Sunday, July 20, 2008


It's two years minus six weeks since I had chest surgery. I remembered because I had to have my deposit in by July 19th, which was six weeks before my surgery date, and which also happens to be my partner's birthday, so the six week mark stuck in my head.

I've been walking around shirtless a lot this weekend, mostly because it's been hotter than an overdone porkchop here in NYC, with fiendish humidity, and so I'm walking around as nakedly as possible. I've mostly gotten to the point where taking off my shirt no longer produces a little thrill of excitement every time I do it- for most of my first year post surgery, it was still so novel and exciting and satisfying just to know that I COULD take my shirt off at any point. But now I don't think about it as much, I just take my shirt off when I'm too warm.

But! This weekend I've been shirtless in two (rather diametrically opposed, actually) interesting situations that have given rise to the following thoughts.

First, yesterday my sister and I went to Coney Island for the second year in a row to see the AVP Tour and see some amazing professional volleyball. It was great, and just as much fun as it was last year, but being around all of those incredibly chiseled folks can give a guy a complex! It reminded me of the various body processing I've been doing on this blog recently, about my hourglass shape and how I'm not so fond of it, partly because (like most guys in our body-obsessed culture) I want that Adonis ideal V-shape with broad shoulders and a narrow waist (and no hips!) and partly because those flaring hips and narrow/high waist seem like blinking neon "girl" markers to me, problematic though that sentiment is.

I felt like the scrawniest guy there, and not just compared to the super buff players. A big percentage of the audience looked like they played some kind of regular sport, and had the physiques to prove it. More than 2/3 of the guys there were walking around just in their swim trunks- we were at the beach, after all- but I kept my shirt on not just to protect me from the sun, but also because I was suddenly shyer than I've been in months about my hips, my lacking muscles, my sparse chest hair.

Not once has a stranger ever asked me about the scars on my chest, but I found myself rehearsing my favorite potential excuses: Shark attack! No, seriously, I fell off a boat and got tangled in the propeller. No, no, just kidding, just some surgery.

Anyway, later in the day I shed my inhibitions and bright pink (I'm not THAT insecure in my masculinity!) tank top to go jump in the ocean when the heat got too bad, but I kept trying to imagine how others were seeing me or noticing, and I kept looking for, and not finding, guys with bodies that looked like mine.

Later, on the way to the subway, I walked further down the boardwalk and suddenly found myself amidst TONS of guys who looked much like me: pasty pale (actually, I don't mind my 'library tan'- skin cancer is scary stuff!), kinda short, thin arms and potbellies, no muscle definition.

I almost laughed out loud when I realized that duh, Eli, naturally the audience at a professional sporting event is going to be filled with a greater than usual percentage of jocks and athletically-bodied folks. I'd been feeling bad about myself in comparison to everyone around me, but it was a skewed sample! There ARE in fact plenty of non-trans guys in the world whose arms have no visible muscle definition!

(Of course, my next thought was 'Why are all these hipsters at the beach?? Until I remembered the the Village Voice's music festival was that day.)

And then today I looked at the pictures we uploaded, and saw this one Kate took of me just before I dashed down to the ocean, while we were waiting for the men's semi-finals to start.

And of course, I look just fine. I remember distinctly walking down the stairs, thinking morosely 'everyone here looks bigger/buffer/manlier than me and my distinctly female-looking body.' Of course, I was trying NOT to think like that, but I remember being so conscious of that little part of my torso where my hips flare out a bit in contrast to my high-ish waist, and discreetly checking out every other guy I passed to see if his waist nipped/flared like that, which of course no one's did.

But, looking at the photo, I realize that you can't even see, it's not that obvious, etc, etc, I look fine and nothing like what my head was telling me I looked like. Body dysphoria, so strange!

Anyway, after that little interlude, I'm back to feeling tip top about my chest, and happier than ever that I made that decision two years ago to go to Dr. Brownstein.

Which leads me to the second situation I'd mentioned, which is that a friend of my sister is staying with us this weekend, and so we've been all hanging out, slumber party style.

Normally, especially during the kind of despicably hot weather we've been having, I go about shirtless in the house quite a bit. Often as soon as I get home, I lose my shoes and shirt; it's fine when it's just family, of course, but I don't really know the protocol yet for guys on shirtlessness around friends vs. acquaintances vs. strangers.

