Fuck yeah buddy!!!! That’s awesome news, congrats! It makes me so happy to hear and see trans* folks finding their way in this world, despite all the road blocks put in our way… The first step is often the hardest and I’m both super stoked for you and super proud of you. Keep your head up and feel free if you have any questions, or if you just wanna come off anon and say Hi. Good luck, my friend.
*Sigh. I’ve been sitting on this question for a little bit now, and I really want to give you an informed answer, but if I’m going to do that- I also have to take a minute and point out how problematic the language in your question is.
Trans* folks have to work day in and day out, proving themselves. Proving our identity, proving we’re trans* enough for resources, proving we’re human beings at all…I know that we don’t have adequate language to properly describe the trans* experience, but we really, really need to get away from using words like “real” when comparing trans* experiences. Our experiences are real and what’s more, our bodies are real, no matter what surgeries we choose to pursue (or not.)
"Which one would work like a real one?" somehow implies that our genitals are never real, that they aren’t real to begin with, and that even if we pursue surgery, we are just chasing a "realness" that will never exist for us. This idea that the cis body is the "real" body while the trans* body is only the imitation is not only problematic, but it’s also just untrue.
In terms of answering your question, you’re right, there are two procedures. I want to say, this is no replacement for actually researching the procedures, and I will be leaving out many details, but I can give you a quick run down. The first, a metoidioplasty, releases the clitoris (usually enlarged from T) allowing for it to protrude more and become erect. Along with this procedure, folks will often have the urethra extended to pee from the newly formed penis as well as testicular implants. This is the less invasive of the two procedures and sensation remains excellent for most folks, however, size often remains an issue and penetrative sex can be difficult for some, and impossible for others.
In the second procedure, phalloplasty, muscle and other tissues are taken from a donor site (such as the forearm, thigh or lat muscle from the back). Here, the surgeon will create a phallus from the donor tissue, allowing the person to essentially pick the size of their penis ahead of time. Like with the other procedure, urethra extension and testicular implants are usually part of the surgery as well. About 9 months after this procedure, the surgeon can then go back and place an implant inside the penis, which allows the patient to achieve an erection by filling the penis with a saline solution (which stays in a small sac implanted inside). This surgery is obviously more invasive as it requires healing in the genital area as well as the donor site. Additionally, sensation is harder to predict following this procedure, but most guys end up with fairly good sensation from the research I’ve done.
Sadly, there is so much negative rhetoric around bottom surgery for trans men, and a perfect example would be your referring to someone’s penis as a decoration. This is someone’s life and body we’re talking about…not a god damn christmas tree. If a cis man suddenly becomes impotent at some point in his life, does his penis become “a decoration?” No, of course not, it’s still his penis. We have to get away from using such negative and damaging language and terminology when having these conversations. I have read a lot of personal testimonies from trans men regarding both surgeries, as well as seeing the results first hand, either by photo or in person in a few instances, and the truth is, both surgeries are good options, and I have seen beautiful results from each. (I have also seen folks have complications from both of the surgeries and it’s important to keep the risks in mind.)
This should not be so much about “which surgery is more like the ‘real’ thing,” and more about “what am I hoping to get out of this procedure?”
Some important questions to consider might be:
- How important is size and/or penetration?
- How important is sensation, am I willing to take potential risks with that?
- How important is aesthetic? Is it important for me to stand at a urinal or in a men’s locker room and see a penis that most resembles a cis male penis?
- Do I want to be able to stand up to pee?
- These are both invasive procedures, is my body physically capable of recovering well from it? Are there other health concerns?
- Do scars bother me? If so, phalloplasty may not be the best option, as the donor site often leaves quite the scar.
- Do I want to feel the warmth of a flaccid penis against my leg as I walk or sleep? If so, perhaps a larger penis is important.
I really hope I’ve been able to give you an answer here that not only informs you a little bit about bottom surgery, but also about ways that we can talk about it in a more positive way…This is important, not only for the global conversations around trans* folks and surgery, but also, just in the conversations you might have with your boyfriend about it in the future.
Best of luck to you.
Thank you, thank you!! Recovery is going so so well! I’m working out again, and going through the motions with scar treatment now. I’m more stoked about my chest with every passing day and it’s now on to the next phase of my journey. Thanks for all the support, you’re beautiful!
I like being fabulously anything! :)
Be yourself. Follow your guts. You know yourself better than anyone else will ever know you and you’re the only one that should ever decide how to express your gender identity. The truth is, it is a scary thing to do. It’s scary coming out to your loved ones, and it really hurts when some of those people don’t accept you…But you have to spend the rest of your life in your body, shouldn’t it be spent in whatever way makes YOU most comfortable? Transitioning is hard, I’d be lying if I said it’s easy, or that it doesn’t come with risks and costs…At the end of the day, for me anyway, it was a matter of either spending the rest of my life desperately trying to fit into some category that made everyone but me feel more comfortable, or living an authentic life. That being said, you can totally be a handsome girl. You can be a non-binary gender fucker. You can be a beautiful man. There are a million possibilities, you just have to find the one that works for you.