The Fallacy of ‘Cosmetic’ Surgery for Trans People

March 26, 2012 ·

A woman who was arrested last year for providing dangerous “butt enhancement” shots consisting of cement, caulk, tire sealant, and other toxic and troublesome substances is facing new charges as more victims come forward. I don’t know how many of this woman’s clients were trans, but I suspect that at least a few were.

The fact that this underground business is thriving – and destroying women’s health and lives – is a testament to the problem of classifying transition surgeries and other treatments as “cosmetic” as opposed to medically necessary.

In my opinion, no trans-related surgery or procedure should be classified as “cosmetic,” whether it’s chest reconstruction/augmentation, genital correction, facial feminization/masculinization surgery, or any other procedures related to transition.

There are certain treatments that are medically necessary for those people who need to transition and live in the world as their correct sex and gender. Some of those treatments might involve corrections to the body other than the standard “top” and “bottom” surgeries.

While both women and men come in many shapes and sizes, there are particular body shapes that reflect “femaleness,” including a rounded hip-and-butt area. For some trans women, this type of shape is important in their medical transition, both psychologically and functionally (consider the cut of women’s clothing compared to that of men’s).

We have seen how important it is because many specialty shops that cater to trans women offer padded undergarments and other prosthetic devices that provide this “female” appearance. We have also seen how important it is when we see the continued demand for illegal “butt enhancement” and similar procedures.

When there is a medical condition present (and we have seen, both through the policies of medical organizations and the findings in some legal cases, that the need to transition is a medical necessity), whatever surgeries and other procedures are necessary to correct, alleviate, or ease that condition should be considered medically necessary treatments. Those procedures might include silicone or fat injections, or, in the case of female-to-male transition, liposuction to correct body shape.

These procedures should be made available in the same way that any other medical procedure is made available and paid for by insurance or other health-care programs. Of course, that will still leave some people out, but it’s a start, and it might be a way to reduce backdoor (no pun intended) injections that leave people sick, disfigured, or even dead.

Certainly, the culture needs changing. Our standards of beauty need a serious overhaul. People – both men and women, trans and non-trans – should not feel compelled to get surgeries or other “beauty” treatments to create or maintain a facade simply because it is expected or valued by society.

People shouldn’t have to get Botox treatments or facelifts to get hired for or maintain a job, as many older executives are doing today. The media, the cosmetics companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and the advertising industry need to stop telling us what is attractive and what constitutes an acceptable and correct gender presentation.

But even if all this changes, which it won’t anytime soon, the need for people to transition will still exist. And until we recognize the full range of medically necessary procedures for trans people, these underground “practitioners” will continue to pop up and endanger people’s health and lives.

Readers – thoughts?

cross-posted from Tranifesto

In categories:Best of TA Matt Kailey
Next Post

Tracking Transgender: The Historical Truth

Why and when did transsexual people begin calling themselves transgender? According to some internet memes transsexuals began self-identifying as transgender due to a vast global plot by crossdressers1,2 . According to this conspiracy, transsexuals by the millions were forced by the media3,…
Previous Post

Paging Dr Mengele

I'm working on getting a good idiomatic English translation of Streit um elfjährige Transsexuelle: Alex soll in die Psychiatrie - But in summary..... A Nurse decides (probably on religious grounds) that transsexuality is due to parental upbringing, so the…
Random Post

Help the trans community overcome Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey!

Help the Gulf Coast trans community affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey:     Many members of the Gulf Coast trans, intersex, and genderqueer community have lost everything. Trans, intersex, and genderqueer individuals can experience extreme difficulties in natural disaster situations. The…
Random Post

Religious extremist attacks cis woman for using unisex bathroom

A cisgender man connected with a Florida Christian convention accosted a cisgender woman with a Bible as she exited an "All Genders" restroom at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.  The man, shouting about Biblical interpretations of gender while waving his…
Random Post

WPATH responds to Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD)

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the decades-old organization that issues the international standards for medical and psychological care for trans people, responded to the media hype over a "study" that purports to have discovered a new pathology…
Random Post

Pounding the Pavement in Primary Season: It’s Obama Time!

“We need a revolution for the people – for the poor, for who have nothing! The politicians and the rich, they’ve already got it all! What do they need?” — Stonewall veteran, Sylvia Rivera at the 2001 NTAC Board meeting…