Warning: Don’t watch if you are squeamish about surgeries or genital talks.
I had a bunch of questions to my surgeon about my upcoming surgery. Some call it SRS (sexual reassignment surgery), or GCS (gender corrective surgery), but I just call it surgery.
I ramble on about stuff at first, the questions (and answers) start at 5:24
[5:56] Question 1: What is the approximate vaginal depth I can reach?
[8:38] Question 2: How soon after surgery can I have vaginal intercourse?
[9:18] Question 3: How soon after surgery can I have anal intercourse?
[10:26] Question 4: Dilating. How often, and when can I stop doing it (especially when sexually active)?
[12:00] Question 5: Will I have a sensitive clitoris?
[13:04] Question 6: Labiaplasty. Done together with vaginoplasty?
[13:54] Question 7: Second (cosmetic) operation cover by insurance?
[15:30] Question 8: How identical will it be to a natal women’s vagina?
[20:54] Question 9: What are my chances of complications? What are they?
[23:46] Question 10: Am I too small statures for a deep vagina? Is my pelvic size an issue?
[24:30] Question 11: My BMI is 18. Which is only a little below normal. Is this an issue? My weight has been stable around 41.5kg.
[26:11] Question 12: Which areas would I still need to get lasered before surgery?
Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance in Amsterdam. The official day is today but it was held yesterday in order to get noticed as much as possible. Which is still needed. A big part of this day is remembering the dead but it’s also to make the people more aware of us and especially the lack of rights we have all over the world.
People were to meet at the COC in Amsterdam at 3pm and at 4pm we were to leave to a memorial monument. Everyone who wanted to could grab a white helium-filled balloon that had a string with a tag attached. On those tags were the names of the transgender people that were murdered in the past year, their place of birth, their age, and their cause of death… If known, as not always all data was properly reported.
The deaths were often brutal. The ‘mildest’ ones were where people were shot in the head, but others died from multiple stab wounds, being burned alive, dismembered, decapitated, ran over and smashed with a block of concrete. It’s pretty horrific to realize that every other day this still happens somewhere in the world, and those are only the ones we know of. It’s a frightening thought. While I realize I live in one of the safer parts of the world (there are no reported trans hate crimes in The Netherlands since 2007) it is still a thought that lingers in the back of my head.
Once everyone had arrived at the monument there were several speeches held by people invested in the trans community. There was someone from the city council, the leader from the trans rights movement in the Philippines, and more but I cannot really remember who they all were right now but their words affected me greatly. A point was made to tell everyone to please become more visible to make people know we exist and deserve the same rights as any other individual. I cried during most of this which only got worse when the part was reached where everyone would go to the microphone, one by one, recite the information of the victim listed on the tag of their balloon, and let it go into the air. There were a lot of them. Too many. And as was made clear, they weren’t even from all the victims of the past year, that number is even greater.
The sadness was overwhelming but I’m still glad I went. I’m also glad my boyfriend was with me because there is no way I could have gone through all of this on my own. It definitely left an impact.
Three years ago today I stopped living a lie.
Three years ago today I started becoming who I really am.
Three years ago today I started transitioning from male to female.
It was exciting to finally realize the cause of my misery. For decades I had seen therapists, psychiatrists, doctors; none of them ever even hinted at gender identity disorder. No one saw it, despite the fact it seems so obvious now looking back.
Once the initial excitement wore off it was replaced with fear. “Now what? How the hell am I gonna do this? Just get some female clothes and start going out? It can’t really be that simple, can it?”
“Oh my God how am I going to tell my family? And what will people think? Am I gonna have to live a life of constant public humiliation?” Those were the kind of thoughts that were constantly in my mind.
Despite all these fears it was only two weeks later that I bought female clothes for the first time and told my parents about my plans to transition. And only two weeks after that I went out in public for the first time; to go to my first therapy session.
A week after that everyone knew, both on and offline. And only a week after that, seven weeks after I started transition, I went full time. I was determined to make this happen. There was not a single doubt in my mind that I had to do this in order to survive. To finally be happy with myself.
Then came hell. Months of agony as I was put on the excruciatingly long waiting list at the hospital in order to be able to even start the first part of the entire process: diagnosis. Add in the fact that in the meantime I was also going through a messy divorce and my life was far from the bliss and happiness that I was aiming for.
Fifteen months had passed before I was finally able to start the diagnosis process. For people to tell me what I already knew. That I was born in the wrong body. This entire process took ten months to complete. And it wasn’t for another month until I was able to start hormone replacement therapy. Well over two years from when I first started transition.
I’ve been on hormones for almost ten months now and soon I’ll be put on yet another waiting list which will likely take another year. This time for surgery. Some call it sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), others call it gender confirming surgery (GCS), and there are many other acronyms for the exact same procedure but I just call it surgery. It is the only one I am truly planning on getting.
By the time I’ll be done with the entire process it will have been well over four years. Still I am not one that considers surgery to be the ‘be all end all’ of my transition. In fact, in my opinion I already completed my transition well over a year ago. I have already been living the life of a girl, of my new self, for all this time and surgery will not change how I view myself.
I have a wonderful boyfriend, accepting parents, good friends, life is pretty damn good right now and it only seems to be getting better and better each day. :)
When I told my mom my plans to transition from male to female she was of course very scared. Scared that this would turn out to be a ‘phase’, for one, but also scared that I would be bullied, beaten up, or worse. While I’m lucky to live in a country that’s pretty tolerant about these things it’s not like it doesn’t happen at all so I could understand her concerns.
I also could not have done this at a worse time for her. She had only recently lost her other son, my older brother, and now she was to lose the last one she still had. That was not an easy thing for her to come to terms with.
Once the initial shock wore off it slowly started getting better, although she still had a lot of trouble with using the proper pronouns and calling me by my new name. Over time that got a lot better. She now calls me Julie and refers to me as her daughter which makes me very, very happy! :)
Then when I started to date a lot she was also scared a bit. Considering I tend to hook up with guys really fast I can understand her fear of me potentially meeting the wrong guy and it go horrible wrong, or even violent. Hell, the last guy I met up with I had only talked to for a few hours the night before. So I can definitely understand it but it’s how I choose to do things.
Doing that had the nice bonus of finding my boyfriend though, along with meeting some nice friends along the way. :) Of course I went non-monogamous with my boyfriend after a while which is something my mom didn’t quite understand at first. If I loved him so much, why would I want to see other people? But that’s just how I prefer to live my life and while it is nothing she could ever do herself, she doesn’t judge or condemn me for it.
When someone criticizes me, she defends me. When I need her help, she stands by me. When I need to talk, she is there for me. She has always stood by me even when things were rough, she didn’t disown me, she never stopped loving me.
Thank you, mom. You’re the best and I love you. :)