Drew Cordes

An Open Letter to My Genitals in Advance of Surgery

Filed By Drew Cordes | April 28, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: open letter, surgery, transgender

Well, here we are, coming to the end of our time together. In a month you'll be gone,5034760960_6254b4cd1b.jpg and things will be different. I don't know the ways in which they'll be different, and that's a bit intimidating in the devil-you-know vs. devil-you-don't sense. So in that light, I sometimes think, "are things between us currently really that bad?" It wouldn't be ideal, but we could get by.

I know these thoughts are just cold feet and fear of the unknown, of events I can't control, like putting my future in the hands of a surgeon. After almost 30 years battling you in some form or another, I've become excellent at controlling and compartmentalizing you. But that's a cold comfort at best. I don't operate under the delusion that our split will solve all my problems. I'm hoping it will be an improvement, that's all. Regardless of what the outcome will be, I think you'd agree things can't go on the way they are.

I want to say that I never hated you. That word never applied. I used plenty of other words though - annoying (used the most by far), burden, unfortunate, wrong, obstacle, etc. You did come with certain advantages, of which I did partake and even enjoy. You played a huge role in shaping my body, and that body has allowed me to do some really fun, interesting things. Because of you, I know what it's like to dunk a basketball, and play competitive tennis and other athletics on the level that I did. I have fond memories of relationships with gay men that wouldn't have happened if you were absent. And let's not get started on male privilege - which I unknowingly basked in for so long.

You held a lot of disadvantages, too. As time went on, those drawbacks became more and more troubling. You made sex a bit of a challenge. You were good at sex, I'll grant you that, but in your eagerness to do well you neglected to provide me with any pleasure. While you did your thing, I would stare out windows and drift off in thought ... "Why am I doing this again? What do I get out of this? I wonder if the Red Sox won tonight." I wanted to have sex, but not with you. You always ruined it. Instead of connecting with the person in my bed and experiencing that inimitable spark together, I was off somewhere else. I'd have to close my eyes tight and instruct my partner not to touch me as my imagination did the necessary heavy lifting creating scenarios where you weren't around to fuck things up. Only after I hit the point of no return could I pull my lover to me again, attempting to grasp a bit of closeness in that fleeting moment.

It was when you began to affect my friendships that I knew we had to change. When spending time with my closest girlfriends, I sensed that I was always at arm's length. Not because they didn't love me or wanted to exclude me, but because you were there. I couldn't relate to them on the plane of shared experience. They had the bond of being women, growing up as girls, facing certain challenges and riding certain highs that are exclusive to the female gender. I tried my best to "get it." I wanted to get it so badly. Looking back now, I can see that I failed miserably. There was no getting around you.

Even if I had succeeded in connecting to my friends in that way, I still would've lacked something else they had that I desperately desired: looks. I wanted to be pretty like them. Their clothes were beautiful. In my yearning they would let me wear them, but on me the clothes ceased to be beautiful. On me they became awkward and pitiful. Only their bodies, their hair, their gorgeous soft faces could imbue beauty to the fabric, and vice versa. I had none of those things. It was immensely frustrating. I could approach my desired goal as close as I wanted, but I would never touch it because of what you had made me. As someone who's prone to clinging to logic for comfort, my only conclusion was self-hatred. The problem was me. I was standing in the way of the things I wanted - femininity, fulfilling relationships with friends and lovers, happiness. Everything, really. Eventually I realized the error in this line of thinking. I wasn't the problem. And I'm not the problem now. And you know it.

It's not me, it's you. And I can't do this anymore. It's over.

Goodbye.


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Thank you, That's about as close to what i been feeling, 40 days before my own surgery. Bravo Bravo a good read!!!!!! Hope you have a great time with your upcoming surgery.

Wow. Exactly how I felt, and feel (except the sports stuff, always hated them).

I hope that your surgery reduces or removes the barriers you have faced. Good luck, and best wishes for the procedure, and for a speedy recovery, with no complications! :)

lisalee18wheeler | April 28, 2011 8:31 PM

This is a joke, right. What ever happened to privacy and modesty? Who are you trying to score brownie points with, anyway?

