebrities, need to be seen as more than just their private parts. Cis people aren’t asked about their privates.”

“Except everyone already knows that someone like you has a vagina and they know I have a penis. What people need is information and celebrities can give that,” they said as they Blackie’s tummy. She started purring.

“I think most people get their information from their peers,” I pointed out. “There’s all sorts of groups out there.” And Jeremy wasn’t in any of them. Were their questions just general thought or was this of specific interest to them?

“If you ever need any information you can always come to me,” I added.

Jeremy stopped petting the cat. “I have that information,” they blurted indignantly. “You signed me up for sex ed classes through our church.”

The Unitarian Universalist church has a very liberal and comprehensive program. It does not, however, delve into gender affirmation surgery. I pointed that out and Jeremy snorted.

“You’ve explained that to me too. The penis gets cut in half and turned inside out to make a vagina.” They demonstrated with their hands.

It was a little more detailed than that but they had the gist.

“Has your thoughts about your gender changed at all?” I asked hesitantly.

They shook their head. “I still think gender isn’t real, well society’s version of gender. I still believe in science’s version. People start out with basic bodies of male or female.”

“Well that’s not really science,” I pointed out. “That’s society’s version. Science is a lot more complex-”

“But people are born with either a penis or vagina,” they interrupted.

“Not exactly,” I replied. “People are born anywhere from female to male or in between. Doctors look between a baby’s legs and if what’s there is under an inch, it’s a girl with a clitoris. If it’s over three inches it’s a boy with a penis. And if it’s in between then the baby is intersex and the doctors try to guess what the baby is. They either decide it’s a really small penis or a large clitoris and, if it’s a clitoris, they’ll cut it down to size.”

Three inches sounded big for a newborn. Maybe it was two inches? How would I google something like that?

Jeremy winced. “That’s not fair. They need to let the baby decide when they’re older.”

“I agree and they’re starting to do that now.”

“But what about the chromosomes?” Jeremy asked. “Those say if they’re male or female.”

“Usually,” I replied. “But there’s more than just XX or XY. There’s single X and XXX and XYY.” Or wait, that last one might just be an airport.

“I think people need to stop giving out genders to babies,” they said emphatically. “People can decide when they’re twenty years old what their gender is.”

“Most people know their gender by the time they’re two years old,” I said as tactfully as I could, fully aware that Jeremy’s still questioning at nineteen.

They nodded, “People need to be allowed to transition as needed and they can change their mind if they want to.”

Music started playing from the other room. “Oh, my show’s back on,” they announced. “Talk to you later.” And they left, abandoning Blackie and I.

I wonder what today’s topic is going to be.

colin

Jeremy on a recent walk

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13 thoughts on “Our bedtime discussion…

  1. Jeremy’s anger at celebrities choosing not to discuss genital surgery is interesting to me. While I get their desire to have these surgeries seem less mysterious, I am generally very behind anyone who doesn’t disclose their genital status – because it’s also important to push back against the idea that a trans person *must* have genital surgery before they’ve really transitioned :/

    • Jeremy’s response: They both need to get into the mainstream because when something’s mainstream people are fine with it. I’m talking about rightwing conservatives too. Which might sound weird but it’s true.

      I don’t agree with them but it’s an interesting theory.

  2. I am not a celebrity, but I do happen to be post-op. This is not information I normally volunteer but perhaps Jeremy needs to understand the issue better. I am more than my vagina. If I respond to questions like “Have you had ‘The Op’ yet?” then the subsequent conversation tends to be about my genitals or my transition. I, as a person, become an adjunct to my genitalia and very intrusive and personal questioning about my past. The hunt is then on to find out my “Deadname” so that I can be told it is my “real” name and the questioner can tell everyone else what my proper name is. People then start to tell other people who do not know me that “…. she used to be a bloke so if you meet her do not mention it …”. That really does happen. The excuse is usually that they were letting stranger know so that they would not embarrass me by asking if I was trans.

    Life fast becomes a living hell. I did not go through transition for that. So discussion of my genitalia and my past transition are off-limits. They have to be for my sake. I did not transition to obsess about my privates, I transitioned to live as the woman I have always been. My physical changes where made for my health, both mental and physical, as well as for making my social life easier too.

