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Top surgery for young person


Quill
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This is happening today for someone I am close to. This is more difficult for me to accept than I expected. It feels like...a mutilation. And, as a br3ast cancer survivor, I just think about how much I wanted to avoid complete removal; how relieved I was to get by with just a scar and a divot there, bre@st intact. But this is a healthy young person, removing healthy br3asts. 

Of course I know this is not about me. But I feel grief for the niece I have lost. Or...sort of lost. When I turned 18, my assertion of bodily autonomy was that I got my ears pierced. Then, when I turned 21, I got a shocking second ear piercing! (Tongue-in-cheek, of course.) I wish I knew how my sister actually feels about this but I dont and I would expect her to be defensive about the decision, regardless of how she feels in her heart of hearts. For all I know, she might read this on here. 

PLEASE DONT QUOTE  PLEASE DONT QUOTE PLEASE DONT QUOTE. 

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Do you feel you might benefit from therapy while you work through your issues?

I mean the suggestion kindly. Because they are *your* issues to process, and I’m fairly certain you don’t want them to interfere with the relationship you have with your nephew. 

 

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3 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Do you feel you might benefit from therapy while you work through your issues?

I mean the suggestion kindly. Because they are *your* issues to process, and I’m fairly certain you don’t want them to interfere with the relationship you have with your nephew. 

 

Probably would not hurt. I might.

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If I had a breast cancer diagnosis, no matter how small the lesions, I would do a double mastectomy immediately.  If I had a gene that predisposed me, I would have a double mastectomy as soon as possible.  I am always surprised when people want to keep their breasts if disease is imminent.    If you are truly feeling grief for this, you might wish to consider counseling. 

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My husband's best friend from high school has had surgery.  It took a few years.  It is a huge change.  Now it is something my husband does not think about too much anymore.  

I think if you can just not burn bridges, that time will do some work.  

It did really bother my husband that his friend had another body part removed, iykwim.  

My husband's friend was older and had been making changes in clothes over time, which my husband blew off.  My husband would hear gossip from his parents and didn't believe a lot of it, and when we did see her she toned down a lot maybe -- I can remember something like -- a scarf.  

Anyway -- b/c of that, it was very sudden when the surgery started to happen.  

She had gotten a job specifically to have medical benefits, so it was part of a long-term plan.  

But we do not live in my husband's hometown, so didn't really know about it.

Now my husband is glad he has kept up the friendship, as he has gotten older he values it more.  

But overall -- I think it does just take time.  

My husband is NOT the kind of person who would be expected to be in this situation.  Honestly -- if he can adjust, I think almost anyone could.  

It is just -- if you want to or not.  I think if you do not really want to, that is fair.  If you have some desire to, I think it can happen in time.  

We refer to this person by her "new" name now, there is no more "I have to remember to call [male name] by [female name]," because that is just the name we use now.  But that took a few years.  

Edit:  really, there was a time period when my husband was saying "I can't believe he got his ______ cut off" any time anything came up, and saying how he felt revulsion.  He really felt disturbed by it.  

But I can honestly say it does not come up anymore, it is not what my husband is thinking about anymore, he is not having to make an effort, etc.  It did just take time.  

Edit:  Ironically, my ILs have a huge problem that my husband has not disowned his friend, as if it is any of their business.  They bring it up and say pretty offensive things.  I have no idea why they bring it up out of nowhere.  It's just one of many reasons we do not see them very often.  

It's also ironic because my husband was sent to a very, very conservative Christian school so that he would not be exposed to things like this.  

Edited by Lecka
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13 minutes ago, Shelydon said:

If I had a breast cancer diagnosis, no matter how small the lesions, I would do a double mastectomy immediately.  If I had a gene that predisposed me, I would have a double mastectomy as soon as possible.  I am always surprised when people want to keep their breasts if disease is imminent.    If you are truly feeling grief for this, you might wish to consider counseling. 

My surgeon explained my statistical likelihood of reoccurrence under numerous possible options. My statistical likelihood of recurrence was no less with a double mastectomy, (it is 10% in any case) and I had already witnessed an appalling bad outcome in someone close to me; granted, the bad outcome was related to reconstruction, not the removal itself. So I did not want to go that route. 
 

In re: my niece/nephew, there are other reasons it feels like grief to me, but cutting off healthy br3asts when still a teen is not great no matter how I look at it. 
 

