‘You Do Know This is Permanent, Don’t You?’

Every once in a while, some well-meaning person in Transman’s life will assess the changes he has gone through and mentally weigh the ones he’s got ahead of him and get a concerned look on his or her face. Transman doesn’t need a crystal ball or psychic powers to figure out what’s on the person’s mind; he knows what’s coming. Said person will lean in close, look Transman in the eye, maybe even touch his arm, and say, “You do know this is permanent, don’t you?”

Sometimes, Transman is tempted to dramatically embrace the person and say, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for pointing out the obvious!”

"My dear, Kay, without you pointing out obvious shit to me, I would surely be a fool." Image: hollywoodheyday.blogspot.com

But, he doesn’t.

Transman just nods and calmly says, “Yep.”

For folks who aren’t part of the trans community, lemme tell ya something: there are pretty rigid standards of care for folks who want to transition with physical interventions like surgery and hormones.**  We can’t just walk in with a huge bag of cash and demand surgery and hormones. We can’t just change our ID cards, birth certificates, social security cards, etc., at a whim. It’s a long, involved, expensive process. If you really want to know details, you can read the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s standards of care here: http://www.wpath.org/

"Are You There God? It's Me, Transman." Image: winiferdintheburbs. blogspot.com

What these well-meaning people don’t seem to get is that Transman has never ever ever ever never ever been comfortable with his body–well, okay, he was pretty much fine with his body when he was a kid; but, when he hit puberty and suddenly sprouted boobs, Transman’s body betrayed him.

Up until then, he was seen and treated as a boy by everyone. Then, hellooooo–when did Transman wake up in Dolly Parton’s body? Crap! When the girls in sixth grade were passing around Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and wishing for their periods, Transman was down on his knees every night praying that that would not happen to him: “Are you there God? It’s me, Transman. Please, please, please, do not open the floodgates.” (He did stop short of breaking into a James Brown-inspired dance; perhaps this is where he went wrong; maybe God likes funk and soul and was only waiting for Transman to join the Soul Train line dance.)

"Damn, I'm so intense I don't need hair." Image: startrek.com

Anyway, Transman knows good and well that the secondary sex characteristics brought on by testosterone are, for the most part, permanent. The deeper voice, the facial hair, and (even more, in his case) body hair are permanent. Even if Transman has to stop taking testosterone, those things will be forever part of him. Transman knows that if he goes bald on testosterone, he will stay bald. He’ll rock it like Patrick Stewart. What won’t stay are things like the fat redistribution on his body–the fat will move from his gut to his butt like on a woman’s frame. Not good.

Transman knows that when he has those appendages on his chest removed, they ain’t comin’ back. He’s counting on that. He wants them to be, as Lefty Frizzell once sang, “gone, gone, gone.”

"Everyone wants to look like me except you, Transman. Why? Why don't you want to look like me?" Image: whatsthestorynow.blogspot.com

What Transman doesn’t get is why people don’t seem to show the same concern when someone wants to turn into a living Barbie doll. Women who are uncomfortable with their bodies and want double-extra Ds and a big round bubble in the back don’t have to sit on a therapist’s couch for months to make sure they truly understand the changes they are about to make. Those changes are permanent and have more than a few immediate and long-term risks. The surgeries will change how the recipient is perceived by others and how she perceives herself.

How many people tried to intervene when Pamela Anderson, who already had a great body and beautiful face, decided she wanted to have her own permanent life preservers installed? No one seems to have told Joan Rivers, “Whoa! Put on the brakes, Joanie!” when she decided to become the first living figure at Madame Tussaud’s. Who was there for them?! Where were the well-meaning, big-eyed, touchy-feely folks in Pammy and Joanie’s lives? Why did no one spin Pete Burns round like a record, baby, and scream, “No, Pete! Don’t! Don’t do it!”

Oooh, Transman feels cheap and catty now. He needs to have his “bitchy bone” removed.

** Not every transperson goes through the same process. More and more medical teams are starting to practice “informed consent” with their trans patients.

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23 responses to “‘You Do Know This is Permanent, Don’t You?’

  • WSW

    I’m sorry to tell you that the bitchy bone is unremovable. It’s what keeps the human head from finding its way up the human ass. You, I am happy to report, appear to have a good solid bitchy bone.

  • transparentguy

    Well, doc, I’ll trust you on this one; I won’t even seek a second opinion.

  • southcarolinaboy

    The caption under Barbie’s picture. That is so much of what people don’t get. If you’re beautiful as a girl, it’s “But, oh, no, you’re so beautiful!” If you are not beautiful as a girl, it’s, “Are you doing this because you don’t feel beautiful?”

    • transparentguy

      Yeah, and I get irked when people tell me that I’ll be accepted as a masculine woman when they don’t get that I don’t feel like a woman at all. I don’t mind being a guy who isn’t stereotypically manly, but I do mind being in a female body. Women have strengths and beautiful aspects of their lives that men don’t; I do feel like I’ve been lucky in some way to have some of those even if it did feel like an out-of-body experience. I know I just have that much more appreciation for the women in my life and the things they go through.

  • blueberriejournal

    I like that post. Especially your point about the acceptance in public of women undergoing surgery to look “better”.

    • transparentguy

      Well, I’m guessing that we’re coming to a place where research is showing that much of transness is a medical (body/brain chemistry) issue rather than a psychological one. It may take some time, but I think we’ll eventually reach a place where people understand. To me, it’s like I’m correcting a birth defect I was born with.**

      **I should be absolutely clear this is my opinion based on my reading, research, and experience. Not everyone who falls under the trans umbrella agrees with my take on things.

