Back last April, I wrote a blog post about my experience and uncomfortable feelings around having to get a permission letter from my primary care physician to put on file with my surgeon before I could have top surgery. A few months later, I decided I was going to go with a different surgeon. Guess what? I had to get another letter!
This letter made me even more uncomfortable — and this time, very very angry.
Before my top surgery I did lots of research. It mostly consisted of browsing piles of pictures of people’s chests, picking apart the subtle nuances of each, and drawing conclusions to ultimately inform my decision. I get quite a few requests to share my thought process for analyzing these results.
Given my experience, I’m going to focus on DI procedures, though some things are relevant for others. If you aren’t familiar with the various options for FTM Top Surgery, or male chest reconstruction, you can read up on that here:
. I refrained from using other people’s pictures, so for illustrative purpose I instead included rough sketches from a layperson’s understanding.
Hopefully you’ll take away something useful.
There’s a fair arsenal of gear out there trans men can acquire to emphasize and de-emphasize parts of their bodies — STPs, packers, strap ons, binders, etc. Of course, there’s also supportive gear that comes along with all of that, such as harnesses. For some reason I had always been clear in my mind as to what portion of that arsenal I “needed”, what portion I “wanted”, and what I definitely did not need in order to make me feel comfortable.
I need a binder. I want to have a strap on handy. I don’t need an STP. And I don’t need a packer. All of this was very utilitarian in nature for me and designed to minimize what I had to do to perform on a daily basis.
So, what possessed me to go out of my way to go into Babeland and grab a packer?
I want to share a thought I’ve been having for my first blog, and hopefully some of you guys can relate. In my short time living full-time as a man, I have noticed an interesting change in my views of masculinity and how self-consciousness can come into play when you’re trying to live in a fully male state of mind. When I was living my life inside the lesbian community, I felt comfortable with my masculinity because in that space I thought I was as masculine as I could get and I wasn’t thinking about how masculine I was in comparison to cis-men or even trans men. When I came out though, I noticed I was much more concerned with how masculine I was in public or around other guys. Sometimes I would obsess about how high I inflected my voice (I’m assuming I won’t be so worried about this once I start T), how I held my hands, how I stood or walked, etc. I especially worried about the things I said and how I behaved being seen as too feminine.
This is a post I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. I thought it was appropriate for the summertime, but now that fall is upon us in my part of the world and the weather is just starting to cool down (and by that I mean 90′s rather than 100+F), I think this would be a fine time to write about the changing of the seasons, tides, and well, genders.
I’m wondering if any of you have had this experience, a sort of seasonal gender dysphoria that, for me, was particularly salient during those years when I was just starting to (knowingly/intentionally) explore my trans/masculine identity. During I’d say my sophomore year of college, I started to realize that maybe I wasn’t a masculine-ish/butch gay person (I never saw myself as a ‘lesbian’ despite my female identity and attraction to women; the label just never fit me right), but maybe I was, in fact, a transman. I spent hours, like I imagine many of you did, pouring over websites, reading whatever I could get my hands on, and watching documentaries and YouTube videos, to find answers and figure out who I was.
Once I picked up on this whole trans idea, I was obsessive about it. Gender, identity, sexuality, it consumed my thoughts on a daily basis. No matter the season, it was on my mind. But what I began to notice was I would explore my gender and identity more regularly, freely, and painfully, during those summer months…And when the wintertime rolled back around again, I’d put many of those transgender-ed thoughts away with the shorts and t-shirts, and I’d just go back to “being me” – whatever that meant at the time. Well, a less anxious me at least.