I have been pondering both before and since my GRS in February whether I identify as a post-op transgender woman or just a woman. Sure I can be one or the other or both, given the context into which I find myself. Both legally and medically, I am described in a letter from Dr. Burin, my surgeon, a sterile female and further described as hypogonadal, which by my understanding means that I would either have low testosterone by the lack of testicles or low estrogen by lack of ovaries. From all appearances, I am a woman and to most people I meet, presumably have always been one.
Only a month or so before I decided to come out and begin transition, What I knew about transgender folk was around zero to none , even after having seen Chaz Bono, the celebrity offspring of Sonny Bono and Cher and now a transman in transition, appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman. I have held a secret fantasy since I was a teen which I played out over and over by secretly dressing up as a woman.then being passionately “taken” by a man, a la James Bond. Since I had seen the movie Goldfinger in 1964, starring Sean Connery, I had not fantasized being James Bond, I fantasized being the Bond Girl.. This was the one thing I would hide from everyone, including my wife for over thirty years and I was scared of what people people would think after I died. It was a terrible nightmare and thank my goddess, IT’S OVER!
Since beginning transition in December 2011, I have expanded my circle of friends and acquaintances to include a local social group for women and fostering a Transgender Support group, where I have taken an active role as a trained facilitator to moderate meetings. *When I finally was able to attend an event after an unexpected hospital stay with micro-surgery on my spine, I felt right home with my new girl friends as if I had been doing this all of my life. I was just “one of the girls.” This is not the first time I have felt this way as I have reported in a post around the time of my beloved’s transition of a different kind.
My goal of a full transition for which I set out to accomplish when I began has been achieved and there is nothing more for me to do medically or psychologically except to remain healthy for life going forward. I had considered, as many post-ops do, that once I completed my GRS, I would wish to move where nobody knew my medical history. Circumstances prevent me from doing that now and I am no longer attached to the idea as I once was. That leaves me with two different communities of folk here, those that know my history and those who don’t. I have always been an open book throughout my transition but will that come back to haunt me later? Does it really matter if it did?
This re-examination of my predilection for openness has come about recently while attending a memorial service for a woman I had met through the women’s social group. After the service I offered the surviving husband my condolences, sharing with him my own recent loss which gave us a connection for a brief time. After getting some refreshments I found a seat next to a woman with whom I would strike up a conversation. When I felt at safe with her I blurted out that I was transgender. Her reaction seemed to be acceptance and she asked me a question that I have yet to hear to suggest the idea that my frankness with people I just met just might be compulsory for me. What is it that I want, now that I am living my dream. Why can’t I be satisfied to live as the woman I thought I should have been and just relax. Nobody really needs to know my medical history besides my doctor. I am beginning to think I wouldn’t even tell a lover or partner unless we got serious. After 31 years of marriage to one partner, getting serious with one partner with which to grow old together is really the last thing on my bucket list, if it is there at all.
So I am left with the question from which I began this post. Am I still transgender since I suffer little to none from the debilitating affects of gender dysphoria, the medical condition with which I have been living through all those years before I came out, just thirty months ago, although is seems like just yesterday. Technically the answer would be Yes if you defined gender dysphoria as a feeling of incongruence between one’s gender identity and the gender as assigned at birth, which happens to be still true. On the other hand, if you change the language from gender as assigned at birth to biological sex, a whole different possibility seems to emerge.
If you ask me, it’s just a lot of nitpicking anyway. I think I’ll go have a nice hot bath and let others worry about this!