24 April 2007

don't ask me about my friend--it's really not your business

"When I started meeting regularly with Christina [a transgender teenager]] and therefore talking about her to non-transsexual friends, they would often ask, “So, has she had the surgery?” This is a very personal question and not my place to answer—as I don’t make it my business to talk about anyone’s genitalia without their permission. Still, it’s an understandable question. Everything in our culture pushes us to be “completely” male or female. It’s in the language: a transsexual is either “pre-op” or “post-op”—the “operative” being presumed and nonnegotiable. But contrary to mainstream imagination, there isn’t one way to be a transsexual—there isn’t a fixed trail of body modifications you undergo, leading to the genital surgery. Rather, there’s a range of physical alterations you can make, depending on your financial situation, how permanent or temporary you want the change to be, your patience with the lengthy process, your tolerance for risk, and what you want to look like in the end."

Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by Cris Beam

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