Take My Breasts, Please! Young Women’s Crisis of Identity

It’s time to talk about breasts.

Specifically, mastectomies – The surgical removal of breast tissue. According to the Mayo Clinic, this procedure is intended for those suffering from breast cancer, or those at high risk of same.

But, like so many other things, this procedure is being used in what can only be called an “off-label” way to treat transgender people. Transmen (that’s self-loathing women, for those keeping score) are starting to tell their stories of undergoing this procedure without understanding its ramifications. They describe a streamlined pipeline, wherein chopping off titties is treated as just the next step to fulfilling your dreams.

Nightmare

Don’t worry, honey – We can cure the nightmare of Womanhood with crowdfunding!

I bring this up now for two reasons:

  1. The media tends to focus on transwomen, the Laverne Coxes and Caitlyn Jenners of the world. But in the younger set, transmen (girls) far outnumber them. Some measures put this number at 4:1.
  2. We are reaching critical mass.

Listen to the Doctors

The UK appears to be Ground Zero for this modern social contagion. The Tavistock Centre is the only “gender development” (a phrase which should give us pause) clinic in Britain.

The past three years have seen upwards of 30 resignations from Tavistock. It appears not everyone is on board with the Brave New World.

Now, one of them has taken the institution to court.

Susan Evans was a psychiatric nurse at Tavistock. The 62 year old conscience-bearer has brought suit with the High Court against the Trust that runs the Centre, and the National Health Service itself. She is joined by a woman called “Mrs. A.”, a mother concerned for her 15 year old daughter who wants to be a boy, and Keira Bell, a desisted transman.

We Don’t Want to Be Girls (read: Sub-Human)

Keira is the one making headlines. She has taken over the role of lead plaintiff, telling interviewers, “The treatment urgently needs to change so that it does not put young people, like me, on a torturous and unnecessary path that is permanent and life-changing.”

Young Widow

Can’t you see I have my own shit I’m dealing with??

Keira is 23 now. She has a better understanding of herself than when she started treatment at 16. She had her breasts removed at 20, after years of hiding them. Hiding from them.

“Hormone-changing drugs and surgery doesn’t work for everyone and it certainly should not be offered to someone under the age of 18 when they are emotionally and mentally vulnerable.”

My heart breaks for Keira and girls like her. If I were 15 years younger, I would be lining up for my testosterone. I went through what is apparently an all-too-common phase back when none of this literature or infrastructure existed.

The Personal Can Make You Political

I intuitively understood that any kind of transition would really just be trading one set of problems for another. Just to be practical, I’m 5’4″ with 40″ hips. No one is ever going to mistake me for a man.

I hacked my way through the jungle of internalized misogyny born of being an underachieving “gifted” kid, who perverts assume is a nympho. (Thanks, pop culture stereotypes!) And I did it mostly alone. I spent some time in queer spaces through my 20s but never really felt at home there.

I was 27 before I understood radical acceptance. Before I really saw that I identified with male characters because they were the ones doing interesting things. That tampons are $5 a box but condoms are free and plentiful.

Kids

Let kids be kids!

Etc., etc., ad nauseum.  I do not blame these droves of young women for opting out of being a sex object in this culture where violent porn is mainstream. I get it.

We Must Support Young Women in Defining Themselves

Fast-tracking them onto puberty blockers that reduce bone density and most never come off of is not a good idea.

Most gender non-conforming children – You remember us, the Tomboys and Sissies of yesteryear – eventually find a way to accept ourselves as we are. This was considered the best possible outcome until recently. How exactly are drugs and surgery better?

Many of us grow up to be homosexual. Gay erasure, converting little potential homos into the opposite sex, is a frightening implication few are talking about. I’m not a lesbian myself, maybe bi-leaning at this point. I am married with children, for all intents and purposes a straight, white lady.

But I’m far from normal in other ways.

Growing up is learning to accept and even love our difficult pieces. Doctors intervening in the fights we have with ourselves to sell us ammunition is wrong. It denies young people the opportunity to grow up, mentally and emotionally, as well as physically blocking puberty.

Bless Your Heart

You might as well try them out before you throw them away!

It also sterilizes them for life. Which I’m strongly against.

If you don’t go through puberty properly, your reproductive system doesn’t develop fully. It’s not complicated.

And the scores of young women being sold “top surgery” (On Instagram, for fuck’s sake!) as the answer to their pesky problem of wanting to be seen as people are amputating sexual organs before they even have a chance to use them for anything. Which is also wrong. As well as downright unscientific.

This will not be the last lawsuit. But, while it may be cathartic to see these clinics brought to task, the culture that allowed this to happen has to be our focus.

How have we failed young women to the extent they are completely disconnected from their bodies? 

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