Pastiche Foundation

Gender Variance made Simple

A Transman’s Answer to Transman Invisibility

Is this what the transsexual community looks like to the media?

Is this what the transsexual community looks like to the media?

Science News’ recent article “Sex Change Operations: The Science, Sociology and Psychology” is at best, laughable, and at worst, misdirection that keeps transmen invisible and underserved.

I can’t tell you how many articles briefly mention us, claim our numbers are lower (figures I’ve heard lately peg guys like me at about 50% of transsexuals, just less likely to participate in the community), then go on to discuss only the treatments pertinent to the ladies (who are awesome! But us guys deserve recognition and awareness too.).

Needless to say, when they lead off with Chaz Bono, Transman Nouveau, I thought ‘finally, they’ll talk about us guys in a trans article!’. I hoped too soon–Not only did they not discuss our medical treatments and needs, they rehashed the same slanted information all directed at women.

Some of you are probably wondering why it matters. It matters because guys like me need insurance plans, doctors, therapists, teachers, employers, family, friends, and lovers with an accurate idea of what we’re going to go through, what our medical and social needs will be, so that they get where we come from. It matters because these same treatments are paid for by insurance to ‘cisgendered’ men and women (people who are not transsexual) for other conditions, while ours are considered ‘cosmetic’ (Despite what the AMA says) and must be paid out of pocket. It matters because society’s reactions to gender variance can be just as life-threatening as cancer. It matters because we pay taxes and buy papers like anyone else. It matters because we’re just as much citizens, so we deserve the same rights as our feminine counterparts. “All… are created equal”, right?

I call on Science News to read this article on non-trans writing about transfolk and redact their article, using the proper pronouns and either dropping the reference to Chaz Bono or be inclusive of transmen’s needs, indicating comprehension of the issue. I also offer the following information, pieces of presentations I’ve given  at colleges as well as public conversation:

Transmen: A 101 on Medical Needs for Laymen and Reporters, too

Does he look like a girl to you?

Does he look like a girl to you?

  • This is not a ‘choice’. Gender lives between the ears, not the legs, and ‘reparative therapies’ are harmful.
  • No-Ho Transmen: Not all transmen take Testosterone–and some of them still look like the men they are! A celebrity example: Lucas Silveira* of the Cliks. In fact, I know two local guys that have better beards than I do.
  • Hormone therapy: Testosterone is given in several ways. It provides facial, fat distribution, muscular, and vocal masculinization. It’s safe and healthy. It’s administered as follows:
    • Testosterone Cypionate/Enanthate : Injected every 1-2 weeks, depending on dose
    • Sustanon/Reandron: Injected every Twelve weeks
    • Gel/Patches: Daily
  • The surgeries we need may include:
    • ‘Top Surgery’, or bilateral mastectomy.
    • Hysterectomy and/or oopherectomy (removal of the ovaries)
    • Metoidoplasty or ‘meta’, which releases the tendons holding in the clitoris to form a small neo-phallus that functions independently
      • This may include urethral extension, see below
    • Phalloplasty, which takes skin from the arm or side to create a longer, thicker phallus which depends on a silicone pump for erection
      • This includes vaginectomy, which is exactly what it sounds like
      • This includes urethral extension, see below
    • Urethral Extension, which may happen as part of either of the above, reroutes the urethra through the neo-phallus. The surgeon often uses lining from the inside of the cheek.
  • Not all transmen have surgery. I know a guy whose breasts are so small that he doesn’t even bind in an athletic top.

For some guys, their bodies and social misunderstanding are only mildly distressing, others can be driven to addiction, high-risk sexual behavior, and even suicide. We need federal provisions in place for these gentlemen’s needs so even the severely afflicted can move on to be healthy, productive members of society! This is why Transmasculine accuracy is needed in the media. Ignoring the issue or spreading misinformation will only hinder society as a whole socially, economically and, dare I say it, spiritually. Choose wisely, folks.

*It disturbs me a bit that a man is listed as a ‘lesbian musician’… for my own peace of mind I’m going to assume this is because they were on the L Word or because some of the ladies in the band are lesbians.

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments