“Given the strong cultural forces today casting a benign light on these matters, I thought it might be helpful for young people, and their parents, to hear what I wish I had known.”
Corinna Cohn is a transgender woman who transitioned at age 19 and wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post in which she says she was too young. It’s not a regret piece but it’s still cautionary.
What I wish I’d known when I was 19 and had sex reassignment surgery
When I was 19, I had surgery for sex reassignment, or what is now called gender affirmation surgery. The callow young man who was obsessed with transitioning to womanhood could not have imagined reaching middle age. But now I’m closer to 50, keeping a watchful eye on my 401(k), and dieting and exercising in the hope that I’ll have a healthy retirement.
In terms of my priorities and interests today, that younger incarnation of myself might as well have been a different person — yet that was the person who committed me to a lifetime set apart from my peers.
There is much debate today about transgender treatment, especially for young people. Others might feel differently about their choices, but I know now that I wasn’t old enough to make that decision. Given the strong cultural forces today casting a benign light on these matters, I thought it might be helpful for young people, and their parents, to hear what I wish I had known.
I once believed that I would be more successful finding love as a woman than as a man, but in truth, few straight men are interested in having a physical relationship with a person who was born the same sex as them. In high school, when I experienced crushes on my male classmates, I believed that the only way those feelings could be requited was if I altered my body.
It turned out that several of those crushes were also gay. If I had confessed my interest, what might have developed? Alas, the rampant homophobia in my school during the AIDS crisis smothered any such notions. Today, I have resigned myself to never finding a partner. That’s tough to admit, but it’s the healthiest thing I can do.
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