With that said, counseling could probably be helpful. But I find it really annoying that you think because cutting off your breasts immediately would be fine FOR YOU, I must be a head case to not want that to happen to a person with no cancer. 
 

If you say anything else offensive to me about this, I am blocking you immediately. 

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It’s not a healthy young person, it’s a healthy young man.  As a man, he’ll never breastfeed, so breasts are unnecessary.  Gently, if you’re holding out hope that his transition is a mistake he’ll regret, please don’t.  

You are a woman, and many women are very attached to their breasts.  I know I am!  For your nephew, his breasts may not be cancerous but they are essentially growths that he may feel don’t belong on his body.  If you had some sort of growth on your body that wasn’t dangerous but made you feel really bad about yourself every time you saw it, and let’s say it was in your line of sight nearly all the time as breasts are, would you have surgery to have it removed or live with it because it was healthy tissue?  

I do understand the grief you’re feeling.  As the mother of a trans daughter I’ve dealt with feeling as if the child I gave birth to is gone.  I don’t pretend to assume that it’s as painful as if my child had died, but it is a grief that has taken a lot to work through.  

I’ll be thinking of you and your nephew and family today. 

(And I’ll be out of the house for most of the day, so I’m not ignoring any responses.)

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16 minutes ago, Quill said:

My surgeon explained my statistical likelihood of reoccurrence under numerous possible options. My statistical likelihood of recurrence was no less with a double mastectomy, (it is 10% in any case) and I had already witnessed an appalling bad outcome in someone close to me; granted, the bad outcome was related to reconstruction, not the removal itself. So I did not want to go that route. 
 

In re: my niece/nephew, there are other reasons it feels like grief to me, but cutting off healthy br3asts when still a teen is not great no matter how I look at it. 
 

With that said, counseling could probably be helpful. But I find it really annoying that you think because cutting off your breasts immediately would be fine FOR YOU, I must be a head case to not want that to happen to a person with no cancer. 
 

If you say anything else offensive to me about this, I am blocking you immediately. 

Gently, you are not talking about decision your niece/ nephew is making. You are talking about your nephew, full stop. I understand it takes time to adjust, but perhaps the sooner you start referring to him as such the easier it will get for you. 
 

In a similar vein, it really isn’t healthy for a young man to have women’s breasts. Would you feel comfortable if you had a penis everyone could see and judge you by? I'm not trying to diminish your emotions—truly not— but I think reframing your comfort and the reality for your nephew might be healing for you as you process. It’s a lot, I don’t think anyone is saying otherwise, but your nephew isn’t becoming a different person. He’s becoming who he has always been.

I “liked” the above sentiment about having no qualms about removing breasts. Every woman has a different relationship to them and how they make her feel, and we are all entitled to those feelings. That said, that’s an entirely different conversation and has nothing to do with your nephew's journey. However, I do understand your recent experience with breast cancer is lending an extra layer of emotions for you, which is why I think counseling might be beneficial. Certainly nothing offensive was meant.
 

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❤️I read this as…. You have a niece who you love just the way she is. You feel she is removing a part of her female anatomy that is part of a female’s identify. breasts most often are identifiable as part of a woman’s sexuality and feeding of babies. And as silly as it sounds, they are a big part of how we dress! Whether someone is more conservative or more sexually confident. A woman’s clothing says a lot about her! 

Your nephew doesn’t need them, and doesn’t want breasts. He doesn’t want to be seen as a man with Womans breasts. He doesn’t want to bind them. He will most likely not want to breastfeed. Removing them is part of what is holding him back from feeling like himself and his outside matching his insides. Just like you passionately not wanting the removal as part of your self-identity ……he passionately needs the removal for the same reason. 
 

it is hard to see a loved one transition because it feels like part of them is going away. Your love her and don’t want to loose your niece. That is ok to feel a bit of loss and uncertainty. What you are gaining will quickly fill in that space. This might be hard to see right now, but it is coming—I promise. When you see your nephew, feeling and looking more like his inner self you will understand the surgery more. He is still the exact same person on the inside, but you will hopefully just see him with more self confidence and calm-within. His clothes will fit better and he will continue his transition into being more and more who he wants to be.

🌼your concern shows how much you care for this person. You are a sweet aunti to love them so much.  I hope his surgery goes well and you can find some peace in his decision.

~tap

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I will say this outside of my main response…my nephew transitioned 8 years ago. He started testosterone shots at 18, had top surgery before 20. He has given birth to 2 healthy babies and while he regrets not being able to breastfeed them, he knows it was the right decision for him. He stopped testosterone for a time for both pregnancies, went to a more androgynous look to make social interactions easier. After the births he started testosterone back up and went back to a male identity. 
 

