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Posts Tagged ‘sex reassignment surgery’

A few days ago, I have rediscovered one of my favorite YouTube bloggers, Princess Joules (Julie Vu). Princess Joules has been documenting her transition from male-to-female for about 3 years. About 5 months ago, she went under sex reassignment surgery and made a complete transition. What I love about her videos is that she is honest about her experiences. In the video below, she tells us about her feelings as she is an hour away from surgery.In class, we’ve read about how a transgender person must have a psychological assessment done before they are approved for sex reassignment surgery. I personally felt that it was upsetting that they had to prove that surgery was necessary; society should not be able to police our bodies, especially when we know ourselves best. However, Princess Joules tells us the truth about her feelings – something that most of us would not expect…

After seeing this video, a few questions came to mind:

  • Before Princess Joules came out as transgender, she came out as a gay male. I want to know if surgery changed her perception of her own sexuality. Because she believes that, internally, she is a female and belongs in a female body, and she is now a legal female, is her sexuality labelled as straight?
  • How do most transgender people define their sexuality after their transition into their true selves?
  • If we completely got rid of gender roles, gender, and sexuality (LGBT), how would we define our self?

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I know that as a class we are a pretty open group of people, but because this is a public blog (and because I am unsure how people will feel about me posting pictures) I am going to refrain from doing so for this particular post, however, if you are interested in finding pictures they are very easy to come across online. I will also warn you that the sites I have posted do contain graphic pictures, so don’t visit them if you don’t want to see the pictures.

Interestingly enough, I stumbled upon this topic after our class discussion of a utopian society in which all babies were born with the possibility of all inheriting any genetic traits from the entire population. A conflict arose when two groups of people argued whether or not they should “exclude the negative traits” without ever specifying what those negative traits are or might be. Well, I figure this is easily something that could be seen as a “negative trait”- the microphallus or micropenis.

According to http://www.micropenis.biz/p/micropenis-information.html  and Wikipedia, a micropenis can be defined as “an erect penis that is 2.5 standard deviations less than the average human penis size”. However, the two sites differ on what the average erect human penis size is. The first site defines a micropenis as being 9 centimeters or 3.5 inches or less, while the second site defines it as 7 centimeters or 2.5 inches or less. According to the websites, 0.5-0.6% of the male population has this condition. But does having a condition mean that you suffer from it?

It is possible. Even the author of micropenis.biz says that he “suffers” from the condition. Some people think they no longer suffer if the condition goes away with some form of treatment.

In the 1960s and 70s sex reassignment surgery was recommended for the micropenis condition, and if the parents consented, the testes would be removed, an artificial vagina would be constructed, and the boy would be raised as a girl. Even at our very own Johns Hopkins Hospital they performed 12 of these surgeries. However, these surgeries were based on three assumptions that are now in question:

  1. gender identity and sex differences were solely a matter of social learning rather than biology.
  2. a male with a penis too small to put into a vagina could not find a satisfactory social and sexual place in society.
  3. a functionally acceptable vagina could be constructed surgically

Because intersex individuals and some of these patients believe that children’s sex organs, sexual identity, and gender identity shouldn’t be decided for them, or regretted the surgeries that have been performed on them, many of these surgeries have stopped and parents are waiting until their children are old enough to make the decisions for themselves.

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