I mean, clearly, at the beach or the pool, it's fine. Pride parades, pickup basketball games, moving heavy furniture, doing lawn work, also fine. I'm not so sure about the guys I see just walking down the street or hanging out on the corner with no shirt on- seems fairly inappropriate to me, and rather unfair since women can't walk around topless without attracting much (probably unwanted) attention and/or indecency citations. And what about at the park, playing frisbee, or just lounging on a blanket?

And then I'm really not sure what's appropriate when in one's home, with friends over. I mean, I guess it depends on the closeness- acquaintances or whatnot it wouldn't be appropriate for. But how about with semi close friends? I guess I should just use the yardstick of what would or wouldn't weird me out if I went over to someone else's house- and in fact, I remember Rochelle and I going for dinner at her cousin's place on a hot night, and her cousin's boyfriend was shirtless, and stayed so for the entire evening. I would've put a shirt on had I been in his situation, but since he didn't, I guess it's considered acceptable.

Annnyway, I say all this because it's my habit to generally err on the side of politeness, and put a shirt on if anyone who's not my immediate family or girlfriend is around. But! This weekend, while our friend has been visiting, I've been walking around shirtless as per normal, which is to say, more than I usually would in front of a houseguest. But! Our houseguest was a transguy, and he hasn't had chest surgery yet, so I thought it might be okay/a good thing to relax my shirt rules.

Before I had surgery, I relished every opportunity I could get to see guys who'd already had surgery. I wanted to see scars and nipple placement and everything, and i wanted proof of guys living happily and nonchalantly in their own skins, post-surgery. I thought my buddy might be of the same mind, and glad of a chance to observe my doctored body, or at least, not mind observing it.

Though, it just occurs to me, maybe I was totally insensitive to parade about in my happily flat chest in front of someone who (as far as I know) is unhappy with his chest and pursing surgery. I remember just before leaving for San Francisco two years ago I was out with a bunch of guys after Group (the transmasculine support group at the lgbt center) and I mentioned that I was leaving for surgery the following week. One guy said something like "Oh, you lucky bastard, I hate you! Watch out when you get back, I might punch you."

Clearly joking, of course, but there was a definitely audible undercurrent of seriousness/jealousy that made me quite uncomfortable. It's hard to want something very badly and not be able to get it, but be around others who can. I hope I didn't bring up any such hard feelings for my friend this weekend with my casual semi-nudity.

Friday, July 18, 2008


My mom told me I had to post this picture on my blog, even though it's slightly blurry, because it makes me "look like a Chippendale!"

Have I mentioned enough times yet how nice it is to inhabit a body that I can be proud of, that I can joke around about rather than feel anguished (or at least embarrassed) about? I've mentioned before that I've got body issues that will never entirely go away- being a transsexual seems to be a chronic condition, though the 'symptoms' change over time- but heck, I am so grateful to have the majority of my dysphoria alleviated that I can cope rather well with the left over bits.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

thoughts and recommendations

Okay, I have to say that it is a delight to be receiving so many comments, but I am not exactly used to being so highly trafficked, and if it seems like I'm not really at the top of my Answer Every Comment game, well, it's because I'm not. So hi to all you new readers (or old readers who decided to start commenting) and thanks for your comments. I will try to reply/get back to you all, but sometimes I won't have the time or whatnot, but it doesn't mean I don't appreciate your feedback. I do!

Although it's a bit odd to see so many comments, since I still regard this thing as a mostly private space in which I record my thoughts, document my transition, and try to reason out the various gender related thoughts that otherwise would just stew unexamined in my head. I started giving the address to friends and family so they could 'follow along at home' and/or learn a bit more about transgender issues (or at least my viewpoint on such) without having to muster up the mustard to actually ask me various potentially irritating questions. But through various linking, on my own part and others, it seems like there is now a wider readership, to which I say welcome.

I know that when I was first exploring my gender identity, I spent a lot of time on the Internet following links, checking Transster, reading Transition Webpages, that sort of thing. It was super helpful to get a sense of what other guys had gone through (for obvious reasons, I mostly checked out FTM sites), and while I don't consider this a Transition Webpage in quite the same way, since it's mostly my musings and ramblings rather than clearly organized information (like this excellent and comprehensive website) or even thorough and easy to navigate transition photos/voice clips/etc (like KP's late, great, lamented but hopefully returning someday website).
Anyway, all that to lead into this, which is that someone commented a while back asking for book recommendations, and I've had a post saved in my Drafts folder since May of '07 about book recommendations, so here are some of my reviews of various trans related books (I'm linking the titles when I can to, my favorite hometown independent bookstore). I'd love to see further thoughts on these books and/or additional recommendations in the comments.

*Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano. As I've mentioned many times before, this is an excellent and insightful read about transsexuality and feminism. Plenty of great theory and ideas in here, in accessible and sensible language, but it may be a bit much for someone with NO background in trans terminology/etc.

*Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein. Kate Bornstein is my favorite and most authentic New York celebrity sighting- I was walking down Avenue A with my partner when we saw her walk past with some friends, looking fabulous in big- possibly leopard print? my memory is starting to fail me- sunglasses. Our jaws dropped and we turned to each other and said "Was that...?"
"Yes, it totally was!"
"Should we follow her??"

Fortunately we came to our senses and didn't stalk her through Alphabet City, but it was a fun moment.

Anyway, her book is awesome- it's got personal narrative in it, but also a lot of fresh and important insights about rejecting and resisting the Gender Police. As I recall, she's a playwright as well, and the book includes one of her plays at the end, as well, but I wasn't so excited about it. At least, I don't remember much about it. Anyway, a good read for a beginner, with plenty of focus on transgender and genderqueer issues.

*Becoming a visible man, by Jamison Green. This book was involved in one of my own personal a-ha moments. I vividly remember reading it on a bus in Portland, and thinking to myself "You're going to have to deal with this someday."

It's another great mixture of personal narrative with insight and exposition on Trans 101. His story is fairly classic- he transitioned from a lesbian identity in his late-ish 30s- but his prose is very engaging, and he's an outstanding activist who has done a lot of work on behalf of FTMs, through FTMI and other organizations.

*There are a few other books (Just add hormones, The Testosterone Files, and Both Sides Now) of a similar nature to Jamison's, that I remember reading and mostly enjoying but now (embarrassingly, perhaps) can't really tell apart in my memory. They all involve FTM guys who transitioned in their 30s-early 40s, and are mostly personal narrative. Which is great, and certainly helpful to try to get a broader understanding of different unique experiences, but don't make me inclined to re-read them. I will say that I found Testosterone Files to have some sexist stuff in it that I wasn't really a fan of , along the lines of "testosterone made me stare at boobs!" Sure, testosterone will change the quality and/or quality of one's sex drive, but that's no excuse for misogyny. But again, it's been a while since I read it, so I can't expound much further on that critique.

*Conundrum and Pleasures of a tangled life, by Jan Morris. A classic in MTF literature! I just love the way she writes, and the second book is actually a book of essays on a variety of topics, not just her transition. My mom loved her writing, too, and had both of those books on the shelf at home, and I read them when I was a young dyke and again with more resonance as I began considering transition. Conundrum is dated, of course (first published in 1976! with such a 70s cover, too! that's the edition we had at home.) and I remember being worried for a bit when first considering transition because I didn't have some of the "classic transsexual" hallmarks that Jan wrote so beautifully about, like knowing myself to be in the wrong body from a very early age. Still, it's an excellent classic and I definitely recommend it, if only for her beautiful way with words.

*What becomes you, by Aaron Raz Link and Hilda Raz. I enjoyed this book mostly because of the fact that it was co-written by this guy and his mother, a format I enjoyed and may someday utilize myself in the still-in-planning-stages memoir my sister and I are talking about. I actually enjoyed the mother's bits more than Aaron's because his sections, while beautiful in a lyrical way, could have seriously used an editor. So it's another interesting personal narrative, but I like it best for the fact that it's got his mother's viewpoints included as well.

*The First Man-Made Man, by Pagan Kennedy. I found this to be a fascinating bit of historical science writing and biography, and I was impressed with Michael Dillon's strength of character even as I found him to be a bit of a dislikeable chap. But hey, it's hard to put energy into being pleasant when every day is a struggle for survival, and I can't imagine how hard his life was. I don't remember whether the biographer was good/respectful about pronouns or not (often a concern with non-trans authors writing about trans stuff) but I think it was fine.

Oh, and there are many many more, some of which can be found on this 'aisle' at Powell's.

I wish I had more time, I'd keep writing more, but it's back to work for me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these books and others!

Monday, July 14, 2008

trying not to sweat the small stuff

I just got a rejection letter for a job that I'd applied for and been genuinely excited and hopeful about- interesting field, new step for me, I've the relevant experience that made me expect to get an interview, etc. I'm naturally bummed about it, but what takes it just that one step beyond is the niggling worry that possibly, just possibly, I didn't get an interview because I outed myself as trans in my application.

