If you’re trans, you know that there isn’t just one surgery. In fact, there are dozens. And there’s a good chance at some point you’ll hear about one that would ease a lot of discomfort for you.
Regardless of why you get surgery or which one(s) you choose, there are things you may need to keep in mind before you make the jump and sign up for a consultation.
1. It’s OK to be scared
If you’re thinking about a surgery that you know you need, it’s alright to feel hesitancy or even fear. It’s entirely normal to panic before we face change. It might do you good to research first-person accounts. Another thing you should do, and what many surgeons will require, is that you speak to a therapist first to help your mind settle. That brings us right to the next point…
2. Don’t feel pressured into it
Our society imposes gender roles on everyone, whether gay, straight, male, female, agender, gender fluid, etc. Don’t feel like you need to follow those roles. If one surgery interests you but another doesn’t, or if no surgeries interest you, that’s alright! It’s your body, and the last thing you want is to make your life even more uncomfortable. You’re still valid, no matter what you choose.
3. There are many options
Take time to do your research, but don’t be overwhelmed. Sometimes the best answers you can get are from others who have been through it before. Fortunately in South Florida, the trans community is large enough that you’re likely to find someone with answers at a trans group somewhere at least reasonably close to your area. And don’t just research what type of surgery you want — look into the surgeons too, as you’ll learn that not all scalpels are equal.
4. Find people to help you through
If you go through with surgery, not everyone is going to understand. It’s a huge benefit if you can find others who are there to help you through, whether emotionally or during the physical recovery period. You might experience a lot of different emotions from surgery — but even if they’re good feelings, there’s nothing like having a support system to eagerly listen.
5. It won’t make everything perfect
While you likely already know this, it’s highly worth mentioning. No surgery is going to fix all your life’s woes. That isn’t to downplay what a surgery can do for someone; when you opt for a procedure, it’s to alleviate a major discomfort holding you back. And of course with that one problem out of the way, it will help clear your mind for the many other problems that life will still have to offer.
6. Be patient
For something as expensive and sometimes complicated as surgery, it’s no surprise that many trans people end up waiting a very long time to get a surgery done. Even if your insurance covers surgery, it might not cover all of it — so be ready for a waiting period. The more you begin to realize you need a procedure completed, the harder it can be, so don’t hesitate to find a therapist or some friends to speak to… But no matter how you cope, the most important thing is you keep your hopes up. Even if it’s one day or one dollar at a time.
This column is for information only, and doesn’t constitute medical advice. If you’re trans or questioning and would like more information or help regarding the types of surgery available, you can reach out to the Trans Services Department at SunServe.org.