This is not going to be a popular post because it speaks to something of a divisive issue within the Transgender community.
I was recently engaged in a discussion regarding SRS and non-op status. Now, allow me to preface this Ayn Rant by saying that whatever a person decides to do with their life and their body is entirely their choice and is to be respected so long as they are happy with themselves and their choices and aren’t hurting anyone. I would also like to establish some “pool rules”:
Having said that, now I’d like to begin.
For those who are unfamiliar with me, I am a semanticist. I believe that words and definitions are important and have meaning, so I’m going to define some of my terms and cite my sources. A transsexual is defined, medically, as a person who psychologically identifies with the opposite sex and may seek to live as a member of this sex especially by undergoing surgery and hormone therapy to obtain the necessary physical appearance (as by changing the external sex organs)(x)(x). Someone who is transgender is a person (as a transsexual or a transvestite) who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth(x)(x).
I bring up these definitions because it’s relevant to one of the matters I’m about to speak on. I was in a chat room recently when a young trans woman polled for information regarding Orchiectomy, the conversation (beginning with my input) went something like this:
[Me]: ”I was always too scared to get an orchi, because most surgeons that I looked at wouldn’t do an SRS if I had an orchi.”
[Them]: ”I don’t want SRS.”
[Me]: “O_o wat?”
[Them]: ” >:| I. Don’t. Want. SRS. Deal with it.”
[Me]: “This is always the divisive issue for me. I understand the financial hurdle or if there are medical complications prohibiting someone from undergoing SRS, but if you sincerely have no desire to anatomically change… I don’t get the point?”
[Them]: “I’m not trans enough, is that it? I like my girlcock”
[Other_Person]: “Lots of us don’t want SRS.”
As I stated above, whatever someone chooses to do with their life and within their transition is entirely up to them. They are perfectly entitled to those life choices and their gender identity is valid and deserves to be respected. Transgender women who choose not to undergo sexual reassignment surgery are still women and are a welcomed part of the Transgender community.
… but you aren’t Transsexuals. In the medical sense, in every literal, technical, and tautological way possible you don’t fit the definition. It’s sort of like in geometry there’s a difference between a square and a rectangle: a square qualifies as both a square and a rectangle (in the same way that Transsexuals are both Transsexual and Transgender) but a rectangle is not a square. I don’t say that to create a flame war (even though I’m sure that’s how it will be perceived by some), nor do I say that to imply one path is superior to another. Again, this isn’t about making judgments or asserting that one is more preferable or correct than another.
So why bother with the distinction? What’s the point of differentiating between the two? Because it matters when you’re dealing with the arduous and seemingly impossible task of educating people and engendering sympathy for your cause.
I’m a proponent of equality and civil rights for ALL people, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, sex, religion, etc. I think Transgender individuals deserve the same rights and protections as other minorities. But my personal battle, the one which is seemingly the most impossible, is the matter of Transsexual suffrage. Society, by and large, does not view Transsexuals as “real” women. That view comes largely from ignorance and misinformation. Ever since the late 1980s other members of the Transgender population were paraded in front of a national audience on tawdry talk shows and masqueraded as Transsexuals. The kinds of individuals include but are not limited to: cross dressers, transvestites, and drag queens. These individuals, while Transgender, misrepresented the Transsexual community and served to forever stigmatize the word to the point that the knee-jerk reaction for most people otherwise unversed in such matters is to see us as “icky”, “weird”, “third-sexed”, “shemales”, or “others”.
We are none of the above. Nor are Transgender people, for that matter. But to return to my mathematical analogy, much like the PEMDAS acronym there is an order of operations and similar to the way that the Women’s suffrage movement understood that it needed to belay its campaign until the Black suffrage movement could be established, and in turn the Trannsexual suffrage movement had to belay its campaign until Gay & Lesbian rights could be established, thus this too is the next logical operation in that queue.
I’m quite sure that people will look upon my attitude and sentiments and look for hypocrisy and hatred in my words. My revolution is born out of my transhumanist love for all people, not hatred for others. But please, if you are one of those individuals who choose to be non-operative because you are perfectly happy and content with your external genitalia (as opposed to those who desire Sexual Reassignment Surgery but are unable to undergo surgical transition because of financial limitations or medical complications or pre-operative transsexuals who have not yet undergone sexual reassignment surgery), stop claiming to be Transsexual. I implore you. You’re only serving to disseminate misinformation and are miseducating the people who need education the most, further setting back the civil rights movements which will eventually help make life better for us all.
I wanted to discuss another topic which equally galvanizes the Transgender community, but this has already become quite the formidable wall of text. Maybe if I don’t get flamed into oblivion I’ll address that matter in another post.