There's nothing quite like explaining the intention of a piece to render it ineffective, but I'll do it for you anyway. It's not a joke per se, more absurdist. A Dear John letter to a body part. Not for everyone apparently.
As for privacy and modesty ... the hope for sharing things in this vein is to create empathy -- to help non-trans people understand what it's like. What I said was somewhat personal, but nothing so personal that it makes me uncomfortable. There are some things I won't share with just anyone, but none were included here. Personally, I think it's odd that for the huge role sex plays in our lives it's discussed seriously extremely rarely.

And in other news...

My bookie is laying odds on how long it will be before this thing is used against trans women in a political or legal setting.

Good luck on your upcoming surgery; I sincerely hope your physical transformation brings you happiness and peace of mind.

My concern, though, is with your comment concerning your "closest girlfriends." Your gender transition isn't going to change the limitations and parameters you've outlined: you still will not have the life experience of "being raised a girl."

I'm not a therapist. I'm certain you've worked with your therapist during the period of time it was required for you to live your life, completely, as a person of the gender to which you're transitioning, but - layperson that I am - I don't believe, post-surgery, your life is going to be as easy as slipping on a new pair of cut-out slingback pumps.

Renee Thomas | April 28, 2011 10:51 PM

"To slip effortlessly into a new pair of cut-out slingback pumps" is not why we ultimately choose to undertake such an arduous journey. While I won't presume to speak for Drew (she has no problem eloquently doing so for herself) I can say with some authority that being at peace with one's body, being at home in it as it were, is, after many years of internal struggle, worth almost any hardship.

What Drew may experience is that the process of transition will indeed bring her into a closer bond with many natal women who will recognize what she gave up to be true to herself . . . and it doesn't involve that several ounces of tissue to which she alludes. Upon my transition, a female colleague who I both liked and respected emailed conspiratorially her congratulations saying; "welcome to the dark side." The community of women is closed to you Eric. In many ways both concrete and existential it won't be closed to Drew.

Actually... it does make a difference. It shouldn't logically, but it does. Call it a write of passage.

Surely you've noticed how women who have given birth are differentiated from those who have not? Or maybe you haven't. Secret Women's Business.

This has everything to do with instinct and nothing to do with reason. But it's real.

As per usual, Eric reduces the entire profound trans experience into cliches about cross-dressing and attempts to categorize our experiences as a form of mental illness.

I dunno anything about Eric's typical stance towards trans ppl, but I kinda agree with him, based on my own experience.

Surgery made some difference, but for me there continues to be that moment of awareness in cis women when they start to say something to me about certain things, and then remember that I am not a real woman, and don't share their experiences, esp relative to female body functions (such as periods) and sex and dating, and pull back.

I just didn't want to contradict what Drew is hoping for, 'cause I am hoping it *is* different for her (she is younger, I assume her friends are young, and more accepting than women my age), and even if it isn't different for her, to not throw cold water on her hopes and dreams.

Actually, I feel Zoe's analogy is good for my point, though I dont really agree with hers (sorry!). The recognition of difference I see of cis women toward me is much like the way that a lot of women who have given birth are toward women who haven't, when it comes to talking about being pregnant or giving birth, and even toward women who have raised or helped raise babies from birth, but never had one themselves. It's that idea of, "Oh, wait, you wouldn't understand."

Carol just the other day I had an experience with a group of women talking about environmentally friendly feminine hygiene practices.(Earth Week Related) The only thing that was said to me was how fortunate I was because I wouldn't have to go through that experience. I mentioned about post-op care and the converstion continued without missing a beat. Everyone there knew I was pre-op and excepted me as one of the girls.I can honestly say while I dress to fit in, I really don't try to hard on the voice. I had explained to one of the women in the class previously why and right after she pronounced me as a woman to the group. This is even after my school paper printed a nasty article about "Transgender People" using the bathroom. The women that know me are all pissed about it and are standing up for me. They see it for what it is men exerting their beliefs on women with a couple women that follow them.Jillian weiss,Joe Mirabella,and Dana Lane have all seen the article and can vouch for how nasty it was. Because of it I am experiencing some more nasty comments from men like purposely relating to me as dude. But you know what I'm not getting all in there face about it instead I talk to them about it and explain it.I can't make them change their mind but I can give them reason to. Maybe some of what I just said can help you maybe it can't we all experience things differently.

