Should I do this?

  • Susan Schneider
  • Mason City, Iowa
  • 9 months ago

I am a 65 year old male who is also transgendered. I have been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder and have been on hormones for a year and a half. During this time I have lived full time as a woman and am completely out to all of my family and friends and have the acceptance of most of them. My life is happier now than it has ever been! However, I feel so stongly that I want to be as complete a female as I possibly can be. I am considering gender reassignment surgery but am undecided if this is really for me. I do not desire to have a functioning vagina for the purpose of having sexual intercourse as I am almost certain this will never happen. I do desire to be legally considered female and to have the gender marker on my drivers license changed to reflect this. I know in my heart and soul that I should have been born a female and this thought is constantly with me. How can I be legally declared a female without undergoing GRS? If this is possibile I would appreciate input from others who are knowledgeable on this issue. Thank you.

Comments (6)

You can have your gender marker changed by getting a passport that identifies you as female. You simply need to get a letter from your Dr that states that you have had appropriate medical intervention (check the US Dept of State website for the exact wording required) for your new gender. Once you have the passport you can get your gender changed with the Social Security Administration. Once that is done, go get a new drivers license. Then send Obama a thank you letter for making this possible. I had my GRS in March of this year. Best thing that I ever did for myself! I'm 55 and didn't start transitioning until 2-1/2 years ago. I had Dr Suporn in Thailand do the surgery. Don't even think about having this done by any other surgeon until you have carefully examined Dr Suporn's website and talked to someone who has used him for GRS. He's the best in the world.
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Hello Susan. Are you in Iowa as your profile states? More and more states are adopting a correct legal policy with regard to identity documents that do not force you to have a surgery that you do not genuinely desire to have. IMHO GRS should only be undertaken if it's what YOU truly want. Not for anyone else or any government decree. Lambda Legal's latest guidance on ID document change state by state: http://www.lambdalegal.org/publications/sources-of-authority-to-amend suggests that Iowa requires confirmation of surgical gender change but there may be wiggle room. For example, Washington State (where I live) requires only that a physician writes a letter attesting that the patient has had "appropriate clinical treatment" which provides for each individual medical case. This is becoming more that standard, including for Federal ID docs. The matter then if you have or can find a physician who is educated and willing to work with you on this. I hope this helps.
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Hello Glyphstone, thank you so very much for responding to my post. It is kind of you to do so and I find your information very helpfull. I agree with you in that one should not have to undergo such a personal surgical procedure such as GRS just to comply with a states requirement for a document change. It is not that I have decided against having GRS as I think of doing this every day just as I have for many years. My concern is that there are those who will try to discourage me from having the surgery because of my age. I have discussed this with my primary care physician and she is willing to give me any referrals I need from her to proceed with the GRS procedure. She has recommended that I see my gender therapist for further instructions as how to proceed with the request for the surgery. However, she has advised me to be prepared for discouragement from the therapist because of my age. I hope this is not the case as I am aware of other patients who have undergone GRS who are as much as seven years older than myself. I will be meeting with my gender therapist soon and I'm certain we will have a very in depth discussion on the subject of GRS. If I decide against it I will advise her of the information you have given me regarding Lambda. I have not heard of this organization prior to now and I am relieved to know of it's existance. To further complicate the issue I reside in Iowa and my therapist is located in Minnesota. Also I receive my health care from the Veterans Administration. I am aware that the VA will not cover the cost of or perform the GRS as part of my medical benefits. Because of this I am prepared to cover the cost of the surgery myself if I elect to have it done. The cost is not a deterrant to me but my concern is if the rewards of the surgery will outweigh the process of such invasive surgery and the extensive recovery period. Obviously I have a life changing decision to make soon and I am considering my options as how I want to continue my life. Thanks again for your input. It is much appreciated. Susan
