I’m transgender. I am a woman. And I’m not having genital surgery. That means some people can’t accept me. How should I react?

Being a transgender woman means some people won’t truly accept you unless you meet the knife of a surgeon.

No true acceptance unless you have your penis removed or have it inverted into a brand new vagina.  Until that happens they will continue to think of you as a man.  Some of them will continue to think of you that way even post-surgery.

That’s just a fact of life, at least at this time.

It’s not worth getting too stressed about these people. Because that stress only damages you. It doesn’t affect those who don’t accept you in the slightest. So what’s the point in allowing their views to stress you out on a personal level?

I ask that as someone who has frequently been stressed out by these people, to my own inner harm and as someone who has got grumpy in too many arguments.  It can be very difficult indeed not to react in a very emotional way to their words.  It can be hard too not to say words you’ll later regret – ones with meanness rather than compassion to those who find it hard to accept you and who say words that they believe are wise but which are often more like daggers.
Don’t take on the people who say they will only really accept you if you have major surgery – with painful preparation** and long painful after care that can have many complications.  I’ve known women who have been travelling hundreds of miles for appointments and sometimes extra surgery years after genital surgery because of complications.

Just don’t do it.  Not unless you’re able to remain calm inside and outside while being thoroughly attacked for being a transgender woman – and perhaps for expecting to live much like any other woman barring the practical differences that come with obvious biological differences that have meant your life has been rather more difficult than you would have liked – including (in my case) decades of self-rejection for being what I am.

**including electrolysis on the penis for hair removal.  I used to have very autistic meltdowns every time when I had some sessions of electrolysis on the face.  It wasn’t just the pain (I got through full body laser hair removal three hour treatments and suffered meltdowns only sometimes) but the number of ways in which the experience was sensory overload for me.

Don’t even debate them unless you are in a very strong mental position because you’ll get hurt.  
And it can already hurt knowing that people won’t accept you unless you have major surgery. If you allow those people any authority to hurt you or care about those people in the slightest. Seeing others get hurt will also lead to your sadness.
Instead of the debate, unless you’re able to reason on a level close to perfect stoicism, just live. Be. Thrive. Be proud of yourself. Be certain of yourself. Know that you live a truth that’s worth living. Know that self acceptance is a key to contentment. Stand up for that truth wherever you are. Like the Christians say, “Preach that truth, if necessary use words.” A life well lived as a transgender person – visible and beautifully gendered – can do much good in this world.
What kind of person will only truly accept you – as you – if you have major surgery first? Do you really want to have them in your life?
Especially when, as in my case, one reason for not having the surgery is that my mental health conditions would make it a mentally and emotionally pretty risky thing to undertake.
I fought for that surgery for years and eventually realised this:
A: It would not change who I am one iota. Not one bit. Except to the extent that the experience of ANY major surgery with long painful recovery would change a person.
B: It could cause me quite a bit of mental damage. I value my head too much to risk it. I’ve had so many mental issues over the years and still have quite a few. I’m not prepared to risk screwing myself up when I have not that many mental resources and certainly not the health stability to go through the process.
C: Day to day, it would not change my life. Much. It would give a bigger clothing choice without worrying about the “bulge.” That would be nice. But, at least in this life I’m living, that’s about it.
D: There are circumstances in which it would make my life a lot less terrifying – because transgender life can be bloody scary – and mean that those who won’t accept me or would feel uneasy because of me might not feel or think the way they do about me.
E: In some ways it would make me happier. But, personally, at an unacceptable cost. That is a personal decision. Others have their own decisions to carefully make. In any case, the life I’ve started to build can be filled with happiness on a much more meaningful level than the possible benefits of having a vagina/labia/clitoris over having a penis/testicles. Happiness is rather more than skin deep.

I talked a lot more about the process that went into my decision to not have surgery – vaginoplasty, labiaplasty or anything else – on a previous blog site.  Other trans women decide surgery is for them.  That’s fine.  My decision is not theirs and we all have different individual needs in overcoming gender dysphoria.

So while I’d actually prefer to have very different genitalia, and while being born with vagina rather than penis would have made for a very different life without that self rejection, I will never be having that surgery for my own benefit, and most definitely not in order to be accepted by those who persist in thinking of me as a man.
And if that means that some people won’t really accept me, well they don’t deserve to be a part of my life.  They can leave my life.  Thanks for going.

I cannot change who and what I am.  I’m a transgender woman.

But they can change their views on whether to accept me for who and what I am.

At this time they won’t accept me unless I put my mental health at a much greater risk than it’s already at? What does that say about them? What does it say about me that I haven’t yet cast every single one of them out of my life into the outer darkness for the protection of my own mental well-being and safety?  Which is more important, my love of charity towards others or my own self protection?
When confronted with non-acceptance I look elsewhere and am thankful for my choir and thankful for the majority of my friends. Because with them I am safe – or as safe as anyone ever is.  With them I am accepted for who and what I am.
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