Carol just the other day I had an experience with a group of women talking about environmentally friendly feminine hygiene practices.(Earth Week Related) The only thing that was said to me was how fortunate I was because I wouldn't have to go through that experience. I mentioned about post-op care and the converstion continued without missing a beat. Everyone there knew I was pre-op and excepted me as one of the girls.I can honestly say while I dress to fit in, I really don't try to hard on the voice. I had explained to one of the women in the class previously why and right after she pronounced me as a woman to the group. This is even after my school paper printed a nasty article about "Transgender People" using the bathroom. The women that know me are all pissed about it and are standing up for me. They see it for what it is men exerting their beliefs on women with a couple women that follow them.Jillian weiss,Joe Mirabella,and Dana Lane have all seen the article and can vouch for how nasty it was. Because of it I am experiencing some more nasty comments from men like purposely relating to me as dude. But you know what I'm not getting all in there face about it instead I talk to them about it and explain it.I can't make them change their mind but I can give them reason to. Maybe some of what I just said can help you maybe it can't we all experience things differently.

Eric Payne | April 29, 2011 3:28 PM

Gina,

Kindly quote, ver batim where I equated Drew's experience with "reduc(ing) the entire profound trans experience into cliches about cross-dressing and attempts to categorize our experiences as a form of mental illness."

I specifically stated I, as a layman. I specifically stated I was not a therapist. I sincerely wished Drew success in the physical transformation about to be undergone. I also expressed my wish Drew wasn't engaging in a thought process that couldn't help but be a let-down for him, post transition.

Are you speaking about the remark concerning shoes? If you are, then you just didn't get it.

"I also expressed my wish Drew wasn't engaging in a thought process that couldn't help but be a let-down for him, post transition." - An arrogant, condescending, clueless gay man

I'm sure Drew really appreciates the comparison of this life altering surgery to a sassy change of shoes. Just ask him.

Eric Payne | April 29, 2011 4:39 PM

Well... the comment has been up for several days, now. Drew has made comment in response to other comments, posted after my comment was posted, and Drew didn't say a negative word about my comment. That pretty much speaks for itself.

Ok, calling her 'him' *is* transpobic. As transphobic as you can get. :(((((

Eric Payne | April 29, 2011 4:45 PM

Carol,

My reference to gender in my last posting was completely accidental; in composition, I thought I had only referenced Drew by the proper noun "Drew."

But if my reference to a gender was "transphobic," then so, too, is the comment made by "Concerned," in which the attempt is, again, made paint me as "transphobic," and which ends with the line: "Just ask him." - referencing my asking Drew for Drew's opinion.

Yes, intentionally misgendering someone is very transphobic. Accidentally doing it isn't as bad, though to me it always means that you really see that person as a man (relative to trans women) and don't really accept them as female, even if you know better than to say it out loud (and ppl who feel this way usually *do* use the person's name rather than pronouns for this very reason).

I saw the post by 'Concerned'. I have no idea what point that person was making, it seemed at odds to me, too. However, I am not talking to 'Concerned' here, I am talking to *you*. What 'Concerned' says has no relevance to my comment to you. And I mostly called *you* out b/c I stood up for you, and then you came back with misgendering, and from your 'layperson' comments, I thought you might like to know that it is very offensive to a lot of trans ppl. And then you come back with not, "Oh, sorry" or such, but deflection. which kinda seems to prove Gina right about you...

And yes, I did notice that Drew did not comment on your post referring to her as 'him'. But she is much more easy-going than I am. And like with 'Concerned', I am not talking about how Drew responded or didn't respond, but letting you know how that comes across to a lot of trans ppl.

Eric Payne | April 29, 2011 8:21 PM

Okay. Let me see if I understand this correctly, Carol and Concerned...

To avoid inadvertent disrespect via usage of the incorrect gender-specific pronoun, I made it a point to refer to Drew by proper name. Yet, "Concerned" does use the incorrect gender-specific pronoun in referencing Drew... and I'm the one being disrespectful.

Why is that?

In none of my commentary did I disparage transsexuals in any way (at least intentionally), yet Concerned can say: "You gay men are not honorary women, and you do not get to dictate terms to us. Snarking at people followed by the usual retreat behind the gay card has to stop."

And I'm the one being something-phobic?

