Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Inside a Transsexual’s Head

What will “transgender rights” laws foster? What will government be protecting and promoting? What will employer benefits and health insurance have to cover? The writings by transsexuals themselves give us a pretty good idea what will be let loose if Bill H1722 is passed here in Massachusetts.

Matt Kailey (above), a female-to-male transsexual, speaks all over the country about her experience “transitioning.” Her book is a must read: Just Add Hormones: An Insider's Guide to the Transsexual Experience (Beacon Press, 2005). She recently led workshops at the PFLAG/Transcending Boundaries Conference (Worcester 2006) on “Redefining Masculinity: How and Why Transmen are Changing the Definitions of Manhood” and “Exploring Trans Sexuality: How Transition Affects Sexual Identity for Trans People and Their Partners.”

Just to get you started, here are two excerpts from her book, Just Add Hormones:

1. From Chapter "Flat busted":
Chest reconstruction is often the second major step in a female-to-male transition and it's a welcome subtraction to the household. One of the problems with transition, as in furnishing a home, is that you think you'll be satisfied once you get that male haircut/choose a new name/change your driver's license/start hormones, but each progression only leaves you longing for more. ... Chest, or "top," surgery is one of the most fulfilling accomplishments of transition. You can finally abandon painful and artery-constructing binders. You can wear the flimsiest of T-shirts with no telltale binder or bra lines. You can even take your shirt off in public....Breasts are a significant identifier of females in our culture and, therefore, something that transmen usually want to get rid of as soon as possible....

2. From Chapter "Dickless in Denver":
Penises are a very big deal (or very little deal, depending on how you look at it) in the transmale community. Testosterone makes the clitoris grow, but usually only enough to be visible to the naked eye. Some guys have better luck than others, depending on genetics ... The competition among transmen is fierce. Bragging about two inches, unheard of in nontransmale society, is often standard fare at nouveau transman get-togethers. And those lucky enough to be able to afford phalloplastic surgery are definitely at the top of the food chain. For those of us whose goals (and incomes) are more modest, there exists an array of prosthetics that can give the impression of a living organ inside tight jeans.... I could have invested $300 or so for a realistically shaped and molded penis and balls, one fashioned with veins and a carefully shaped head, all in a shade to match my own skin tone. This penis glued on with special medical glue and stayed on for several days ... Was this what it meant to be a man? ...