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As you noted, as long as you are healthy -- and it seems your Dr. thinks so -- your age is not an impediment. It does "take a lot out of you" figuratively and literally so you just need to allow a few months of slack time. It's really about what you need and want though. Is your gender therapist through the VA also or a private therapist? Finding a good therapist who is experienced, up to date and is a good match for you, provides reflection but also appropriate support. Finding peers to meet with in person who have had similar experiences or have similar goals can be helpful. Is Minneapolis too far for you to go? Very Best.
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Hi again Glyphstone, it's nice to hear from you again. My doctor has confirmed my assesment that I am in excellent health. I do not smoke, drink alcohol, or take any illegal drugs. I am 6' 1" tall and am a slim 140 lbs. I do not have any health issues and I feel great in spite of being 65 years old. I am also retired so travel time as well as recovery time will not be an issue for me if I elect to have GRS. Yes, my therapist is also through the VA. She practices at the VA medical facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I live in northern Iowa so am only 125 miles from this facility. The last time I seen her was May 1st. of 2012 at which time she approved me to start a regimine of HRT. At that time I also consulted with another gender therapist who worked with her. They were both in agreement that I would benefit from HRT. Thier main concern for me was my alcohol consumption at that time. I promised them both that if they approved me to start HRT I would quit drinking. I have kept that promise and have not consumed any form of alcohol in the past year and a half. Alcohol used to be my "crutch" for coping with my GID but after coming out to everyone and beginning my transition I no longer have the need for it. I made a wise decision at that time and I will be staying with it. I have a friend who had her GRS four years ago. We used to be in frequent contact with each other but she moved further away a couple years ago and now I seldom hear from her. She had her surgery performed by Dr. Marci Bowers who practices in San Francisco. I would like to contact this surgeon in regard to my GRS intentions but I have not been successful in finding any contact information on her. I do not see any mention of her on the list of surgeons who perform GRS here on this site. Ideally I would like to locate a surgeon closer to me as I am aware that I will need a pre surgery consultation as well as post surgery follow up visits. I don't feel that it would be to my advantage to make so many trips from Iowa to California especially soon after the surgery. I will need to continue my search to find a surgeon close to me who performs M2F GRS. My next step will be my upcoming visit with my therapist and take her advisement into consideration. I know in my heart that the surgery is what I truly want so I am hoping that I won't be discouraged from having it. Having someone to relate my feelings to is comforting to me and I am relieved to have found this site. I hope to continue hearing from yourself as well as others as I continue down this new path in life that I have chosen. My best to you, Susan
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Susan, Good to hear from you. I know Marcie and have very high regard for her. She does consults in the Bay Area and from her home office in Seattle also. Christine McGinn is also reputed to be excellent and has a well integrated practice located in Pennsylvania. Going to a surgeon who specializes in GRS surgery and does hundreds of such procedures in a year is IMHO preferrable to seeking out someone locally who is less competent and "tuned". It's a very complex set of procedures and, unfortunately, a bit of travel is usually entailed to get to the best practioner. At least now we don't have to travel overseas to get care. In fact many of the gals from the West coast go to Thailand to save a few buks but I will venture an opinion that though the surgeons skills are reputed to be very good, it's a false economy to have your surgeon on the other side of the world. I do know of many who have had to go back for revisions under cover of "helping out a friend" who was going for surgery. One such trip erases all economic value. They say that the aftercare in Thailand is amazing though: daily massages, spa-like surroundings etc. You may want to look at Brassard and his clinic in Montreal. He took over the practice form Yvon Mennard who performed my surgery in 1993. I do not have any direct reviews from his practice however though I could put out a call to see if anyone has current experience they would like to share. It sounds like you are in excellent health and your commitment and discipline in regards to alcohol usage is good testament. It seems that you have a fairly supportive team there. Don't ever take a "low level no" from a therapist who may be operating only out of lack of experience or comfort in this area. I hope that you will see more information here on RealSelf in the future that will be helpful to you. The organization is interested in bolstering content and it's probably just a matter of time and some focus. ( I'll send you a PM with some more info) Very Best
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