Wow. No wonder the number of comments left on the articles posted on Bilerico have plummeted in the past year. A year ago, when I left, there were very, very few postings which did not receive a minimum of 20 comments; in the three or four days since I've returned, I've noticed the average comment sections seems to be only four or five comments long with almost no inter-comment discussion.

I don't have anything against gay men. I did not say anything against gay men. And inadvertently misgendering someone happens. But you still don't seem to want to admit you are wrong, instead persist in saying, "But concerned said worse!" and whining about being stereotyped and then move on to complaining about the commenting environment here. Yet more deflection, in my mind. You seem an awfully lot like a concern troll to me. But, whatever.

Yes, the typical playing the gay card to avoid admitting bigotry trick. Nuh uh, no more.

I'm going to let you girls in on a little secret. When trans women allow men to talk down to them like this, it makes other women wonder who you really are. When a man acts imperious and treats your opinion like it is worthless and you not only don't call him on it, but apologize and bow and scrape, it pisses the rest of us off.

Women have struggled too long with male arrogance to allow someone in the club to just throw it all away, and even if it isn't on a conscious level there are certain bounds that both we and men observe to keep the peace. Gay men often cross those bounds with you trans women and you hardly raise a fuss.

It makes people wonder why you put up with it from them, and if people aren't enlightened about the trans condition, it makes them think maybe its because you properly belong with the boys. I don't hold that opinion, but I want you all to know how it looks. Please think before you tacitly give permission to men to disrespect women like this.

Someone points out that you called a woman a man, and the person who points out your bigotry is at fault? Classic spin. Just lovely.

No, it's time for certain gay men to shut their big yaps about things they have no business discussing. You don't get to have an opinion about other people's identities, unless you want other people to start having opinions about yours. You gay men are not honorary women, and you do not get to dictate terms to us. Snarking at people followed by the usual retreat behind the gay card has to stop.

This isn't 'transphobia', this is simple misogyny. 'Trans' people need to ditch the 'transphobia' word, which is just an appropriations of 'homophobia', and start calling things by their proper name. If people crap on your identity, they are crapping on women, or men, as the case may be.

Most of the time it is men dumping all over women and because people thing of themselves as trans instead of as women, they allow it. Stand with your sisters and start calling out this misogyny. Don't divide yourself from other women simply because some gay man starts sneering at you.

My concern, though, is with your comment concerning your "closest girlfriends." Your gender transition isn't going to change the limitations and parameters you've outlined

You say that like you're some kind of authority, but it's really just conjecture based on your own prejudices. Much like the fundamentalists who create vast fantasies of what will happen should same sex marriage be legalized. But like gay marriage, transition between genders is a reality that we can actually report on, not a possibility we can only speculate on.

You're wrong.

Eric Payne | April 29, 2011 9:39 PM

Four sisters. No brothers. One sister is gay. One sister older than me by one year, exactly; other three sisters, younger. Eight years separate all five of us children. I was born in a household of women, as my father worked 500 miles away from our residence.

I've seen my sisters interface, first-hand, with female transsexuals; I've seen their female friends interface, firsthand, with female transsexuals.

But my life experiences aren't nearly as important as you maintaining that no man, especially no gay man, "gets it," is it?

lisalee18wheeler | April 29, 2011 11:06 PM

Yes, exactly. Just like I have no say in your life experiences, you have absolutely no say in mine.

We can't make it any clearer.

Renee Thomas | April 28, 2011 10:23 PM

It's a big decision Drew and a very serious undertaking. You know that as well as such things can be known. I hope your journey across that liminal space is as gentle and uneventful as possible.


@Lisalee . . . 18wheeler?? Oh my, now that's quite the handle.

That you don't, won't or are simply incapable of getting it is achingly obvious, beyond that observation, you're simply not worth wasting my breath over . . . though I am sorely tempted.

lisalee18wheeler | April 29, 2011 12:12 AM

Thank you for reducing me to the lowest common denominator. Fortunately, I take little of what I read here seriously. As far as my moniker goes, what I do and who I am intersect on many planes. I don't expect you to understand, nor sympathize.

lisalee18wheeler | April 29, 2011 12:22 AM

Don't you have something more important in Australia you could be paying far more attention to?