I want to put this out there to show that top surgery and transitioning, doesn’t mean they can’t carry their own children ! They can and do still have that choice. 

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My husband's feeling now is "it seems like it's working out for her."  My husband does not think it was a mistake, that she will wake up one day and think "what have I done??????"  That is what my husband thought for a long time.  

That is where time has worked, I think.  

 Now this is just this person's regular life.  (Edit:  to my husband)

Edited by Lecka
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43 minutes ago, Quill said:

My surgeon explained my statistical likelihood of reoccurrence under numerous possible options. My statistical likelihood of recurrence was no less with a double mastectomy, (it is 10% in any case) and I had already witnessed an appalling bad outcome in someone close to me; granted, the bad outcome was related to reconstruction, not the removal itself. So I did not want to go that route. 
 

In re: my niece/nephew, there are other reasons it feels like grief to me, but cutting off healthy br3asts when still a teen is not great no matter how I look at it. 
 

With that said, counseling could probably be helpful. But I find it really annoying that you think because cutting off your breasts immediately would be fine FOR YOU, I must be a head case to not want that to happen to a person with no cancer. 
 

If you say anything else offensive to me about this, I am blocking you immediately. 

You are taking my words WAY out of context.  I didn't say you were a head case.  I said if you felt grief over someone else's choice to remove breast tissue, then you might wish to seek counseling.  You are way over the top with your response.

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2 minutes ago, Shelydon said:

You are taking my words WAY out of context.  I didn't say you were a head case.  I said if you felt grief over someone else's choice to remove breast tissue, then you might wish to seek counseling.  You are way over the top with your response.

Everything that upsets us does not require counseling.  

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3 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

Everything that upsets us does not require counseling.  

But it does help a lot of the time. To have strong feelings about another person's body parts indicates a struggle that could benefit from talk therapy. 

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Just now, Scarlett said:

Everything that upsets us does not require counseling.  

Of course not. But Quill feels very strongly about this and is clearly have a hard time separating her own feelings and the realty for her nephew. I’m certain she doesn’t want to jeopardize her relationships and a therapist is far more skilled at teasing out all the layers than the Hive is (awesome as we are 🙂 ).

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I agree with starting to say "nephew" if that is what is going on.  I don't really know what the situation is, if that is the situation or not.  

But anyway -- ime to change the gender pronouns and use a different name, it feels really awkward at first.  It also feels like "I guess we are going along with this?"  

I would say my husband tried to change when he was more accepting that this was not something that would go away.  He never wanted to be rude towards his friend, but he would try to avoid the topic and avoid using the name or pronouns.  He would say "I don't even know what to call him now" and try to think of some gender-neutral word he could say like "buddy" which -- is really not gender neutral.  So he tried to just avoid it totally.  

Well -- it was a big step to change to pronouns and new name.  

And, when the change happened, it was not that my husband was 100% on board and supportive.  Not at all.

But it was a big step, still, and I think it was a good step.

Personally I also feel like it lacks in clarity, because how do you say "my nephew who used to be a woman" without having to come out and say that.  I think that at the end of the day -- it just becomes "my nephew" without a need to add that on or clarify that in most situations.  

But I think it is a really big step.  

I do think it would be desirable, but if that is not where you are, I think that is okay, too.

I think it is more like -- maybe it is something to start thinking about, not something to just suddenly start doing immediately!  

If you are not going to hurt anyone's feelings, then I think it is okay for it to take time.  

I also think it's okay to let relationships go because of not agreeing with another person's choices.  I do think that is an option.  If you know that is not what you want to do, then that is already a decision.  If that is where you are -- I do think a next step is to start thinking about using the different pronoun and not necessarily needing to specify "but he used to be a woman."  That is a big step.  

It is also awkward for me because -- my husband had sleepovers with his friend in high school, but as his wife, why would I be okay with him having had sleepovers with a woman?  Or any other thing that they did together, those things happened, to us, with a man and not with a woman.  They are things where it could seem strange to say they happened with a woman.  It would seem different than if they happened with a man.  It is even strange to me that my husband would say his best friend from high school is a woman.  He is not the kind of person who would have been best friends with a woman!  

But anyway -- it turns out that it really does not matter very much.  It turns out it is okay to just use the pronoun and name, and not need to explain, or think there is a need to explain.  

