Being a transgender man from my childhood I always desired to be a man. However, I was born in a female body. I used to observe the cis male bodies and I always had compared my body to theirs, at the back of the mind. Such comparisons are mostly inevitable. I have constantly compared my body with cisgender men’s – their beard, their muscles, height, hands, and so on. These comparisons have often increased my vulnerability and made me more insecure about my own body. When I started my transition in 2017, the comparison took a different turn as though I looked like a cis man, I also seemed younger than the age I actually was, which had people not believing what my actual age. I had the desire to look like my age and have the body of a cis man of my age.
In January this year, I opted for top surgery which is a bilateral mastectomy, also called ‘top surgery’, which entailed the removal of the breasts and the shaping of a male contoured chest. I opted for surgery without any proper counselling and I was expecting miracles. There were many things that I have realised after my surgery. When we start our medical transition, we cross a gender binary without properly understanding how things are going to be and that we can never go back to fitting into the binaries again.
These binary bodies are considered acceptable in society
which creates a lot of pressure on trans people to conform to the binary .
As I did not have any proper counselling, I was not prepared for what was going to come. The societies we live in consist of two forms of bodies – cis female and cis male. Only these binary bodies are considered acceptable in our society which creates a lot of pressure on trans people to conform to them. We are often feel stuck due to this pressure and forget to explore our dysphoria in order to know what sort of transition – social, medical or legal – we desire or if we desire any sort of transition at all.
I have seen many trans people being so pressurised by that they want to opt for bottom surgery just for society rather than that they feel dysphoric. I also had the same impression regarding our bodies. I had a cis female body before I opted for the top surgery. Now I don’t have breasts, but I still don’t have the body of a cis male – then what is my body? My body does not conform to any sort of societal norms regarding the so-called ‘normal’ bodies. So what is my body? Also, my breasts were a part of my body for over 27 years. It is not that I missed them, however, it did take time for me to adjust with the fact that they were not part of my body anymore. There were even moments of self-doubt where I used to wonder if I made the right choice to opt for surgery.
Also read: Is Gender Transition A Need Or A Wish?
Also, we never talk about post-surgical depression and issues like sudden hair fall after the plastic surgery. Trans people need to more aware of the post-surgical depression that happens after the surgery. The symptoms such as loss of sleep/excessive sleeping, anxiety/stress, feelings of despair/hopelessness, loss of appetite and many more, should be taken seriously. If any trans person experiences these symptoms even after 2 weeks of their surgery, perhaps they should contact a mental health professional and seek help. Do not hesitate to do so. It is perfectly okay to feel this way. In my case, I was extremely anxious about my nipples and about recovery. At times I was so anxious I could not concentrate on anything and could not sleep for days. Also, I started having hair fall from all parts of my body, however, it stopped after a month. Hence, immense amounts of counselling about surgeries is important.
I don’t wish to be like a cis man anymore, I am comfortable with my body. My body is trans and I am in love with it.
After 3 months since my surgery, I can safely say it was one of the best decisions I have taken in my life. Now I do not feel that conscious about my body. Though I am still on the road to recovery, wearing vests and t-shirts have become a very liberating experience for me now. My dysphoria levels have come down immensely and I am more confident about my body. Now every time I look into the mirror, I see the exact the guy I always felt I was on the inside.
Also read: Meet 4 Trans People Who Documented Their Transitions Online
Just like our gender, our bodies also fall on a spectrum. The comparisons I used to make were because of the societal construct that a man can be only a man if he had a cis body. However, I am a man with a vagina who used to undergo menstruation and who has a beard and someone who can pass as cis very easily. My body is in trans umbrella in that body spectrum. I don’t wish to be like a cis man anymore, I am comfortable with my body. My body is trans and I am in love with it. This is my way of being a man!
Jamal has recorded his transition which can be found on his YouTube channel.