I'm glad you didn't take it seriously because, as I mentioned earlier, it's not "serious," it's absurd. But you raise an interesting question: If you don't take anything you read on this site seriously, 1. why are you reading it and B. responding to it with such passion?

lisalee18wheeler | April 29, 2011 6:16 PM

Passion? Hardly. Interest. Certainly.

lisalee18wheeler | April 29, 2011 6:27 PM

And you still haven't answered my original question. Not that I'm holding my breath. I guess it's too lowbrow and "redneck"...

Renee Thomas | April 29, 2011 10:22 PM

Darling, you did that all on your own . . .

WASHINGTON DC APR 28 |

Dear Ms. Cordes,

I found the piece well thought-out, articulate, and yes, a bit poignant at least in regard to your thoughts regarding the mis-matched bits of one gender that didn't fit the truth of your inner-self and true gender identity.

Miss Lisa Lee Redneck obviously misses the point and the irony of your letter judging from the overtly hostile response she posted. Tragic- yet in many ways typical. Note, I make this observation as a Gay man who acknowledges that I am still learning and admit to a need to be better educated on issues that affect you and your peers.

I wish you well young lady and hope that your final transition into your appropriate gender is at the very least comfortable, and not fraught with undue pain & difficulties.

Sincerely,


Brody Levesque
BL Freelance News Service LLC
Washington D. C.
202 556 0877

lisalee18wheeler | April 29, 2011 12:20 AM

Redneck. Cool. Yet another badge to put with all the other badges. Funny that all my friends have never labeled me "redneck". Stereotyping will get you everywhere.

I want to know if they will let you keep your testicles. You can pickle them and show them off to guests.

Renee Thomas | April 28, 2011 11:17 PM

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

The editorial team in our sole discretion will delete a comment that is abusive, off-topic, LGBT-phobic, or is soliciting and/or advertising.

Hahahahahahahhahahah awesome idea! A gag worthy of a John Waters movie.

"I want to know if they will let you keep your testicles. You can pickle them and show them off to guests."

My partner's son requested her testicles after surgery because he wanted to encase them in lucite and turn them into earrings.

No, they don't let you keep them. Something about being considered biohazard medical waste.

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

The editorial team in our sole discretion will delete a comment that is abusive, off-topic, LGBT-phobic, or is soliciting and/or advertising.

Katherine Lewis | April 29, 2011 1:23 AM

I have to applaud for such a wonderful article that speaks out with the voice of one and of many. I have many years of experience on yours, the curse of repression. Yet I share the celebration and the farewell, my own liberty seven months in the future. Your words echo in my mind as they are so akin to my own. Thank you.

It will be different.
The first time you pee the first time you bathe. The first time you touch yourself.
The first year or two when all the healing is done and you be come one with your new body.
Some people think I'm being elitist or snotty when I describe myself as post-transsexual but the having been transsexual fades as the memory of the body before fades, especially I think if you have a good deal of body disphoria.
At the same time the learn and becoming continues for a few year until one day you realize it has been 10, 20, 30 and in my case nearly 40 years. Or you pass a mile stone where you have been female longer than you were what ever we are before.
As an old timer this is the best advice I can offer.
May you have an easy time without complications and with little pain and may you heal quickly and well.
Good luck.

Exactly.

You forget that things were ever different. So do others. It becomes difficult for them to keep on making the distinction in their minds, so they let it drop, it's too hard to keep it up.

Those who don't know you will still see you as a cardboard cutout, but those you see every day will forget. You'll be nattering about something, talk goes to childbirth, they'll ask you if you had a difficult pregnancy with your child... and then *DOINK* will suffer brain-lock if you remind them that you took the scenic routeto get where you are. Best to sey "didn't feel a thing" and continue till someone realises and bursts out laughing.

Good luck and happy recovery! Mine was just a little over 3 months ago, and I've finally started to "get the hang" of sex again. Very wonderful feeling.

And the letter rang very true. Well done :)

P.S. I was asked whether or not to keep it when they were done. I had to sign a form with my decision, I chose not to, but hey, go for it :)

Nice essay. You expressed the thoughts of many of us.Best wishes on your SRS. It sounds like you'll be fine! In my case, I never identified w/ mine. It always felt foreign, so good ridance! Not worthy of a "Dear John" letter.