It really does get easier over time.  

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4 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I agree with starting to say "nephew" if that is what is going on.  I don't really know what the situation is, if that is the situation or not.  

But anyway -- ime to change the gender pronouns and use a different name, it feels really awkward at first.  It also feels like "I guess we are going along with this?"  

I would say my husband tried to change when he was more accepting that this was not something that would go away.  He never wanted to be rude towards his friend, but he would try to avoid the topic and avoid using the name or pronouns.  He would say "I don't even know what to call him now" and try to think of some gender-neutral word he could say like "buddy" which -- is really not gender neutral.  So he tried to just avoid it totally.  

Well -- it was a big step to change to pronouns and new name.  

And, when the change happened, it was not that my husband was 100% on board and supportive.  Not at all.

But it was a big step, still, and I think it was a good step.

Personally I also feel like it lacks in clarity, because how do you say "my nephew who used to be a woman" without having to come out and say that.  I think that at the end of the day -- it just becomes "my nephew" without a need to add that on or clarify that in most situations.  

But I think it is a really big step.  

I do think it would be desirable, but if that is not where you are, I think that is okay, too.

I think it is more like -- maybe it is something to start thinking about, not something to just suddenly start doing immediately!  

If you are not going to hurt anyone's feelings, then I think it is okay for it to take time.  

I also think it's okay to let relationships go because of not agreeing with another person's choices.  I do think that is an option.  If you know that is not what you want to do, then that is already a decision.  If that is where you are -- I do think a next step is to start thinking about using the different pronoun and not necessarily needing to specify "but he used to be a woman."  That is a big step.  

It is also awkward for me because -- my husband had sleepovers with his friend in high school, but as his wife, why would I be okay with him having had sleepovers with a woman?  Or any other thing that they did together, those things happened, to us, with a man and not with a woman.  They are things where it could seem strange to say they happened with a woman.  It would seem different than if they happened with a man.  It is even strange to me that my husband would say his best friend from high school is a woman.  He is not the kind of person who would have been best friends with a woman!  

But anyway -- it turns out that it really does not matter very much.  It turns out it is okay to just use the pronoun and name, and not need to explain, or think there is a need to explain.  

It really does get easier over time.  

Using proper pronouns saves lives. It is actually NOT acceptable to refuse to do so, even if it makes you uncomfortable. 

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Personally I think it's ludicrous to say this is an issue requiring counseling.  

If this was a parent/child relationship, I would feel differently.

But I don't think it's realistic to expect this to be something where you just snap your fingers and think everything is great.  

It is a big change!  It has a lot of ramifications!  

Suddenly you become the kind of person who has a friend who is transgender, after thinking you were not that kind of person.  And thinking "what weirdos."  This might be more just us, but it was the case for us.  

To say -- "well, you should have been that kind of person all along," I don't think really gets anywhere.  

 

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25 minutes ago, Shelydon said:

You are taking my words WAY out of context.  I didn't say you were a head case.  I said if you felt grief over someone else's choice to remove breast tissue, then you might wish to seek counseling.  You are way over the top with your response.

Feeling grief over a teen choosing to mutilate their body is a perfectly normal response. It is those that see nothing wrong with this that need therapy.

 

Susan in TX

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3 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Personally I think it's ludicrous to say this is an issue requiring counseling.  

If this was a parent/child relationship, I would feel differently.

But I don't think it's realistic to expect this to be something where you just snap your fingers and think everything is great.  

It is a big change!  It has a lot of ramifications!  

Suddenly you become the kind of person who has a friend who is transgender, after thinking you were not that kind of person.  And thinking "what weirdos."  This might be more just us, but it was the case for us.  

To say -- "well, you should have been that kind of person all along," I don't think really gets anywhere.  

 

What kind of therapist would say that?? Do you think that’s what therapy is?

And of course she might not need it, it was just offered up as a suggestion because she’s here reaching out for help. 

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3 minutes ago, Susan in TX said:

Feeling grief over a teen choosing to mutilate their body is a perfectly normal response. It is those that see nothing wrong with this that need therapy.

 

Susan in TX

Yeah, that’s not what this is though. Surgery isn’t mutilation. 

eta if that’s the perception though, more education and possibly counseling would indeed be helpful to better understand. That’s not a judgment. A lot of people struggle and that’s totally valid. But not learning more…isn’t okay if one wants to preserve a relationship. And since this her nephew, I think remaining close is important to her. 

