To have GRS (Genital Reassignment Surgery) or not, is sort of like the question “to be or not to be”? It is a choice all gender variant individuals must answer. Of course we could get into the terminology game and define the different stages of the transition journey, but we will not. (Please see how I define terms here) Take me for example, (because I don’t like to speak for others) I have identified as no less than 7 gender identities including man, woman, androgynous, crossdresser, transvestite, transgender, and transsexual. I am not sure many others even exist, except for maybe queer or genderqueer and in my day that was a very undesirable label. I hated that label almost as much as being called Lurch. To say I have an identity crisis is an understatement; my life is an identity crisis! Or is it?
The reality is life is always growing, changing, and experimenting with various forms of existence and humans are no different. How many people do you know who are happy with only one outfit, one flavor of cake, one of anything in their lives? It sounds absurd to me to even think of living in the same house all your life, from birth to death. Many have done this and that is the beauty of nature. If it is possible then it has occurred at least once.
Variety is the spice of life! So how you identify is up to you and it does not have to be set in stone. Crossdressers identify as their birth sex, but like being the other from time to time, so they dress in the clothes of the opposite sex. To me this is not necessarily a gender identity issue. It certainly is not an illness or disorder. It could however be classified as a fetish. The point being here is these individuals have no desire to have GRS.
I like to think of gender as a rainbow or sliding scale. The scale runs from male to female and has many degrees in between. It looks like the graph to the right. The other factor which confuses things is a person can fluctuate on the scale from day to day and even moment to moment.
So how does one decide that GRS is right for them? This is the million dollar question! It is not a decision you can reverse. So taking it seriously is highly advised. Getting in tune with your inner feelings and experimenting with different lifestyles and roles is important in reaching this decision. How do you feel most comfortable? Are you sure? Is is always this way or does it fluctuate? If it fluctuates to any degree then maybe you should wait on GRS. I have seen several different statistics indicating that most GRS candidates are happy post op and the numbers of people feeling they had made a mistake are few in comparison. WPATH guidelines were design just for the purpose of assuring only true transsexuals or severe gender dysphoric individuals get the surgery.
So what do you do if you are in the middle somewhere? Gender Dysphoric but only mildly and able to live in the birth sexes gender role. This is a choice for the individual ultimately, but a professional specializing in gender issues should be consulted for at least 3 months and preferably for a year or more. From my experience it is often other issues that depress the individual making gender dysphoria a secondary condition. Again this is why it is so important to have professional help.
Next time we will discuss sexual orientation and its role in the GRS question if it has one which I feel it does. Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are different, yet connected, like much of life!