“Are you going to have ‘the surgery?'”
I swear I’ve heard this so many times, and I know I’m not the only person who has.
Transitioning is not just about undergoing medical procedures, it involves many parts, legal, social, and medical. Some people undergo all three, none, or some combination. None of these are the same and nobody has to go through anything to make their gender more legitimate, however some people seem to think otherwise.
Not everyone transitions medically. While this may come as a shock to some people, medical transition is not wanted or even possible for some trans and non-binary folk. Gender is complex and based around what you see yourself as, not what others see. A large part of being trans/non-binary is dysphoria, however this manifests itself in many different forms and does not always apply in a physical sense. Because of this not everyone feels the need to physically change themselves to fit how they are in their head, some people are already comfortable in their bodies and reject the idea that being trans or non-binary means you were born in the wrong body.
In addition to this, not everyone has the ability to medically transition. This can be down to a number of factors, including money, support, safety, and even their bodies not being able to handle surgeries and/or hormones. Transitioning medically can be a very invasive and hard on the body physically and mentally, it isn’t for everyone.
Legally a lot of people do not transition. This can be because they are unable to due to funds, lack of legislation, lack of support, or simply the person is not in a headspace where they are able to or feel like they need to. There are a lot of things to consider. In the UK we are lucky because a lot of the legal transition can be done for free (free deed poll, bank changes are free, certificates from education authorities should be free, etcetera) however unless you are of low income or fit a very small criteria you have to pay to get your birth certificate changed (something which isn’t a dead certainty anyway once you send off the paperwork). You also have to pay for renewed passports, drivers licences and all other things associated. In other places you have to pay to get your name and gender marker changed – which in some locations require a prerequisite of at least one permanent surgery. It is awful but this is the world we live in.
Finally one of the most common forms of transition is social, which is arguably the hardest of all. This part is usually free in monetary terms, though can cost a lot in emotional turmoil, friendships, and relationship’s.
Social transition is the act of telling other people and making others aware of your gender identity. It is not easy for a lot of people, as it requires education and a lot of explanation for some people. It means that you often have to explain the same thing over and over. I wrote a post on some methods of coming out a few weeks ago, and perhaps that may be helpful for some people going through this stage.
The same as every other stage however, not everyone goes through it. Transition is unique, there may be similar elements for a lot of people, but transition in itself is unique. It is important to remember this, as a lot of trans (and sometimes non-binary) people get caught up in the idea there is one way, one method, and one experience when it comes to transition. There isn’t.
I hope today’s post has been helpful to some, as with all of the posts in this challenge. If you want to read more A-Z Challenge blogs, go check them out! Tomorrow is Sunday so no A-Z post, but I will have a Ten Things of Thankful post so keep your eyes peeled!