I was surfing the net this evening, reading about the experiences of various people who've had GRS.  I've been thinking lots about it lately since I will be undergoing it in less than seven months.  I read these two paragraphs in one article...

In my world-view, making my genetalia conform to self-perception is just a prelude, an overture, to the main part of the symphony. The real reconstruction work is a gigantic endeavour that will consume the rest of my life. All the things that male children learn must be unlearned. All the thinking, attitudes, assumptions, reactions and prejudices that male children and young men pick up must be looked at, and discarded if inconsistent with the feminine way. Similarly with anything I was learning in later life that would have turned me into a grouchy old scrote.

Then I must study what it means to be a woman, what her style is, how she moves, how she inter-relates. And what her impulses are, and what makes her laugh with shining eyes, and what makes her cry, and in what circumstances does she accept a strong arm around her shoulders. I must become expert at projecting my feminine self, naturally, unconsciously and with the utmost individuality.

I read this, my eyes widened like saucers, and my first thought was literally, "What the heck."

I'll be honest. It blows my mind that someone who is post-op thinks like this. Even if this amorphous woman the author referred to existed, it wouldn't matter how she moves, how she inter-relates, when she cries or lets a guy put his arm around her, or what her style is. "The feminine way?" What is "the feminine way?

If you still talk about "feminine self" in the sense that it is somehow separate from the rest of you, perhaps GRS should have been postponed until you were certain that there was no "feminine self," just yourself. If I asked my girlfriends to describe their feminine selves to me, they'd probably look at me like I was nuts.

Hopefully I am wrong about this person and making assumptions based on a couple of amazingly head-scratching paragraphs. Perhaps she's being a little melodramatic. But does it sound to you like she believes that she *is* a woman? Or does it sound more like she is undertaking a "gigantic endeavour" to imitate one?

I write this not to rant, or to take potshots at people, but may I suggest that if you're out there contemplating GRS and you have thoughts like these, keep contemplating. Keep contemplating until you are certain that a female you is not an act.

Just go out and be yourself and live your life. You cannot study how to be yourself.


I was a bit taken aback by that post as well. From all the time I have been reading that blog, I would have thought that the writer had been living as herself, her genuine female self, for some time. I've never met her in person, but that was the impression I got. I wasn't sure what to make of that post, which is why I have not commented yet.

Maybe she's just euphoric about the newness of the surgery. I hope. I hope she believes that she's living as herself, despite that language.

That's the only way to live!!! :)

Oh yes please, something got lost in the translation, please! :(

I dunno. Read a bit less critically, that could just be a statement attesting to a form of impostor syndrome. That's fairly common within the first few years of transition, even among post-op people.

Ok... for the sake of argument, Diana, let's say it is. People with impostor syndrome are convinced they are not genuine, or regard themselves as frauds. If you are convinced in your own mind that you're not genuine, that means you're unsure as to your true nature. To which I refer you to my "Keep contemplating until you are certain..." above.

Like I said, hopefully I am dead wrong.

I don't think she doesn't believe she is being genuine. I think she is speaking to a process of learning to socialize differently and her word choice was not necessarily accurate to the process because it does present it as creating a mask rather than unmasking. We all observe women and incorporate what we see into how we move through this newer world. But that's what young people do as they learn to socialize. We're just entering this process at a later date and so we are more analytical of it because we recognize it as a process whereas youth does not.

Not acting, but becoming and being. It's as natural as breathing.


Hmmmm.....I tend to agree with Faline. IMO, all GRS does is allow oneself to be genuine. IE one's GENUINE, REAL self. I think that there IS some validity however in the notion that for "later in life" transitioners, there ARE some gender specific behavior that CAN use some "refinement".

In my case, I consciously chose to keep some of the more useful thought processes that I acquired during my earlier years like a "rough and tumble" approach to some things. Something like the "Cattle Baron Heiress" character on the Titanic, or the Sharon Stone character in "The Quick and the Dead". Hence, my avatar.

Part of that was in fact a learned behavior, acquired over several decades as an 'owner/operator' in the Gen'l Engineering and constructon business.

I woman HAD to be necessarily "tough" just in order to get things done. My husband would often have to remind me to leave "my job" at the door, and to stop "spitting bullets" at home.

I look at it this way, we all see ourselves as something and we all have many selves. I am a step-mother, a wife, daughter and sister but I am well aware that at one time (and to some I am still) a step-father, husband, son and brother. Additionally, I feel that I have had a lot to learn about what it means to be a woman and who I am, so yes in many ways I am still relearning the world. Still these facts do not define who I am as a person, they just are my internal way of experiencing my transition. There is no formula for man or woman or how we should see ourselves during transition. We all follow our own script and some just need to make sense of it the best way that they can. In other words, I can understand how someone (even post-op) could feel they still becoming a woman although I do not relate.