Edited by MEmama
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If this is the same nephew you’ve discussed before, then him being transgender has been known for a while right? If so, then this is more about your difficulty with the surgery and I would assume that is due to what you’ve been through and really isn’t about him.

I don’t understand the niece/nephew stuff to know whether it’s you not accepting or if it’s something else. I get struggling with it all and my son is transgender. I also get how therapy can be really helpful in this and I wish my own sister had chosen some help with it because my young adult dc have nothing to do with her now.

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3 minutes ago, hippymamato3 said:

Using proper pronouns saves lives. It is actually NOT acceptable to refuse to do so, even if it makes you uncomfortable. 

I agree with this.  For our situation, we were not living in the same town when this was going on, and I my husband VERY early realized he would have to use the proper pronouns when talking to her.  Like -- after the first conversation when she said she was doing this thing!

But I think it is different to discuss someone and not use the proper pronouns, than to do it to someone's face.  

The thing is too -- though it's hard to know, gossip is that my husband's friend was wearing womens clothing for 2-3 years before she said anything about it to my husband, because we were not living the same place.  

I would say -- there was gossip about him wearing womens clothing, but it was not something brought up explicitly until she told my husband she was going to have surgery.  

I think I take it for granted -- of course op would use the desired words to someone's face, or just make an excuse not to see the person.  

But it is a good step to do it *all the time.*  It really makes a big difference.  

 

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3 minutes ago, MEmama said:

What kind of therapist would say that?? Do you think that’s what therapy is?

No, I don't think therapy is that way.

I think that is the intent when people say "you need therapy" and it is NOT an honest suggestion, but a judgment of "the thing you think is aberrant."  

Which -- I think it is being suggested both ways, as an honest, well-meant suggestion, and as a judgment.  Which -- is hard to tell over the Internet, too.  

 

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Honestly I think this whole thing is a fine process for someone to work through, over time, without needing a therapist, because I think it is a reaction that is NOT some horrible aberrant reaction.  

At the same time -- I think as an honest suggestion, and not a judgment, it is not a bad suggestion.  

But if you have never heard "you need to see a therapist" as an insult to throw at someone when you don't like their opinion, then I don't know -- I can just say, I have heard it used in that way.  

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I think it implies that it is shameful and should be a secret to have any feelings of discomfort or doubt, when *I* think those are natural feelings for many people to have.

AND I don't think that having those feelings means that someone is going to be rude to another person or make their acceptance conditional.  

I think it is a fair thing for it to be a process.  

And -- for my husband, he was not in person seeing it all happen over time, seeing it develop over time.  

That is possibly a difference between OP and her sister, if the sister has been seeing is all develop over time, while OP just sees snapshots and it could be a lot more sudden and shocking, compared to it being something where there have been signs for a long time and time to get used to the idea.  

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I am also very aware -- my husband's friend could have rejected or given up on the friendship, on her side, if she thought my husband was just some jerk.  

She gave him that grace.  

That was her choice to make.  

 

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Sending some hugs.  I haven't been in this position, but I would imagine that it something that family has to work through too.  Your feelings are valid and something that is good to talk through.  But the person having surgery is also entitled to their own thoughts and feelings that are valid too.  And their thoughts and feelings come first since it is their body.

As a parent (or an aunt) I can see how this would be hard to go through and I am sending you hugs and support while you go through this.  Maybe a support group with other people who are/did deal with this would be helpful.  

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7 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I am also very aware -- my husband's friend could have rejected or given up on the friendship, on her side, if she thought my husband was just some jerk.  

She gave him that grace.  

That was her choice to make.  

 

I agree and when I said my dc cut my sister out of their lives, it was after five years of them giving her grace. It was ok for them to decide that was enough. I believe the op has discussed this family member before so it’s been known for a while, which is why I mentioned this seemed to be more about just the surgery. 
 

Edit: Or maybe I’m completely wrong and the surgery just made op realize that this is a real and permanent decision where before she thought they might change their mind. Either way, there’s stuff to work through and how she does that depends on what kind of, if any, relationship she wants going forward.

Edited by Joker2
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I will also add-for many young adults, the clock is ticking. They likely have better insurance and coverage while they are still on their family plan than they will have once they age off. So, this may seem very sudden to you, but to your nephew, it is a brief window where he is a)old enough that doctors will do it at all and b) he is in a place where it is available at all. 

 

And I think that it would be more unusual for a breast cancer survivor to be able to be unfailingly supportive of any voluntary mastectomy than otherwise. 

