…what on earth is it, then?
Here goes with another of those posts that doesn’t quite neatly fit into my division between “Sex Matters“, my general/political blog, and this one – the personal blog.
In today’s Grauniad i had a piece published about surgical interventions. The theme of the piece was how the male surgical establishment seemed to combine arrogance and ignorance in about equal measure when it came to matters of female sexuality.
In three separate areas – intersex, transgender and cis women – they make judgments of what is appropriate that could only possibly come from someone with no idea at all about the way female genitalia actually work. As throwaway remark in the article, i mentioned my own future surgery. I wrote: “With luck, I shall emerge with a vagina and some semblance of a clitoris”.
Now, its not as though i don’t know the ins and outs of this subject (no pun intended!). I certainly do not harbour some misconception that the addition of these two bits will magically transform me in a way that all the other steps – from hormones, through to socialisation – are already doing.
I am also very well aware that there are other bits that i will never gain: i will never have the joy of a functional uterus, or periods, or fear of getting pregnant.
I’ve already suggested elsewhere that i find the debate of what it is to be a “real” woman to be both tedious and largely pointless. I will be what i will be – and i am sure that different people will see me in a variety of different lights.
So i use the terms – vagina and clitoris – because they seem to be the closest approximations to what i will have physically, biologically. And that’s that.
Yet even that is not good enough for some people. One commenter, whose main interest appears to be F1 racing opines, bluntly: “This is simply not true – you will not have a vagina”.
Another suggests that I won’t have one…and then goes on to explain i can never be a full biological woman.
Who’s kidding whom here? I know full well what i will and won’t have – and i would certainly never, ever equate “being a woman” with the shape of my genitals.
Is this just some straw man argument, being set up to knock me down? Is it so inaccurate to use those words to describe the post-operative result?
And if it is, what other words should one use?