That all being said, despite knowing that I try to portray myself a certain way and that I am curious how other women experience their role as a woman, I know without a doubt that I am not acting. I cannot deny though that I was at one time living as a man and have much to learn in my new role.

Does any of this make sense?

Thank you, Faline, for glancing at my blog... but I wish you'd delved deeper and found out something about me before commenting!

This seems to be a classic instance of completely different and unshared perspectives. My life is now into its last decades, and I lived most of it reasonably successfully in male mode. A lot of that has to be undone in the short time left to me, and somehow overlaid by a feminine veneer. I feel that acquiring all the knowledge I had no chance to absorb when young will consume the rest of my life.

It ought to be clear from my blog that I get by very nicely just now. I live a rewarding life full of cultural and academic interests, adequately populated with friends and interesting people I run into. I have delightful hobbies, enjoy good food, cars and nice places to visit. I'm independent, confident, well-educated and interested in current affairs.

But merely 'getting by' isn't enough. Supposing I get into the media world and end up presenting or appearing in TV programmes, and become a well-known figure? It then really matters that my appearance, behaviour and mannerisms are perfect - even when caught by surprise. It must all go far beyond simple acting, it must become instinctive. I must for instance emit a proper girly scream if someone pushes me into a coldswimming pool. I need to study the signs that a man is interested in me, amnd know whay i might do about it. All this, and many other aspects of a full and varied life, has to be learned. So I was quite serious about the immensity of the task ahead.

It's something like becoming accepted as a native in a foreign country. You must do far, far more than just acquire a good, idiomatic command of the language. You must do far, far more than dress as locals do, or shop where they shop. You need to discover the very soul of the country, absorbing whatever makes its inhabitants part of that country and no other. That obviously takes time and application, but the rewards - total acceptance, being completely taken for granted, being taken seriously, being elected to government office - are worth all the effort.

If you are still not enlightened, then email me and I'll try to explain further.

With best wishes, Lucy

I cannot comment with any surety on this particular person, or what she was really trying to get at as I do not know her blog, or her, but that said, she does have it right... At least on two major points. Both of which get lost in translation way too often.

The first and MOST important, is that transition, the real honest to goodness transition, does not end with SRS... No! It BEGINS at SRS... All that you are going through now is a prelude... You are laying the foundation if you will of the woman you will become, not finalizing her!

The second, and it is a far more subtle point is one you will have to be quiet and still to see... Watch other women... I mean really really watch them! Watch how they interact, Watch young girls, and then watch them with their mothers, or watch them with any women for that matter...

What you will see is that all girls, bar none are coached from the moment they awakens to the moment they falls asleep on all that is expected of them as a "good girl". This coaching begins at their birth and continues in a way, first by Mom and then, later, by the hand of her peers and then the hands of other women and this does go on for the rest of her life...

A woman's world is a place of wonder and joy, if you are a woman that is, but it can also be VERY unforgiving! It is a world that runs by a totally different set of laws than does the male world and everything, and everyone in it is judged by a very different scale. It is a world with complex and intricate rules. Rules that may be bent but cannot be broken... If they are broken and it is far easier than you would suspect, then the other women will be swift to punish and usually ostracize the one who transgresses, and this is done and done without thinking for a very good reason...

Women in their socio-biological role, for their own survival and the survival of their children. MUST, not only take great pains to secure their world as a safe place, they must also equivocate with the other women around them women! They must build a social structure that can and will carry them when they are incapacitated either when pregnant or when with young children... And that is just the framework... There are layers upon layers built on that frame of equivocation. Depending upon the place and time so to do those rules vary...

As we were not given the same training as women without our history... We are at a decided disadvantage to them. Because unlike the women without our history, We come into this world fully formed! So if we succeed, and we are accepted at face as the women we are. Then it is straight into the deep end of the pool with an expectation that we know the rules of "our" culture! Talk about your mine fields!

There is only one way that I know to make it through that and that is to fully abdicate all that was male in your life. To remove all the male privilege you may have had (and there is far more than you realize!)...and more so, to actively work at discarding the tools you've used to survive till now. Even if they are handy, at least until you figure out how other women use those same tools. Cause if they do use them, then trust me, they do use them differently!

I would suggest to you and to anyone making this leap, a short book called. "You don't understand, Men Women and Communication" by Deborah Tannen. Its one of those... face palm reads, where you go... So! THATS why they (men or women)did that!

Not knowing the author, I may have missed the point she was trying to make, but hopefully, you, by what I have added, will find that perhaps she is not all that wrong either!

A Sister

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