So today is the first medical follow up since having my breasts augmented. I struggled with the idea of sharing my surgery with anyone outside my immediate circle offline. Since the start of my transition I knew my dress style I was going for, I knew my hair, what my makeup was going to look like, and the only physical body change was my breasts (which I hoped oestrogen would do its job for me).
Now here I am stuck. I am a radio personality who preaches no talking about surgeries and that I am non op (non operational) transgender woman and still am. I spoke before in another post about how I have approached my breast augmentation as any woman would who had any drastic changes in breast tissue to malformation. I purposely let my body go through the 4 years of Hormone replacement therapy to let my body do what it needed to do. But what I witnessed during this time has been a real eye opener.
I have seen a couple camps of Transgender women.
- The women who lived their lives as young gay men, possibly doing drag, and then transitioned. Now the majority of these women haven’t had harsh secondary sex characteristics and haven’t hit that later 30+ stage where we sort of do this third level of sex characteristic changes. These are the women you would look at and go ‘bitch’ because they just look stereotypically cis-normative (meaning they look like any woman you would see walking down the street and often what we call ‘stealth’ or ‘passing’.
- There is the camp I fall into which is where we have lived a heterosexual or privately bisexual existence with a wife and 2.5 kids while building a white picket fence. We haven’t looked after ourselves very well and develop ‘Dad bods’ usually being 30+. The idea of living our lives as we see ourselves on the inside is usually a pipe dream unless something really shakes us up like a failing marriage, death in the family, etc that we start to internalise more than we ever did before.
- There are probably other sub groups but these are the ones you primarily see when we hear coming out stories.
SO when I came out I saw all kinds of patterns that formed when seeking support for what I was dealing with internally. The most obvious was that there wasn’t any support. No support groups. No Special General Practitioners (GP) on google search, my local regional medical centre had no idea what I was going on about, and what in the world am I doing entertaining these thoughts?
I finally found some support through a fetish meetup group of all places because it was ALL I could find, and I wasn’t feeling very good about myself at this stage and felt disgusting. Everything I saw was about clothes, makeup, lingerie, sexualised images that made me want to cry. This was the same thing I had seen my entire life when trying to understand what I was going through. Luckily I was able to meet a proper GP and get onto a mental health plan to help me make sense of ALL of this. But every time I started to get onto a roll with conversation all anyone wanted to talk about was dosages of medications and what surgeries I had planned and who I was wanting to see based on their surgical techniques.`I was mentally putting my foot down like a passenger in the car trying to apply the invisible break pedal.
“SURGERY?!” I was almost offended because here I was at the end of my marriage, I am trying to find stability for my daughters, what is going to happen to our house, how am I going to navigate now with a single income, etc. The last thing i was worried about was was custom Neo vagina I was going to start a purchase plan on and if I wanted red leather interior or a low hood. I hadn’t even started and this was all being thrown at me.
Over the next year I focused on just keeping my head above water and not pissing off the rest of my family around me so I could create a normalised experience for my daughters and not traumatise them with the fact that their father was now going to be presenting as a female and again, apply breaks and slow down to make sure they could keep up. Still when seeking out others in my particular situation all I heard was ‘Well I am getting a ‘so and so’ vagina because their technique is such’ or ‘I will not start my new career until I have X surgery’. Now where i come from there isn’t any government assistance for anything and if you DO go on to these programs it is just embarrassing and I wanted to show my daughters what it meant to apply hard work and see the results from it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do understand that some people personally need to go through some of these procedures for their own selves. I am merely pointing out that it is immediately thought and perceived that it is unquestionably going to have to happen no matter what if you intend to live your life as the gender you identify with. I just understood my immediate limitations as a 6’3″ (192cm) man and that I could in no way squeeze into a size 10 dress and meet the unattainable standards that even cisgendered women are faced with in society.
But this one occasion stood out to me. It was a lightbulb moment during one of our shows we did on facial feminisation surgery. This is a surgery that peels your face down from your forehead and involves drilling the prominent features of your skull to soften the appearance of your masculine features. During the show and after there was a split in conversations and I noticed something that followed further online in the days that followed even till now.
We have further groups which I refer to the haves and have nots. All feminisation surgeries require an obscene about of financial backing that most people will never be able to afford. Depending on how far you want to go, Transgender surgical costs can cost more than $100,000. Medical procedures like facial electrolysis could cost up to $20,000. No wonder so many transgender people fall into the have nots basket because we are economically vulnerable, 15% of the community report making less than $10,000 a year. Many in fact, end up homeless or attempting suicide.
- Hormone Therapy: $1,500/Year
- Gender Reassignment Surgery: $30,000-Plus
- Facial Feminisation Surgery: $25,000-$60,000
- Breast Augmentation: $5,000-$10,000
We face this pressure to immediately book in these appointments and sit on the waiting lists for years until that magical day comes where we will be “complete”.
It don’t work that way.
I saw in social media those who could afford all of these things flaunt it. I saw comments posted underneath about how ‘they will never be able to’ and watching this first hand is heart breaking while beating the streets going door to door just to help others just find employment so they could live their lives and rejoin the rest of society and feel accomplished. Those displays of “look at me”, along with the encouragement of every woman in my life who shared their individual stories and struggles with me, made me come to the conclusion that I didn’t need any of these things to complete my gender transition in society. Often I was affirmed through my actions that I had finally become the woman I always seen myself as.
So why did I have Breast Augmentation? Sometimes people don’t realise the background work and struggles to get to this point, which is why i shared a brief nutshell above. The spiritual and mental decision alone was a lot of back and forth thoughts in my mind and when I couldn’t even put on a piece of clothing to fit me properly I knew I had to revisit this. Trust me I have had SOOoooo much running through my head even now after going did I do the right thing, but I blame lack of sleep. I know I did. But I didn’t want to flaunt what i decided to do. If anything up to this point I kept it to myself, researched clinics, weighed my options of which Dr’s people preferred or which country had the best technique, and you know what? No one gave me any advice that was helpful and usually ended up being about ‘I don’t care about the cost I just want the best’. WTF?!
One of the things I love about womens bodies are the imperfections. The scars, the stretch marks, moles, freckles, curves, our minds and the way we see the world, and the list keeps on going. Its why I am still so attracted to women even to this day. I wasn’t worried about perfect symmetry, I just wanted my body to be balanced and fill my malformed breasts to an appropriate size for my massive frame, and you know what? The Dr did just that. I went to an appointment with a Dr who listened to me and what i wanted. He could tell by our conversation that I was doing the right thing and up until they put me to sleep to the moment I stood in the surgery today for a follow up I was treated like the woman I am with care and concern for my needs.
Afterwards this morning I stood there topless in my bathroom looking in the mirror. Yes I have a tummy, and yes I have stretch marks, I have scars that have left me feeling unattractive for years, I saw every flaw and every unique feature across my body that told many stories. But I looked at my body and Ithought how feminine I looked. I saw how beautiful my imperfect body is now that I look balanced and don’t care about the flaws saying fuck the stereotypical standards because I love myself and I am such a beautiful woman with her own stories to tell.