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America in Transition

You get to be the sex you think you are (and everybody else has to acknowledge it).

I am used to surprises from the New York Times—a newspaper so far from me culturally and politically it might as well be a daily bulletin about life in a parallel universe—but last August I read a personal essay in the “Modern Love” space of the “Styles” section that really brought me up short. “My Husband is Now My Wife” (quite a tabloidy title for this genteel newspaper) was about the deeply ambivalent day the author escorted her husband to a hospital for surgery in which he would “take his first surgical step into womanhood.”

I’m a jaded ex-Manhattanite, awright? “Sexual reassignment surgery,” as it is called, is not news. I know about the clinics in Colorado where they slice up existing organs and then do Play-Doh sculpturing with the tissue that’s left. The surgery thing has been going on since the sixties. And I know from cross-dressing. On my Upper West Side block it was not uncommon to encounter a neighbor—skinny, middle-aged, bald pate surrounded by a cap of stringy graying locks—taking his daily constitutional…on roller skates, wearing a tiara and a pink tutu, blessing passersby with a Tinkerbell wand.

So it wasn’t the soo-last-century, Dude-Looks-Like-a-Lady part that startled, it was the part near the end where the author lets slip that all her fussing about losing a husband and gaining a wife was actually over a hospital stay in which her husband would have “facial feminization surgery, a not uncommon procedure in male-to-female transitions, in which a surgeon carves out a more femininely proportioned version of a male face.”

“In my husband’s case,” she wrote, “this meant higher eyebrows, a smaller nose and a more pronounced chin……

(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org …

via America in Transition.

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