Gender confirmation surgery or gender affirmation surgery, is a procedure performed to transition or align those with gender dysphoria with their true gender. Trans men, women, non-binary people can undergo gender reassignment or affirmation surgery.
To answer the question above, “am I a man or a woman after gender reassignment surgery”, well, it depends on the gender you identify with. When you identify as transgender, you do not identify with the sex you were born with.
So, the gender reassignment surgery is essentially a means to align you to your true gender that you identify with. For instance, if you were assigned male sex at birth but identify as female, gender affirmation surgery aligns you as a woman. The same principle applies with those who were assigned female sex at birth but identify as male.
What is Transitioning?
Transition may include:
Medical transitioning: medical transitioning may include taking hormones and/or the surgical removal or modification of reproductive organs and genitals.
Social transitioning: social transitioning includes adopting a different names, using chosen pronouns, or adopting a different style in order to affirm your gender. Medical intervention is not entirely a requirement for transgender individuals to possess valid identities.
Why do Individuals, Undergo Surgery?
Many transgender people feel an imbalance between the sex they were assigned at birth and their gender. This feeling is known as gender dysphoria. For many transgender individual, gender dysphoria can be distressing as they feel that their gender and their appearance are not in alignment. Dysphoria can be a trigger for mental illness or poor mental health in transgender people. For such people, gender affirmation surgery, social transitioning, and hormone therapy is a means to match their true gender to their appearance.
What Would I Need Before Surgery?
Before you undergo gender affirmation surgery, you have to be completely aware and understanding of all the procedure requirements. You should know the possible risks involved, the hormones you will have to take, and many other steps you should check off before the surgery.
Sometimes, some of the steps involved in gender affirmation surgery are used by medical health practitioners and insurance companies to limit people’s access to the procedure.
The steps include:
- Mental Health Evaluation: this is required to ensure there are no mental health concerns possibly influencing an individual’s mental state. It is also done to assess whether a person is ready to undergo the emotional and physical stresses that come with transition.
- Consistent and clear evidence of gender dysphoria.
- A “real life” test: anyone wanting to undergo the surgery must be able to take on the roles associated with their gender both professionally and socially through everyday activities.
It is important to note that not all transgender individuals experience body dysphoria. It is also dangerous to put someone through the “real life” test.
Through this test, trans people are expected to put themselves on the line while in public and be vulnerable in order to “qualify” for affirmative procedures. If one doesn’t pass the test, they can still be outed by other people and be at risk of discrimination and violence.