The fear…the terror

OK. I did promise, last post, to look seriously ahead to next year. I didn’t: no space.

I try to keep these personal posts down in terms of word count. Makes my life easier. Yours, too, I hope, since it keeps them readable.

And this is a somewhat bleaker, darker thought.

Anyway, the theology debate set me off on a highly morbid journey. One word used by the theologian, of the church view of what I intend, is “mutilation”. Doing research for the piece, I had to dabble in a few Christian sites – including the truly awful Christian Institute one.

They are a mix. Some disapprove of what we do – operatively – because it runs counter to God’s will and/or to nature, involves “mutilating” a perfectly healthy body, when all I truly need (!) is a bit of psychotherapy to help me accept my innate “maleness”. Others disapprove more viscerally.

The difficulty, I think, is that both sides use the language of christian concern. One side genuinely feels it…and on that, i include a lovely couple from my own parish who are not especially close to me but who, early in this process, stepped up and mentioned that I was in their prayers.

That, I felt, was the true christian approach: they don’t wholly get what I’m about; it clearly is not for them; but it is not for them to interfere and they will therefore do the most and the best that they can do, which is to seek to intercede for my soul. Good for them!

Others, though – and I include in this the likes of Paul McHugh, who has campaigned against trans medical support in the US, may talk about acceptance and compassion…but either they are too dumb to realise that their banging on about the subject the way they do CAUSES violence against the transgendered: or behind the nice words, they harbour a real hatred for us. Pass. I don’t know the answer.

But back to mutilation.

I hate operations.

I’ve had next to none in my life. The point where the anaesthetic is administered is truly terrifying…becaue at that point I go to sleep and maybe…just maybe won’t wake again.

Or I’ll wake and I’ll be disabled. Incontinent (a serious risk with gender re-assignment surgery). Oh: you name it, I am capable of imagining it.

It is truly darkly, bleakly petrifying. The thought of the consequences of something going wrong. The realisation, too, that there will be pain. A lot of pain for a long time after.

I really am a coward when it comes to this stuff. I hate the thought.

Which is why the m-word is so scary. Yes: my life now is not bad. Happier with my body than I ever have been. I could go on like this…and on and on…

Couldn’t I?

No. Its not right. With every step of the way, the inevitability of that final op has become clearer and clearer. I can’t live half-transitioned. I want it now…tomorrow if they’d take me.

That knowledge – coupled with the enormity of what the next step entails – suddenly got a whole lot realler. Like, for someone scared of flying, the point where, after an uneventful flight, the announcement comes over the cabin speaker: “fasten seatbelts and prepare to land”.

I’ve been cruising. I’m not “landing” just yet: but soon, at some specific, definite point next year, I will enter the operating theatre, will go to sleep, and awake….

…to a life that will be wholly different from everything that has gone before. The terror, right now, is beyond words.

Forgive me, therefore, if there are moments in the months to come, when a little of that bleakness filters out into what I write.



4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    CatherineCC said,

    McHugh is the equivalent of a “cleaner” for the catholic church.
    He’s also been a “expert” witness on the side of the catholic church in sexual abuse cases and has testified countless times that memories of rape by priests are simply false memories. His CV also includes making hateful statements the murdered abortion doctor Dr. George Tiller – the murderer admitted that McHugh’s statements influenced him. The Kansas Attorney General even threatened McHugh with legal action if he did not stop.

    And there was the string of 8 men who have since been convicted of the sexual abuse of children while under his care. And the pregnant 10 year old girl who was raped by an adult relative – Paul said abortion was wrong in that case.

    Yes, they harbor a real hatred towards us and anything else that doesn’t jive with the dogma of the catholic church.
    My dear, there are christians who welcome and support us. They’re not the majority. Catholics most certainly are not.

    • 2

      janefae said,


      are you posting from the US…or UK?

      and from within or without any particular church?

      That probably makes a difference. In my own experience, for all that the catholic church claim to universality, each national church tends to take on its own particular national flavour and my own suspicion is that the US church is far more reactionary than the UK version of same.

      I am well aware of the stated doctrines…having just spent time talking to some fairly senior bods within the church…and its not quite the doom and gloom that many would claim it to be: McHugh appears to be someone with both an axe to grind in respect of trans and, sadly, the ear of the Vatican in respect of many (sexual) issues.

      At a personal level, though, i’d make two observations: so far, i have had little other than solid support and welcome from my own (catholic) congregation. The official position is that transition, even including the op, is far from the worst thing i could do…and probably rather less of an issue than “living in sin”. It neither cuts me off, nor places me into some untouchable category.

      Which is not to say that those with bigoted agendas of their own are beyond using doctrine to have a go.

      Would be very interested to hear from other with direct experience of how their church has reacted to their transition.


  2. 3

    Sarah Brown said,

    It’s natural to be scared – SRS is a. Seriously daunting prospect regardless of how you feel about surgery in general (I was terrified too). You *will* get through it.

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