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46 minutes ago, hippymamato3 said:

Using proper pronouns saves lives. It is actually NOT acceptable to refuse to do so, even if it makes you uncomfortable. 

It is acceptable to demand that someone lie?

You do understand that that is the demand that is being made of people who believe that biological sex is a primary defining characteristic of male-ness and fema-ness? And that many people believe lying to be morally wrong?

Why is such a demand acceptable?

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I wish that there was a less drastic way to address the underlying issue.

In my 20s I would have thought that surgery was NBD—you have it, you get better, you move on.  People talked about face lifts and boob jobs fairly often, although I’m not sure I know anyone who had either one, and it was just part of life.  

But now that I’ve lived some decades beyond that immortal age, I can see how long term as well as short term effects of major surgery can impact a lot more than just the immediate, obvious appearance issues, and it makes me want to be able to picture a less invasive alternative.

I don’t think that all of the people who are transitioning now are going to be cured by it—no question, some are, but not all.  And it is undeniably an extreme measure, particularly bottom surgery, which makes it all the more risky.  I wish that it was easier to live as one wants to present, so that the surgery would not be as crucial.  There is a novel that more or less presents that option, and I wish more people would think it through:  “This is How It Always Is”.

I don’t blame you for feeling a loss in this situation.  While your loss is not the major issue, it’s not insignificant either.

I think that someday this era will be looked back on in the way that we look back on frontal lobotomies now, but in order for that to happen a third alternative needs to become manifest.  The way to that is probably single person public restrooms, social acceptance (including availability of clothing) of gender presentations that are not necessarily immutable or in accord with the physical, and a reduction in the immense and contradictory pressures on young women.

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I only have a more distant experience with this particular type of situation, although I've certainly experienced people very close to me that have made life choices and decisions so different than what I would have expected, that it feels like they're almost a different person.  It can feel excruciating.

I do think it's okay to just accept that you're grieving, that it's painful, that it's confusing...  And then in the midst of that, you make the choice to keep loving them.  (Which obviously you're doing already.)  Life is hard and things will happen that don't make sense to us which we may never fully understand.  We don't always have to understand or agree with choices other people make.   But when they are people we care for, we just keep loving them, we don't put conditions (to change) on them, and we continue to be there for them.  We value who they are.  Over time, it's the love part that wins out and the other parts fade to the background, or sometimes fade away altogether.  

At least, that's been my experience. 

@Lecka, I admire how your dh handled the situation with his friend!

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

It is acceptable to demand that someone lie?

You do understand that that is the demand that is being made of people who believe that biological sex is a primary defining characteristic of male-ness and fema-ness? And that many people believe lying to be morally wrong?

Why is such a demand acceptable?

I think of it as a courtesy to address people as they wish to be addressed. I believe that homeopathy is dangerous and false.  But if someone wishes to be addressed as a doctor of homeopathy, I would bite my tongue and do it.

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46 minutes ago, Susan in TX said:

Feeling grief over a teen choosing to mutilate their body is a perfectly normal response. It is those that see nothing wrong with this that need therapy.

 

Susan in TX

Those of us that support trans human beings exercising personal bodily autonomy need therapy? Judgmental much?

But, let me guess, forcibly circumcising infant boys without their consent is no problem? Mhmmm.  

 

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Hugs, Quill.

It's totally understandable that you need to grieve and process before you get to full acceptance. And, of course, as part of the processing you will compare and contrast in relation to your own experience because you're a human and that's what we do. You'll move past that part of the processing and be able to separate the two eventually. 
 

You said yourself that it's harder than you expected to reach acceptance, so it seems like you are on the path that leads to maintaining your relationships with your sister and nephew and that it is just going to take some time. If you feel like talking with a professional may help you with the process, it could be helpful. But, if you feel like you just need some time to work through your own feelings and grief process, that is okay too. Acknowledging how you really feel is a great start.
 

In the meantime, if you want you can still be supportive to your family members by inquiring how their healing from surgery is going, wishing them well in the recovery process, and giving your sister an ear if she needs it and is taking on the caretaker role during your nephew's recovery. You can still acknowledge that caretaking is strenuous and be supportive in a way that feels good to you, such as getting them a restaurant gift card or taking them a ready to eat meal if they are nearby. You can acknowledge that surgery happened without having to discuss with them why it happened. 