Now, I realize that this thinking is way paranoid. It's entirely conceivable that my 'outing' myself from my perspective didn't even register for a non-trans-conscious HR person. Wanting to demonstrate my history of activism and workshop leadership skills, I put down TransMasculine Community Network: Member and National Trans Health Conference: Workshop Organizer on my resume. To me, and most GLBT-savvy folks, that screams "Trans guy!"

But since I also mentioned Gay-Straight Alliance: Founder, I suppose it's possible they could've just thought me regular old gay, and just super involved on behalf of all the letters of the GLBT community. And honestly, there ARE non-trans folks who are members of the TMC Network, and who presented at the Trans Health Conference.

Not to mention the fact that it's a bit much to jump to the conclusion that I didn't get an interview because the search committee didn't want to deal with a possibly Scary Tranny (my "passing" privilege or cissexual privilege -aka the fact that I am consistently perceived as male- doesn't come through on paper). It's most likely that the committee just had a bevy of qualified applicants, and picked the ones that had more experience or whatnot- and in this sketchy economy, I'm sure there's a glut of good applicants for every reasonably interesting job.

Still, I count it as one more tiny piece of transsexual baggage that I'm always going to have the voice in my head that worries about whether my transsexuality (or even just my commitment to trans equality) was perceived and held against me.

It reminds me of an interesting conversation I observed recently about trans guys and body image issues. For many of us, we've got the same ol' body image issues as most guys have (hairline receding! gut! scrawny arms and legs! ack!), but there's a deeper underlying issue of dysphore for us that nurtures and goads those issues.

Sure, almost everyone looks in the mirror and finds something to take issue with. But most guys don't look in the mirror and see flaws that bring up the specter of (in my case) femaleness- not to put too melodramatic a point on it! But seriously, my angst about my love handles isn't just run of the mill love-handle-phobia, but is actually fairly inextricably layered with my angst about those love handles also accentuating my wide ("feminine/female") hips- another reminder of a body that I've had to wrestle with for years, and another point used against me for years when strangers looked for cues as to my gender and usually found those 'female' secondary sex characteristics pointing them in the wrong direction- much to my dismay, embarrassment, frustration, etc.

So, while sometimes a love handle is just a frustrating component of my summer beach body, sometimes it inexorably brings up bigger, more upsetting issues, and oh man, what'd I give for some old fashioned non-gender-dysphoria related body issues.


Last but not least, I come to my other salt-in-the-wound trans moment of the day, which was that a coworker called to say she'd be late because she was held up at the Red Cross Blood Drive, waiting in line to give blood. Darn it, I wish I could still give blood! I really believe in it as an important civic contribution, and I'm not really convinced that the reasons given to me by the NY Blood Center as to why I should not give blood are valid. It's possible when I leave NYC I may try to donate again, since not all blood centers in the US have the same rules about differentiating between male and female plasma, but the guy told me I'd been put on a "permanently deferred donor" list for New York, and I suspect that those lists are shared nationwide via social security number or some such.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

to infinity, and beyond!

Well, not really. That's me on the Staten Island Ferry, and I thought it a nice illustration. In about 8 hours, I'm hitting the road with my sister to head home for a week, to Portland. I'm super excited, of course, but as always I'm feeling a little irrational nervousness about whether I'm quite up to snuff.

There's no place like home, and sometimes no place that feels quite as judgemental. This is almost entirely in my head, of course, but I feel more of a need to prove myself (as happy, as successful, as unquestionably male) when I go home, probably because I know that it's the people at home who have the strongest memories of me as female.

It's my hope that those memories are fading, as they are in myself and the folks I interact with every day. More and more, it's starting to seem strange that I was ever not male. But my extended family I only see twice a year or so, and it probably takes longer for these sorts of things to sink in. So I always want to make sure that my stubble is even and my hips are slim and my voice is uncracked, just to nicely remind everyone that my reality now still trumps the 20 years of memories that may or may not still be bubbling up in people's minds, much to my discomfort.

I'm much better about this now than I used to be, of course, when I was still quite uncertain about my masculinity, used to having to defend it vigorously at every turn. No longer!

Now it just remains to be determined how folks will react to my latest look- Mr. Bleach Blonde Goatee Man, as Rochelle calls me. I haven't done anything this goofy to my hair in a while; I used to be real crazy in college, always dying my hair different colors, shaving it into mohawks, etc. But I straightened up upon graduation, and I hadn't done much in a while. Part of that was my post-college concern about entering the workforce and looking respectable and employable, blah blah.

But I know there was gendered reasoning behind my conventional haircuts, too. I wanted to be consistently read as male by strangers, and I found it easier to make that happen with a preppy/conservative traditional haircut than with a purple/blue mohawk. Before my physical transition, I felt like I had so much less room to maneuver, because my masculinity was not being appropriate perceived by the world. My 'natural' masculine inclinations in combination with my perceived-female body when taken together weren't enough to convince people that I'm a guy.

This wasn't fair, of course- none of us should have to work to be 'convincing' versions of ourselves, or have to withstand interrogation about our genders. That is (or ought to be!) the first goal of the gender revolution, if you ask me.

And it's also not the (only) reason that I pursued physical transition. Yes, I know transition was the right decision for me because now I'm recognized as male on the street, and I recognize myself as male when I look in the mirror. It probably would've been a more complicated decision making process for me about starting T, etc, if I'd been accepted as male unquestioningly from the moment I declared myself so....I wouldn't have felt such urgency around obtaining the necessary medical care to 'fix' myself. But even in such a thought experiment, I feel strongly that I'd have pursued transition, if for no other reason than the subtle rightness that I didn't even realize was missing from my life.

That's a sort of woo-woo statement, I realize.

But someone once said that for trans folks, the proof is in the pudding: the only way to figure out if someone is a transsexual or not is for them to transition, and if it relieves their dysphoria and angst then hey, they must be trans! It's a somewhat silly statement that has weird and slightly uncomfortable echoes of "if she sinks, she's innocent, if she floats, she's a witch!", but it has rung so true for me. I know I'm trans because transitioning has lightened my shoulders even as it has introduced myriad complications (emotional, medical, financial, blah, blah) into my life.

All this to say that the novelty of going home as a man has not worn off, and I'm looking forward to going home in a body that feels more like home each day.

yeah, where IS that respect?

Another article about Mr. Beattie, famous pregnant man, also quoting Judith Halberstam, but in a much more appropriate fashion!

First, it mentions that Mr. Beattie is scheduled for his C-section today, and I am keeping him in my thoughts and hoping that everything goes perfectly smoothly. He and his wife have been through a lot, and I hope very much that this birth process is easy-peasy.

Anyway. I'm pleased to see an article addressing the uncomfortable aspects of this story, and in some small way taking the media to task for the shameless gawking and vouyeurism that has surrounded the various stories that have been done.

A good read.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Another weekend, another irritating article in the Sunday Style Section

Is it just me, or has the pendulum swung back a bit in terms of media coverage and trans folks, such that nowadays, it's transmasculine people who are all over the popular media, rather than being a sidebar to all the articles about trans women?

In the last year alone, there have been various in-depth features in the NY Times (usually in the Sunday Styles or the Magazine). Maybe I've missed out on others- the NY Times is the only newspaper I consistently read, so maybe it's just some NYT staffers who have a personal transman fascination. (Although looking on their website for stories tagged with "transsexuals" it seems that there are plenty of stories about transwomen, too, so maybe it is just my own perception.)

Anyway, the latest was published this past Sunday. [n.b: since I've procrastinated for so long on finishing this post, the actual irritating article which inspired it is now two weekends old, and I was pleased to see that there were no stories (irritating or otherwise) about trans folks in this weekend's paper] It's riding the coattails of the media circus about Mr. Pregnant Man, that went on back in early April.

I just gotta say, I am so sick and tired of getting a sinking feeling in my stomach when I see a trans-related headline in the newspaper. The stories are always disrespectful, always uncomfortable, even when the author is trying hard not to be...and at least some of them are trying now! Reading through that NYT archive of trans related stories makes it clear that here has been at least some progress. Authors consistently use the right pronouns and names now, even if they do often sneak in gratuitous references to the person's "old" name. (Though it's interesting to note that trans folks aren't the only minority group that is consistently disrespected in print in such a fashion!)

This most recent article is a study in ups and downs. I'll say first, albeit grudgingly, that it's not as bad as it could be. The author consistently uses the right name and pronouns for Mr. Beattie, never refers to him

But first, there's the title. "He's Pregnant. You're speechless."

Well, no, actually, I'm not. I realize that the title is pandering to the majority of readers of the Times, who probably are unfamiliar with the notion of male pregnancy, but wow, way to make assumptions about your audience and render invisible those of us who are not, say, we men who are also capable of or considering becoming pregnant. There are plenty of us (trans and non-trans) who read the Times and are rendered speechless not by Mr. Beattie, but by the gauche articles like this which acknowledge the fact that "anatomy does not define woman or man" and then turn around and spend a paragraph discussing in minute detail Mr. Beattie's genitals.

