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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Gender Re-Assignment

I am a firm believer that people should have the freedom to do what they want with their bodies.  People should have the right to ingest what they desire, love whomever they wish, and if they are uncomfortable with the body that God gave them, then they should have the right to alter it in whatever way they see fit.  People can make themselves look like lizards for all I care, it doesn't bother me.  While it may not bother me and I feel that everyone should have the right to do as they wish with their bodies, that doesn't mean I will understand the underlying motive for changing  or altering things.  For me, I have always been comfortable in my own skin and as such, have never had the desire to alter anything.  There is a certain woman who just a few days ago graced the cover of Vanity Fair with her new look and name.  I will mention her name only once as I don't feel like she needs any more attention, Ms. Jenner.  She never used to be a woman until recently, and while I have no problem with her changing everything about herself from a man to a woman, I do have a problem with her using the media to attract attention to herself and inflate her lifetime ordeal to star status.  She used to be a male Olympian, used to be married to a Kardashian (a family I come very close to despising), and lately it seems as if she needed some more attention so orchestrated her "coming out" as a women so meticulously that it took a nation by storm.  Or at least almost by storm.  There was an article in the New York Times and there will even be a mini series documenting her transition for all the world to witness and follow.  Did she really need all this attention to validate her being in some way?  Was simply altering her identity not enough?  If her identity as a man was what really bothered her, then altering it and sharing it with her close friends should have been enough.  Perhaps since her divorce from a Kardashian, her fame has plummeted and the attention granted to her was waning so much that she needed another ploy to bring her back into the spot light.  I am not by any means doubting the fact that she was uncomfortable in her own skin, but I do question methods for gaining more attention.  To me, it seems petty and self-serving, but who am I to judge?

There has been a proliferation of even younger people having gender re-assignment surgery, most notably at my wife's high school.  She has dealt with a number who have considered it, and one who actually went through with at least part of the surgery this year, just reverse of what the lady mentioned above did.  This student went from being a female to a male.  I don't have a problem with the procedure, however, I do have a problem with the age that some people are considering the surgery and changing outward portrayal of who they are.  The teenage years are full of hormonal fluxes, raging one minute, absent the next.  These fluctuating hormones can seem to tear at the very fabric of who these teenagers are, making them question their friends and family, making them question themselves, and sending them on such highs and lows that it is often hard to keep on a normal track.  With hormones raging, the teenage years are perhaps the worst time to undergo gender re-assignment surgery, at least in my mind.  Once the hormones have settled down and a person has time to sit with themselves as they are, in their 20's, truly discerning their identity, then they can make a more solid decision about changing who they are.  Along with gender re-assignment surgery is the new fad that is also taking over in high schools and that is being gender neutral.  That is where a person can't decide if they are a male or female and wishes to be called addressed in a neutral manner.  This I have more of a problem with than the actual surgery.  Regardless of what a person feels they are, everyone is given either a male or a female body and as such, should own that body and run with it.  We can discuss that at length, but I will revert back to the simple topic of gender re-assignment.  

For myself at least, while I feel people should have the freedom to do as they wish with their bodies, there is a part of me that will never understand why someone would go through with the aforementioned surgery.  It all boils down to personal identity and how we view ourselves.  I believe that personal identity is derived both from our minds and our bodies.  Our minds contribute most of what we consider to be ourselves, however, our body offers the vessel for our identity to travel in and to an extent becomes part of who we are.  We can not separate ourselves from our bodies and as such, I feel we need to come to terms with who we are.  There is obviously something that occurs within certain people that make them feel disconnected form their bodies, and for those people, that surgery could help.  I don't understand it, but then again, I have never had those feelings.  If a person's body is truly so disconnected from their mind that they feel like they are never themselves, then maybe the surgery is warranted.  My only hope here is that people, especially teenagers, don't rush into this surgery thinking it will be a cure-all for whatever they are feeling.  People need to sit with who they are, after they have exited adolescence, before making the monumental decision to change their bodies to an extent that is very hard to reverse.  

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