"Well, here we are, coming to the end of our time together. In a month you'll be gone... "

I hate to nitpick, but they really aren't going anywhere. They'll be reconfigured and unrecognizable, but the raw material stays put. The gonads are the only part not used.

I'm sure you know that and you're writing metaphorically, but I think it's important for the uninitiated to have the factual information.

Good luck with this milestone.

california panda | April 29, 2011 4:45 AM

You go girl! 11 years for me. Some people never get past the physical to be able to see the metaphysical in this transformation. Several commenters here seem to have that blindspot. Never mind, it's their lives to screw up as best they see fit. I wish you all the best. And remember, life is not a destination. It's a journey. A wild, wonderful, mystical journey -- and the road is seldom what we expect it to be.

I am so happy for you Drew. I know you will be a much happier person.

What people need to understand is that everyone has to be who they are. I am FTM. I was born the opposite. I knew this at 7 years old.

Society plays a great role in judging people of diversity because they fear what they don't understand, and I believe EDUCATION can change this. As to the many negative comments here, let me educate you people. Guys, you would probably like to be with a woman with big boobs or butts, and most of them have boob/butt jobs through plastic surgery. Why do they have this, because they are unhappy with what was given them so they want more. It is usually to make themselves feel better about themselves and attract who they want to attract. Now, the issue you all see with a person changing their gender, is that they are altering or adding to genetalia. Why should that concern you? It doesn't and it shouldn't.

What you uneducated people need to understand as this is not a choice, it is an imperative. I can tell you that I would have given anything, not to have to feel this way and have to be transsexual, but it is not a choice, if your mind, body, character, personality, preferences are all the opposite gender and you don't feel right in your body of birth, then it is essential that the physical become in alignment with the rest of one's self. Who lives this life, YOU, No. The person making the choice, so it does not effect you and should only effect you if you start to have a relationship with a transsexual person,l then it would need to be discussed. There is not need to be hateful, rejecting, or violent towards transsexual people or orally abusive. You merely n eed to be educated to understand that most of us knew we were different not long after we were born.

As for me, I tried to live how society, family and friends told me I should live (by their rules of acceptance), this did not work because, I was not happy with my body, it was not in alignment with the rest of who I knew I was (male).

It is only religion that society has placed labels, rules, commandments if you will (man made) most of them, that people live by these rules. There is nothing wrong with that, but when you interfere and tell a person that they should not do something to make themselves happy, then you are not being supportive and being judgmental.

It took a long time for me to look away and say, "hey, whose life is this anyway" So I stopped living my life in denial of my identity and for other people and at the expense of some family and friends, I went ahead with my life. I am happy that I did. I am now in alignment of who I am (physically, mentally, spiritually, and all other ways).

I did not go with this because of my sexual orientation. No transsexual does. It is all a matter of outer gender identity coming in alignment with the inner. Again, it is not a matter of choice.

Transsexuals are not to be confused with cross-dressers who generally dress the opposite gender merely for pleasure and expressing the yin or yang for a short time, but are happy in the gender of their birth and sometimes they do do it for sexual pleasure. Sometimes there are also cross-dressers who do find that they are transsexual and proceed to transition and have their surgeries.

The She/Male - Is Transgendered, not transsexual. They do it for the sexual pleasure of things, yet also there may be a few in this category that have had complete surgery, and have gone on to live the full role of the gender of their identity.

Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identification are separate and not to be confused or put together. I personally believe that anyone can love anyone regardless of their gender. What typical society does is suppress this factor due to their societal upbringing or religious overtones.

This is what I do. I educate those that need to be educated in these issues of LBGT. I educate hospitals, employers, colleges/schools. I have a friend who is a college professor in one of California's finest colleges and is totally out that he is a trans man. He of course has gained tenure.

We are good solid people, who want to move on with our lives and live normal lives like everyone else. I believe god made the trees, the plants, and made us all different so that we learn to accept diversity rather than fight it.

So for those of you who wish condemn, abuse, and so forth those of us who are gender challenged or have gender identification issues, I hope that one day you will accept us for who we are. You do not have to agree with it, or open your arms in complete acceptance, all we ask is to be treated with respect, compassion and understanding. For it behooves all of us to be who we are. To suppress who you are is to suppress life, and transseuxals once we start living our lives to fullest, we become happier, more adjusted because we are no longer in conflict with ourselves. The only thing we have to worry about is uneducated, rude, abtrusive and violent people who sit in judgment of anything different.

