Today I stumbled upon a picture that made it easier for me to understand why I loathe my own body. This picture feautured a hairy guy with excess body fat and gynecomastia (breast growth), who had checked in to a plastic surgeon to reconstruct his upper and lower torso. After the surgery had taken place they took another picture, this time completely transformed.
From time to time, when I tell people that I would like to have gender reassignment surgery (SRS), I get a puzzled reaction. Women in particular cringe at the idea of having a scalpel inserted into places they most cherish, and see it as a kind of auto-mutilation. They aren´t the only ones, as there are countless less than friendly websites dedicated to this idea.
“But how can you do that to something so beautiful?” they´ll say. It is as if I were comitting a crime towards myself. I have to be careful to adress certain part of my body with respect when I am trying to explain my dysphoria to other people, because frequently my aversion and utter revulsion is met with concern. “Your body is beautiful the way it is“, they´ll say. Why not be androgynous.
I´ll tell you why. My brain knows it´s male. When I´m not doing anything in particular, I experience my body as being male – flat chested, lean, and with a different set of genitalia. When I go to the bathroom, take a shower, walk around, or try to work out, I´m confronted with a reality that flies in the face of this feeling. And yet I don´t experience my body as being female.
I experience my body as being male with female anomalies. The female traits don´t feel like they belong on my body, and having them does not feel healthy. I am willing to bet that the man in the picture felt the same way, and yet nobody tells him that he is “beautiful the way he is” or aks him why he is about to mutilate himself. At least I don´t think anyone would ask.
I´m pretty sure people would understand where he is coming from, and understand him when he says that surgery can help him feel less emasculated, stronger, and more confident. After all, you´re not going to get a lot of admiring looks on the beach if you show up with that preoperative body, and neither am I, with my guy face.