Okay, so it has been a long time since my last post. That was then. This is now. And here is a new post.
In two weeks, to this day, I am having Gender Reassignment Surgery in Montreal. May 9, 2012.
My life is very busy preparing, in all manner of ways. We are in the process of cleaning up our house so life will be simpler when I am back and healing up. There are many items I have had to purchase for my time in Montreal and after surgery. And most importantly I am preparing my mind, body and spirit for this journey through the rabbit hole and into Wonderland.
There are many reasons for me to have GRS. A very practical reason is because without it, Canadian governments refuse to get with the program and will not change the gender marker on my most basic identification, my birth certificate. That means if I were to apply for a passport without GRS, I would be listed as male, even though I, and everyone in my life, knows me as female now. Even though I AM female. With a passport that has a gender marker incongruent to my appearance, under Canadian law, an airline MUST refuse me passage or face a steep fine. You can see the problem here. And you can see why Transgender persons are upset at this relatively new law in Canada. Because not everyone has had the surgery yet or ever will.
In Ontario this past week, the Human Rights Tribunal ordered the provincial government to change the requirement of proof of surgery (it doesn’t have to be GRS for a male to female, it can also be an Orchiectomy, which is basically castration), in order for a Transgender MTF to change the gender marker on their birth certificate. Personally, I think this is a step forward.. Not everyone has access to surgery and not everyone feels they need it to live fully as themselves. The way the laws are now, people are either forced into surgery or risk discrimination and harassment.
It always amuses, and saddens, me when I hear the outcry that if laws on gender identification are “relaxed” (progressed is my word for it), then anyone will be able to switch genders at will, for who knows what nefarious reasons? Really? People will just try on being male or female, with the expense and trouble of changing all their identification and social status?
Transitioning, changing your social status from one gender to another, is not an easy process, and takes a real commitment of self. You only do it if you HAVE to. You don’t do it because it seemed like time for a change or something. Most people are secure in their gender identity. The only people who officially will change gender roles are those of us who understand that our natural gender, the way our minds and hearts have been set from birth, is different from our physical gender assignment. And there are checks in the system to make sure you understand what it is you are taking on when you transition.
I am not having GRS for the purpose of fixing my birth certificate. And I am NOT having a “sex change”. That archaic expression leads to so much confusion. My gender at birth, internally, was female. I had a strong sense of it as a small child and I definitely know it to be true as an adult. But even I was confused as a child because when people transitioned it was always called a “sex change”, which to me meant that someone went from being a man to a woman. And that wasn’t something I could do, as I knew I wasn’t male in the first place.
When I read news articles today that use that ancient term, invariably the reporter is confused and thus confuses their readers. Because a “sex change” does imply that a person was one and is changing to the other, reporters often mix pronouns in a story, using the “before” pronoun when speaking of the person’s past, and then the “after” pronoun for the present. This cements in the public’s mind the notion that the subject has basically just “switched sides”. That’s not what being transgender is about. That’s definitely not what GRS is about.
I transitioned because I was already female. But because of the way I was born I was assigned male at birth, due to the complicated and highly evolved scientific method of determining gender at birth – looking between the legs. Fair enough. I was male then. Raised as male. Didn’t feel that way, but back then no one wanted to hear that so what’s a girl to do? But all through my life I knew I wasn’t male and my female identity formed my core deep inside. Transitioning, for me, was the process of ending the pretending and hiding and just allowing my true nature to come out.
I chose to be myself. It’s that simple. It has been a lot of work, and will be a lot more, to start living fully as myself, as I had to align myself into society’s terms. It was important to have the world see me for who I am. And it was natural for that to happen too, which helped make things easier for me. I just had to be myself.
GRS is not a part of making the world see the real me as this is between me and my Creator. This is my personal and private (well, fairly private), journey to bringing more harmony and peace to what has been a lifelong conflict. When I was very young I was tucking my legs in the bathtub and feeling okay for a few seconds as what I looked like then was what I knew I was always supposed to look like but didn’t, for some stupid reason. So this is me fixing that, making those few seconds of peace carry on through the rest of my days.