  • Beth

    Transman, I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I’m a 38 year old mother of two and my fat is being redistributed without the use hormones. haha. Just call me sponge-bob.

    I agree with everything you’ve said here. I don’t really care for all the plastic surgery women are obsessed with getting today, mostly; because I don’t like the added pressure of tying to look decent while surrounded by unwrinkled faces, and brand-new-breast. I mean, mine could give a pretty interesting history lesson… on where my feet have traveled. Doesn’t seem fair.
    And yes, there is a double-standard. Though, you should feel blessed, I feel. Once you’re transformation is complete, you’ll probably be therapist free? (not sure of the rules)The women you mentioned above will be on someone’s couch for the rest of their life. I believe they’re trying to heal their internal wounds backasswards. Outside in.

    • transparentguy

      I am frightened by visions of a world where everyone looks like Dick Clark. Even though I will willingly have my chest worked on, I can’t fathom trying to look younger than I really am. The wrinkles and lines are what make us interesting. They show where we’ve been and that we’ve loved and laughed. Why would people want to erase that?

      As far the ways children change our bodies–those are badges of something beautiful you’ve brought into the world. Anyone who says different should be punched in the throat.

      • Beth

        Aw, I totally agree. Although, I’ll never have plastic surgery; I would be lying if I said the airbrushed, botox’d; surgically enhanced women on magazine covers and TV screens wasn’t a little discouraging. Not the plastic, weird looking women, but the ones that make me feel old, and well, old. :)

        I haft to say, I am glad you are a man. I hope it’s okay that I refer to you as a man mid-transition? Not only am I happy that you’re taking the proper steps to become who you truly are, I hope your insights/wisdom rubs off on the rest of the male species. Whoop, we all win. Seriously, you’re very kind.

      • transparentguy

        I’ve had some great role models as far as decent, well-adjusted men go, so I know there are plenty of good guys out there. Hopefully, they’ll all breed and bring another generation of decent human beings into the world.

        As far as the air-brushed to perfection women go, they’re nice to look at I guess, but day-to-day, most of the men I know (myself included) want to be with women are real–sexy, smart, funny, confident in who they are. You can’t airbrush personality.

  • cristycarringtonlewis

    Don’t you dare have that bitchy bone removed. That’s funny stuff. You know, when your transformation is complete, you’ll actually look like (1) a man and (2) you’ll still look like a human. The latter can’t be said for the women out there inserting crap into their faces. It’s practically Darwinian, the evolution of the middle-aged, female face. Soon, we’re going to have an entire race of people who look as though they’ve melted. As much as I love being a woman – and I do – I have to say that I envy your future life; the one you are going to treasure once this process is complete. No makeup, easy peasy short hair, no pedicures, no bras, no menopause, no periods, no worrying about maintaining an impossible to maintain ideal female figure. I wish you well, my friend. By the way, before you get another tattoo, remember…it’s permanent!

    • transparentguy

      I look forward to being able to be “distinguished” and “wise” when I am old and gray.

      I will never miss bras. I will never miss any of the things women have to go through to be beautiful by society’s standards. Keep all those structural garments to yourself.

      Bitchy bone will stay put. I may even see if I can have another installed.

  • sweetmother

    oh, oh, oh, good stuff. my fave line, “are you there god, it’s me transman, please do not open the floodgates!” loved. and usually my instincts are right, which is why i nominated you for a blog award thingy today. it’s the ‘awesome blog content’ award. the details are on my sites blog awards page. it’s yours if you want it – no harm, no foul if you don’t. great stuff, trans. – mother

    • transparentguy

      Mother … you’ve just saved me from having to think up a blog topic. I love you more than words can say (… don’t tell your wifey I said that).

      Seriously, thank you. Your blog is hilarious, so I appreciate that you like my stuff.

  • sweetmother

    it is my pleasure! and i suppose it’s best to say we are in the mutual admiration society, as i also enjoy your stuff. and i can’t wait to read the blog topic i have so inspired. hoo-ra or something else said by al pacino. :)

  • gene3067

    Keep the “Bitchy Bone”. All men have it. Just rename it to “Grumpy or Angry Bone”.

  • Luke Wilson

    Certainly life would be more of an adventure if we could accessorize like Mr. Potato Head. Of COURSE it’s permanent!!!

  • Sue Fenton

    The experiences you’ve had/are having are a subject I don’t know too much about so I’ll be fascinated to follow you and find out more. And thanks for liking my blog!

  • tarnishedsophia

    Never understood what was so fascinating about Judy Blume’s books. I mean, they’re not the worst thing I have ever read…but they aren’t *good*, and her female protagonists always seemed whiny and overly naive to me. Maybe it’s because they are “coming of age grrl power” novels and I’m only a girl on the outside? Seems logical.

    I am so happy for you, Transman, that you’re able to get the body you want. I don’t even have health insurance, much less a doctor/therapist I can talk to about these things. That, and while my family has finally accepted that I’ll always be “a tomboy”, 90% of them wouldn’t accept that I’m not *really* a woman. And my Friend with Benefits is heterosexual, so there’s no way he’d have sex with a male me…

    Sigh. Why couldn’t all of us just be born in the right bodies?

    • transparentguy

      I think the fascination with Judy Blume in the 1970s/early 1980s was that she wrote about “taboo” topics like starting a period–before things like that were discussed openly everywhere. It was a way for girls to get information.

      Re: our bodies. I do wish it was easier. If given the choice to have been born in the body I’m comfortable in or to be transgender, I would definitely opt for brain/body alignment from the start. I hope something happens to make your life a little more easy.

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