    ” What people need is information and celebrities can give that”

    If Jeremy wants to know more about GRS / SRS / GCS then the best ways are

    1) Joining an on-line forum where people are willing to talk behind the privacy of pseudonyms, or

    2) Join a support group where, when you get to know people, you can ask them directly if they would mind talking about it. Some of these groups even have talks from surgeons – the Manchester group is having a surgeon in early 2017.

    There is no shortage of information out there. You can find out everything you need to know without too much effort.

    “… People are going to continue to be scared of surgery unless they know of people who had it done and say it’s easy and safe.”

    If you are fit and healthy then this surgery is safe. The most dangerous part is the car journey to/from the hospital. That is more likely to kill you than the surgeon. It is an elective surgery and they check you a week or two beforehand to ensure that you are fit enough and healthy enough to cope with 4 hours surgery.

    However, this is a major surgery and there may well be complications that require revisions or follow-ups but that is true of all major surgeries. If you do not look after yourself in the initial post-op period then the chance of complications increases dramatically.

    • Turns out that Jeremy is hoping that transphobes will think transitioning is normal if it’s talked about more. I told them visibility was the answer, not talking about surgeries.

      Thanks so much for sharing *hugs*

      • Talking about surgery plays into the hands of the transphobes. It gives them something to yell and scream about and how (usually) trans-women are trying to “trick” men or subvert womanhood. It gives them an agenda and if you make a point of it then you provide them with a target as well.

        I have long suspected that the yelling of transphobes and homophobes is to drown out their own internal conflicts, the fear that they themselves are gay or trans or both. It is not an easy thing to admit as I know from my own experience.

        As the saying has it, “Haters gonna hate”. None of us can be responsible for the actions of others.

  3. I actually agree with Jeremy, at least to a certain extent. It is a hard truth that transphobes and haters are always searching for any actual excuse for attacking, but there’s a lot of not transphobic not transgender related individuals that are simply unaware of this issues, and to whom the answering of this questions matter. It is to those people that this answers would help to educate against the transphobic misinformation that’s out there

    I do agree with the fact that sharing information about surgery should be completely a personal decision and shouldn’t be pushed to disclose. I also agree with the fact we need more disclosed individuals at this stage. We’re still at the informing the rest stage. This is easier for younger generations than older, however, since older generations have experienced a waaaaay bigger extent of transphobia and danger due to the same. It is also a cultural issue. I think it is waaaay easier to disclose operation information for a transman in my town than transwoman in India, for example, and only each person can tell whats the best situation for them. They is partialy right. Celebrities have a privileged position and it would matter for them to make a stand. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be correct to push them to do so.

    Also, maybe they should be reminded than gender is not the same than gender roles. And than while gender roles are certainly society made, gender isn’t, but it is something hard to scientifically pin down, such as sexual orientation. Sexual orientation exists, now, where in your biology is it written? Nobody knows. Gender is akin to that. I think Jeremy’s quite genderfuck and that’s quite positive, but maybe that mixed to them being possibly agender is making them to be confused in some regards. Oh, and Sex and Gender are different things. Biological sex exists, true, but it is not necessarily your gender and that is completely independent to gender roles, such as in sex is not your sexual orientation and that is completely independent to you liking to dress in drag or not. First is clearly biologic, the second is biologic but harder to pin, and the third is just incorrectly associated by society.

    As for your chromosomes doubts. I’m no biologist but as far as I know having three or one single chromosome makes many other things aside than just your sex being mixed up. I think XXY is an exception, since only sex characteristics are affected there, i think. I’ve searched for information on XY females and XX males repeatedly but is actually hard to find modern resources, all of them are from the eighties or before and rely on the old stereotypes of sex and gender. I heard of a more modern source who talked about this but I’ve never really been able to find it, so I usually do not bring that in a sex/gender discussion, for it’s an easy way for a transphobe to tell “really? Where is this from?” If anybody out there reads this comment and has info, share xD. I’m constantly dealing with the extreme conservative part of society.

    R.

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