I wish you the best Drew, I am sure you will do well. Was just trying to educate some of the readers of your post. Best of luck.

MM in Austin, TX

Mayan012 One Wonderful post very clear and insightful. I couldn't agree more with your thoughts. This truly is a metamorphosis that one goes through to get to ones true gender, it's a metaphysical journey that touches both the body and soul.

Justus Eisfeld Justus Eisfeld | April 29, 2011 6:43 AM

Thank you - what a brilliant piece! Good luck with your surgery! I felt very similar before mine, and surgery really meant a world of difference to me!

Thanks for this, Drew. Lots of us will never know what that experience is like.

Your style made me smile but your sincerity shines through the whole piece. I loved it.

I wish you a speedy recovery and a life of happiness.

Yes, I love her style, too! Sincere, but not somber. And a lot of truth in them! :)

I got style
for miles and miles.

(Sorry. Couldn't resist the Stephen Malkmus quote!)

Excellent post and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Susan I don't see you as an elitist and I fully understand were your coming from, it's been 8 years for me since I completed my Journey. I like you am post-transsexual as well having long surpassed that place in my life I'm now just a women.

David Zennaro | April 29, 2011 12:16 PM

Congratulations on a very nice description of the process. And I wish you the very best in your future endeavours.

Virtually yours,
David

Rick Sutton | April 29, 2011 12:45 PM

My trans education continues. I've never wondered about my gender, so I guess I'm lucky. Thank you for opening up to us. This is artfully written, and I'd be interested in more, as your progress continues.

Godspeed. What an awesome step. I hope you are safe and that you heal properly and quickly.

Sorry for the sidebar, but: cost? Insurance? For the more trans-educated among readers, I apologioze for the questions, but this can't be cheap.

Again, good luck. I hope to read more from you.

Cost is high. About $20,000. Prior to this I had facial surgery, which was also about $20,000. Luckily, my health insurance does cover SRS, so I'll be paying only a few hundred. They're one of only a few health insurers that cover it. CDPHP, you rock!

Wow.

One person's thoughts regarding a particular expereince that's related to one small group of the vast trans variety, and only a few people bother to congratulate her?

Drew, congrats, hon.

As for the rest, well, I've come to note that there is a higher tolerance for transphobic commentary in the comments than their used to be.

There are at least seven posts that have highly transphobic statements, that may have been allowed through because of the idea that its not transphobic if it isn't directed at people who are not transsexuals or if it comes from transsexuals.

This is in error. Transphobic comments are transphobic no matter what kind of trans person one is, and no matter who says them.

I laughed. Just how I feel and I didn't know it. Absurdist. Allegorical. Priceless. How funny, too, that like an acquaintance with whom we've spent much time, experienced much, shared much but with whom we part as life takes us separate ways, a part of them remains 'inside' of us, just like the true nature of the surgery.

My 'companion' leaves me in 6 months after 58 years. It was 'always there' whether I took notice or not. I don't know quite what to expect, I'm just certain that it will be good.

Well written! Congratulations!
Guess I'm lucky as none of the women in my life have any problems talking to me about anything having to do with womanhood! It could be your uncomfortably they are trying to respect? You will will totally look like a woman with in a short time of the operation! The only part that will be gone is the Gonads! The rest should still be attached to you! Your just going from an Outie to an Innie! If you are going through the operation, then you must be sure that you are a woman! Just be aware that nothing else with you will drastically change! You will still be you! All the problems and baggage you carry with you now, will still be with you after the operation! Congratulations again! And Great Luck!!! You should be ecstatic! Love Regina

BrandiGirl | April 29, 2011 4:56 PM

Regina I concur with you that likewise I've never had a problem with cis gender women feeling uncomfortable around me or feeling afraid to open up while I'm around in fact all of my girls friends are cis gendered women either straight or lesbian. and we've talked about everything from men to periods to great shoes sales. And I think and I hate to say it, but I feel it's really a matter of how well one passes as a women as to how comfortable other cis gendered women will feel around you. We are after all a Visual society.