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@Quill I think there could be sadness and distress too if it were even an elective substantial reduction (not even full mastectomies) because a young person wanted to do that for ballet or similar reasons.  A similar  sense of grief or distress about elective removal of healthy tissue could exist for someone close to the person getting surgery — and all the more so for someone who has had b cancer. To me it seems normal that it would be so. 

(eta: I think in recent times for ballet etc there’s been more emphasis on accepting ones body as it is, but when I was younger, surgeries to fit stereotypes for activities like that happened with several people in my sphere.) 

Edited by Pen
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On 6/17/2021 at 8:45 AM, maize said:

It is acceptable to demand that someone lie?

You do understand that that is the demand that is being made of people who believe that biological sex is a primary defining characteristic of male-ness and fema-ness? And that many people believe lying to be morally wrong?

Why is such a demand acceptable?

As if.                   have never lied in your whole entire lives. Never told a stinking white lie to a family member, a little old lady, or a grocery store clerk because it was the polite thing to do. Give me a break.

Someone asks, "How are you today?"

(You've had a terrible day) You say, "Fine." You don't go on and on with the truth about your crap day because no one really wants to hear about it.

You just smile and say the polite thing. 

Same here. Don't pass on your bigotry with your selective moralizing. Just smile and do the polite thing. 

 

Edited by desertflower
A personal attack
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43 minutes ago, Joker2 said:

If this is the same nephew you’ve discussed before, then him being transgender has been known for a while right? If so, then this is more about your difficulty with the surgery and I would assume that is due to what you’ve been through and really isn’t about him.

I don’t understand the niece/nephew stuff to know whether it’s you not accepting or if it’s something else. I get struggling with it all and my son is transgender. I also get how therapy can be really helpful in this and I wish my own sister had chosen some help with it because my young adult dc have nothing to do with her now.

Yes, same one I have mentioned before, so we are a few years into name change, public identity and family being informed. But I disagree that *this* specifically is no big deal, just because the identity stuff has been underway for a while. 
 

So, here’s my thought that some people here will intensely disagree with: adolescence is a time of figuring out identity. We, as a society, acknowledge that in many other areas of identity: the kid who dresses in black and dyes their hair purple is not necessarily going to do that when they are thirty. Kids may think, “I’m a theatre rat” or “I’m an athlete” or “I’m an honor student.” But nobody has surgery to make that known; nobody has to permanently alter their body for those times of working out identity. 
 

In the past, I’m sure lots of people struggled with being female or male for some period of time. But altering their body permanently was not a possibility and they typically did not continue to struggle with it. I’m not sure we are doing the right thing as a society to say that permanent alterations are necessary for every child who struggles for a while with gender identity. 
 

There are such things as trans-desisters. Probably spelled wrong. But people who start transitioning and then desist. 

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3 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

As if you moral highgrounders have never lied in your whole entire lives. Never told a stinking white lie to family member or little old lady because it was the polite thing to do. Give me a break.

Some asks, "How are you today?"

(You've had a terrible day) You say, "Fine." You don't go on and on with the truth.

You just smile and say the polite thing. 

Same here. Don't pass on your bigotry with your selective moralizing. Just smile and do the polite thing. 

 

That was very harsh.  Not like you at all.  😞

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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

Yes, same one I have mentioned before, so we are a few years into name change, public identity and family being informed. But I disagree that *this* specifically is no big deal, just because the identity stuff has been underway for a while. 
 

So, here’s my thought that some people here will intensely disagree with: adolescence is a time of figuring out identity. We, as a society, acknowledge that in many other areas of identity: the kid who dresses in black and dyes their hair purple is not necessarily going to do that when they are thirty. Kids may think, “I’m a theatre rat” or “I’m an athlete” or “I’m an honor student.” But nobody has surgery to make that known; nobody has to permanently alter their body for those times of working out identity. 
 

In the past, I’m sure lots of people struggled with being female or male for some period of time. But altering their body permanently was not a possibility and they typically did not continue to struggle with it. I’m not sure we are doing the right thing as a society to say that permanent alterations are necessary for every child who struggles for a while with gender identity. 
 

There are such things as trans-desisters. Probably spelled wrong. But people who start transitioning and then desist. 

Quill,

I fully support trans folks and their right to bodily autonomy, but I agree with you. If I had a trans kid, I would want for them to wait for their prefrontal cortex to finish developing before they made any huge life altering decisions that were permanent. A dumb tattoo can be lasered off, piercing holes can close, but surgically altering your body is forever, and although I am not likening a tattoo or piercings to transitioning so that the person you are on the outside matches the person you are on the inside (truly, I am not), I do know that the person we are on the inside is still coming into shape as a teen. I would personally feel much better, as a parent, if that maturation were a little bit closer to being complete. Having said that, I don't know the whole background, and don't know how old this boy is -- 19 isn't the same as 14, obviously.

