If you’ve been following the comments on my last two blog posts, you’ve probably noticed the level of vitriol directed at me – all because I’m sharing the real-world consequences of SRS. Some people devote quite a lot of time and effort into getting worked up over this subject. I’ve been called, for example, a “crypto-fascist feminazi bitch” for wanting trans people to know what they’re getting into before they go under the knife. I mean, maybe “bitch” is fair – I haven’t had emotions ever since Tara died on Buffy. But I’m definitely not a feminazi. *slides my Polish invasion plans back inside my Lisa Frank trapper-keeper*
Annnnyway, before we actually get into the nitty-gritty of the neovagina disasters, I wanted to talk a little bit about why this is such a touchy subject for many people. Outside observers might wonder, “why do trans people get so pissed off when SRS surgical complications are shared?” The answer is simple: SRS is as much a political statement as it is a surgical procedure.
This screenshot from Reddit demonstrates how trans people have a certain devotion to SRS, which is being called “GRS” in this post – a devotion so strong that they would rather not share their own “complications and trauma” because it would make the surgery look bad.
SRS enjoys a certain degree of reverence in the trans community. It is often seen as the end goal of transitioning. Although many MTF people choose to keep their penises, SRS has historically been known as the final step – and many pre-surgical Reddit/Facebook/Blog posts will express a sentiment to the effect of “whew, I’m finally going to be done!”
If you hang around trans websites long enough, you’ll start to pick up the lingo. “Pre-everything” means someone who has not taken any kind of medical steps toward transitioning. “Pre-HRT” means, specifically, someone who has not taken hormones yet. And “pre-op” means someone who has not gotten SRS. These are basically the three major milestones of transitioning to many trans people: coming out, taking hormones, getting SRS. Of course, there are other surgical procedures such as facial feminization surgery or tracheal shave, but these are not quite as iconic as SRS.
Granted, many (perhaps most) MTFs do not have the resources to get SRS. It’s expensive and not all insurance plans cover it. But it’s often seen as the final step in a long journey, and for that reason, criticizing SRS is tantamount to criticizing transitioning. It’s like saying, “you will never be who you want to be, because the surgical hole between your legs will not be a vagina.” And that’s considered highly offensive.
This is only made worse by the discourse in the trans community regarding SRS. It’s become almost a meme that MTFs will claim “your neovagina will be indistinguishable from a cis vagina – not even a gynecologist could tell the difference!” I’ve seen some (pre-op) MTFs tell prospective surgery candidates to bring a photograph of a vagina you like to your doctor, as if you were bringing a photograph to your hairdresser. And in society-at-large, there’s an assumption that some kind of sexual reassignment surgery exists and when you come out the other end, you’re probably indistinguishable from an actual woman. Although the “I didn’t know she was a man!” punchline is not at all designed to be supportive of trans people, it does reflect a common misunderstanding that the surgery is pretty good – or at least, good enough to fool the average person.
The reality, though, is quite different. As you will see as we continue our journey through the Disaster Zone, SRS is prone to many complications – which go underreported, as we see in the screenshot above, because SRS is sacrosanct and criticism is not permitted. These complications include necrosis (dead tissue – parts of the neovagina fall off), fistulas (holes between the vagina and rectum which causes the MTF to defecate through the neovagina), infections, bad odors, lack of orgasm, and so much more. Plus, they are not even remotely close to a real vagina in terms of appearance. Even the absolute best cases are noticeably different than a real vagina.
This project is designed to be compassionate and educational. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I, as a “TERF”, care more about trans people than the individual in the screenshot above. While they want to conceal their botched surgery so that others will not be dissuaded from following them down that path, I want people to have informed consent and to understand the risks. And that’s what prompts so much hatred.
It’s a mess. SRS is a surgery, but it’s also an important piece of trans culture and is therefore political as well. But the politics surrounding SRS should never, ever, ever be an excuse to conceal the very real complications so that it can go forward without criticism.
If that makes you hate me, then fine. I find the angry comments amusing. The truth will keep coming, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
With that being said, I plan on updating this blog about twice a week. I will mostly focus on the disasters but will occasionally make a post like this to discuss the circumstances surrounding SRS in the trans community. Any graphic images in these posts will be clickable links, so you can feel free to read this blog in Starbucks if you like. No adult content will be hosted on these servers but rather on places like Imgur and so forth.
Thank you for reading, and if you’ve gotten this far, please flame me in the comments!