Drew I wish you the best and remember when your feeling sick and in pain better days are right around the corner... congrats and well to the good side !

Well written! Congratulations!
Guess I'm lucky as none of the women in my life have any problems talking to me about anything having to do with womanhood! It could be your uncomfortably they are trying to respect? You will will totally look like a woman with in a short time of the operation! The only part that will be gone is the Gonads! The rest should still be attached to you! Your just going from an Outie to an Innie! If you are going through the operation, then you must be sure that you are a woman! Just be aware that nothing else with you will drastically change! You will still be you! All the problems and baggage you carry with you now, will still be with you after the operation! Congratulations again! And Great Luck!!! You should be ecstatic! Love Regina

SRS as much as anything is a spiritual/emotional journey... and I hope it gets you closer to where you need to be. I believe you're going to the same doctor I went to and he's wonderful... it was one of the most positive, humane even loving experiences in my transition. The most interesting part of the experience I found was, even a day or two after surgery, it was hard to remember I had ever been any other way (even with catheters coming out of me and having to do sitz bathes!)

My biggest recommendation is to walk ASAP and try to avoid pain meds to the best of your ability... I truly believe that helps you heal faster. Also, try to eat a good amount of fruit and fiber afterwards because it's very easy to be constipated post-surgery and that... just... isn't... comfortable when you have a big dilator stuck inside you.

As to what SRS does/doesn't provide, for me it was another step in a complex process. Did it eradicate all the issues I had with my body... no. It's genitals. Just because society makes genitals to be of primary importance over everything else doesn't mean I have to feel that way. But as with all other parts of transition, it's one step after another which leads to... something else to work on.

Very poignant and relatable, even for a non-op gal. Best of luck.

Congratulations and best wishes for an uneventful surgery.

Just wanted to comment, as a health care professional, re pain medicine. It has been well proven that physiologically the presence of pain delays healing. It causes increased blood pressure, stress hormones, and the production of factors in the blood that delay haling directly.

Take your pain meds! Pain control really does make a difference in healing - in a good way.

But I definitely agree with the get up and walking - the sooner the better.

CailleanMcM CailleanMcM | April 30, 2011 9:28 AM

To Drew:
Sister, my best wishes as you take this step towards the unveiling of yourself.

I rarely post anything but your essay absolutely demands that I congratulate you and send prayers and hopes for the absolute best for you.

Cai McMahon
Montreal, Class of 03

Diana Powe | April 30, 2011 3:47 PM

Brava! Brilliantly done! This is some of the best writing on the subject I've ever read and I read a lot prior to my own surgery nine years ago. Thank you, indeed, Drew.

"I can't do this anymore".

No, you can't. And you don't have to.

Drew, I wish you the very best. I dunno, for me surgery wasn't essential. I could have lived without it. Just as I could live with quadraplegia, blindness...

It wasn't necessary, even though due to the transphobic Passport Office that wouldn't issue me a passport to return home, I would have had to smuggle myself back into the country on a fishing boat or something, and was prepared to do that.

That didn't seem unreasonable at the time, just another obstacle to be overcome. I think when it gets to that stage, when you start thinking like that, "necessary" isn't nearly strong enough a term.

You're sane enough to realise that.

What you don't know, what no-one can know till you've actually experienced it, is what it feels like afterwards. Most people do, sorta, they're born with the right-shaped bodies, but I think by the time they're 2 or 3 years old, they take it for granted.

We who have never known that feeling, not once in our lives, don't. We get a gift others don't, the awareness that things are now right. Perhaps no-one can appreciate freedom unless they've endured slavery, no-one can appreciate having enough to eat unless they've endured starvation.

But those days will soon be past for you, history, getting blurrier and blurrier as the days go by, till they're not even nightmares any more, they're something that feels as if it must have happened to someone else.

I don't have the words. I don't have to, you'll experience it yourself. Happiness. You'll know what it means.

Caroline | May 1, 2011 5:07 AM

Excellent post, typically drawing the usual rash of uneducated commentary. Try as hard as we can to give a first hand report from the battlefield there will always be some fools shouting that there is no war!

What a gift to be born with a congruent mind and body. Why on earth do so many refuse to understand the horror of living without that congruence.

So many points which coincide with my experience and countless others, too many to be denighed!