I am the mother of two boys and my oldest will be 13 in January. I can only say from my limited parenting experience that my oldest is nowhere near being close to mature enough (brain development-wise) to make permanent decisions, so I would have a hard time supporting a decision like this in the next few years vs I would be fully supportive if this was something he wanted in his early to mid 20s.  

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31 minutes ago, maize said:

It is acceptable to demand that someone lie?

You do understand that that is the demand that is being made of people who believe that biological sex is a primary defining characteristic of male-ness and fema-ness? And that many people believe lying to be morally wrong?

Why is such a demand acceptable?

How is it lying to refer to a person by the pronoun/name/title they wish to be referred by?

Let's say someone believes marriage is forever and divorce morally wrong. Would they continue to refer to a divorcee who has reverted back to her maiden name or has taken a second husband's name by their first married name? I think not. That would be rather rude. 

Edited by regentrude
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Just a further thought on my most recent post: 

I don’t see how it is any different from a teen who loathes some aspect of their body/face and wants plastic surgery to change it. When I was a teen, I had very small boobs and classmates made up mean and harassing nick-names about my flat chest. It sucked. But I don’t think many people would have advised my parents to have bre$st implants so I could get away from my feelings about my small boobs. And fortunately, by the time I was old enough to actually consider getting brea$t implants, I had made peace with the super lithe body I have. 
 

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I speak as someone who would happily get rid of her breasts if my insurance would pay for it(no medical need so they won’t, not even reduction).  
But I get where Quill is coming from, tbh.  She fought hard to save a part of her body that was diseased and is watching someone she loves very much go through a painful surgery to get rid of the same, albeit healthy, tissue.  I think there are layers of confusion and even grief there that are understandable.  

It’s okay to feel however you want about your body and it’s parts. She’s not telling her loved one not to do it; she’s only recognizing the conflicting feelings it presents.  I don’t see the need for harsh commentary on that. 

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15 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

As if you moral highgrounders have never lied in your whole entire lives. Never told a stinking white lie to a family member, a little old lady, or a grocery store clerk because it was the polite thing to do. Give me a break.

Someone asks, "How are you today?"

(You've had a terrible day) You say, "Fine." You don't go on and on with the truth about your crap day because no one really wants to hear about it.

You just smile and say the polite thing. 

Same here. Don't pass on your bigotry with your selective moralizing. Just smile and do the polite thing. 

 

What I find particularly egregious is the total disregard for the life of the other person. PP is commenting on a post saying that using correct pronouns can save lives. It totally comes across as “Who cares? I think that’s a lie, which I view as morally wrong, so I’d rather they kill themselves than compromise my morality.” As if being part of the cause of someone’s suicide isn’t compromising morality. Unconscionable.

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I hope that the therapeutic process your family member has been through has been holistic and comprehensive enough that this is the right path for him in life.  

It's ok to feel the way that you feel about it.  I heavily edited my feelings when my brother did the same at a young age out of concern for my sibling over myself.  It was not healthy for me to do that and I had to process it much later than I probably should have.  You don't need to put your feelings on your relative or make your reaction his issue while he recovers but you also shouldn't feel guilty or badly for having them.  One of the most toxic beliefs I have come across is that nothing is about anything except for the trans person and their feelings.  That's not how life works.  We are all humans who live in families and communities with each other and have a wide range of human reactions and that's ok.  Having lifetime relationships redefined is an adjustment.  Expecting everyone to instantly accept that is unrealistic and even a bit cruel.  Two things can be true at once.  Having ambivalent feelings doesn't mean that someone will be cruel or unkind.  

 

Edited by LucyStoner
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3 minutes ago, Quill said:

Just a further thought on my most recent post: 

I don’t see how it is any different from a teen who loathes some aspect of their body/face and wants plastic surgery to change it. When I was a teen, I had very small boobs and classmates made up mean and harassing nick-names about my flat chest. It sucked. But I don’t think many people would have advised my parents to have bre$st implants so I could get away from my feelings about my small boobs. And fortunately, by the time I was old enough to actually consider getting brea$t implants, I had made peace with the super lithe body I have. 
 

This is not at all the same thing. Not even close. 

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