Which is, of course, my main frustration with this piece. How on earth can you include such a great quote from Prof. Sedgwick, pointing out that gender identity does NOT hinge around the state one's genitals, and then go on to splash private details about this guy's dick across the New York freakin' Times? Since you've just quoted an expert telling you that trans people prefer NOT to be defined by their genitalia, how can you not see how disrespectful it is to spend the next paragraph discussing said junk?

Not only is it a gross invasion of privacy to once again reduce this trans person to being only as important as what he's got in his pants, it's insanely rude and disrespectful to say something like "Mr. Beattie does not have a penis."

He may not have a penis that looks like yours, Guy (although whoops, there I go, assuming what's in your pants. Too bad nobody has written in a national newspaper about the size and shape of YOUR dick, Guy, or else I'd be able to quote my sources!), but that doesn't give you the right to make pronouncements about his genitals...pronouncements, furthermore, that anyone who reads this article is going to generalize to apply to other trans men. I don't need people speculating about whether I've had surgery, and whether my junk "mimics" a phallus or not. (Do I even need to go into why it's offensive to tell a man that his genitals "mimic" a penis?)There are enough people projecting their values and judgments onto my body without you fanning the flames, buddy.

Also, using the phrase "more radical surgeries" to describe having a hysterectomy? What possible good does it do to refer to getting a hysterectomy as a "radical" step, besides furthering inflaming the reaction of nervous or confused parents and friends of trans people? More than 600,000 hysterectomies are performed in the United States every year, but if a trans guy wants to have one, all of a sudden it's a 'radical' step? Let's try to keep the melodrama to a minimum, please. I don't need more drama surrounding my already fraught personal medical decisions.

And then, to ice the cake, the author goes on to quote Judith Halberstam on the matter of trans men obtaining lower surgery. Seriously? I'm frustrated that once again, a non-trans person (who has, from what I know, a rather contentious relationship with trans issues) is called in as the expert to make a pronouncement about what transmen do or do not want to do about their genitals.

To her credit, I appreciate that what she's trying to do is further the notion that there isn't one universal notion of a sex change. Not all of us who were born female but identify as male are seeking the same set of medical options- some of us want lower surgery, some don't. Some of us want to keep our reproductive function, some of us want to remove those organs as quickly as possible.

What makes this a one step forward, two steps back situation is the way in which she tries to accomplish this. And again, trying to be fair, she's not the only person who does this. The narrative of the "too expensive/unsuccessful bottom surgery" for trans guys is well-perpetuated, but it's a frustrating myth, and I'd rather not see it perpetuated in print by people who are quoted presumably because they're experts in the matter.

It's true that there is no one "sex change operation" (ugh, I dislike even using that term) that is universally sought after by trans guys. It's very important to recognize that not everyone wants lower surgery of any kind, and that it's perfectly valid NOT to pursue it.

And yes, like most gender-confirming surgeries for trans folks, lower surgery is often very expensive, not covered by insurance, and is not going to give you a body exactly the ones inside Playboy or Playgirl. It'd be nice if there were a "snap your fingers and have the body of your dreams!" operation...but if there were, trans people wouldn't be the only ones lining up to take advantage.

What needs to stop happening is the establishing of an inferiority complex for trans bodies (whether or not they've had surgeries) when compared to non-trans body. My body may be different than a non-trans (or cissexual) man's body, but that doesn't make it less valid as a man's body.

Furthermore, should I choose to pursue bottom surgery, I'll do it having fully weighed my options and deciding for myself what I do and do not want; I don't need folks like Halberstam saying "Oh, trans guys don't want lower surgery because they don't want small dicks!"

There are a lot of guys who are actively pursuing bottom surgery (which, btw, is not a monolithic category, comprising as it does a variety of options and procedures, all of which are being perfected and expanded upon by surgeons around the world), and it does a disservice to them to say things like that. It does a HUGE disservice to the guys who have already had lower surgery, who made the best choice for themselves and are very happy with their results.

And all of this just goes on top of my general irritation that genitals have to be present in the article at all. Because, naturally, you can't have a feature about trans folks without talking about their genitals! But besides the fact that (like most folks, I imagine!) I don't want my genitals talked about in a national newspaper, I've got a complicated relationship with my body, and I don't want the decisions I make about how to live comfortably in my body to be colored by judgements from others.

/righteous indignation.