As it seemed so important to people to get offended at my surgical decision not to have GRS, for whatever reason, I suppose that it's only fitting to say this here. In the beginning, I had reserved the right to change my mind. I'm exercising that right, now. (It's a decision I'd actually made awhile ago, but had not commented on during the past month to two of being sidelined by depression).
That does not mean that I'm abandoning those who live in an in-between or conceding to a one-true-way in which we are forced to live in a binary and be either fully female or fully male. It also doesn't mean that I'm allowing ideological bullies push me into making a life-changing decision based on their indignant and bigoted puritanism. I've simply come to realize that the in-between path is not one that I personally can travel and be fulfilled. I believe that there will come a day when more trans folk will give consideration to traveling this path and do so without shame (those who can, that is -- there's a majority whose gender dysphoria is so severe that this would never be an option, and I don't see that changing), and that will bring its own set of controversies and insights -- but it's an idea for other pioneers, of whom I am no longer one.
It was because I'd been living 24/7 for some time that the gender dysphoria was alleviated enough to consider forgoing GRS. That and a somewhat positive sexual experience that has never been replicated gave me pause to think less about surgery and more about the concept of the Two Spirit, a concept that existed in many Native cultures, as well as other cultures past and present. Specific traditions vary considerably, and I never did filter that down to a conclusive singular definition of Two Spirit, other than that one must follow their heart on the matter. But there is an intrinsic sense that someone who is perfectly Two Spirited, i.e. not leaning to one side or the other, attains a higher spiritual level of balance, combining the feminine and masculine, the passive and aggressive (and hopefully not passive-aggressive), reflection and spontaneity, considering alternate viewpoints and decisiveness.... Of course, it would be impossible for anyone to be all that, but it seemed to me to be something to strive for. There is wisdom to be learned from every path, but the more unique the path, the more insight can be found.
In the end, however, I've found that I am far closer to a singular feminine spirit than that, and that having certain pieces of flesh didn't change that equation, anyway. What was awkward before remained awkward -- coping is not the same as fulfillment. The surgery exists for a reason, and that is to help a person function in every area in their life. As the realm particular to the genitals and associated psyche were not functioning, my decision had to be revisited.
Gender: Biology vs. Social Construct
... will probably be a debate for ages to come. My own travels so far tell me that it has to be a little bit of both. I didn't choose my gender, and was not able to sway it the (self-censored) number of years I tried to pass as the man that people expected me to be. There's something very intrinsic and unwavering about gender. And then... we construct a whole lot of ideas around that, many of which are $#!t. But the construct becomes a part of our self-expression, whether we loathe it or celebrate it. Questioning the biology, questioning the construct... it's all good. It helps us see more aspects of the whole. We are, after all, biology + socialization + choice, and those different components sometimes have specific and immovable province over different areas of our lives. Questioning allows us to determine where our notions are coming from and just how flexible or firm, founded or unfounded they might be.
Likewise, I see no need to expunge the concept of "Third Sex," although I doubt it will ever be adopted into the mainstream. I don't particularly feel like a third sex, although I know I'll never be male and have had a recent reminder that there will always be people who will never accept me as female, surgery or no. So, as in other aspects of life, trans folk of a "third sex" mindset exist to keep questioning the polarized concepts of binary gender, black and white.
But maybe that's what the in-betweeners and the misfits are for is to question things - something that doesn't change with the flick of a scalpel.
Crossposted at dentedbluemercedes.wordpress.com.