Orchiectomy II

I met H at long intervals, because I did not go to Edinburgh much; and during her affair she told me with great excitement that she was lesbian. Not bisexual, despite being married with children, but lesbian. She was still living with her husband, only out of convenience. Then she went back to him, and I have not seen her again, but heard her embarrassment: she had told me that, and after our friendship would be different. At another occasion H got out her quaich, and the whole group drank together; and she was delighted when I told her she had made me feel more Scots than I had for a long time.

My friend’s wise husband, who wishes me well, observed that when I would say something important I would digress into some long story. Oh, dive in. This led to that, and there, and there, and your projected academic study of Transsexualism will take a similar line if you ever write it, and it is you I want to convince, and I know I cannot, because you too see the oppression of human females and loathe it.

I am freed to be myself by my transition. It is so much better. And you would tell me that is a partial liberation at a terrible cost, overseen administered enforced by patriarchy, which contributes to the patriarchal system of lies, and so the oppression of others. The case for that: One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society; it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine. So said Simone de Beauvoir.

It is not true that women think emotionally, men rationally. Women may think rationally. Women are forced by cultural conditioning into being submissive, dependent, emotional, receptive, intuitive, timid, passive, sensitive- bonsai comes to mind- when if allowed to develop and mature without such conditioning they might be rational, etc. The conditioning is not as severe as it was, in some areas: The amount of women [under 40] who had good careers in traditional male fields – aeronautics, accountancy, engineering, civil eng, architecture, for example, was amazing. It is still noticed, not normal enough to be unremarkable; but it is happening.

Part of the pain I am feeling right now is that I think emotionally, and I really need that to be valued. It is beautiful! It is!

Insight of LS, 1987


You see, transition was liberation. I could be me. It terrified me completely. There we were at the Sibyls in our evening gowns, at three in the morning, surrounded by wine bottles, and the conversation as it always was:

-Should we?
-Could we make a go of it?
-Could we possibly avoid it?

I decided I had to transition, in June 2000. Then I went to the Northern Concord and joined the transsexuals, and decided I could not. They had such awful, restricted lives: no job, little social life

(God, that’s ironic, that is how I am now)

and I decided I could not. But then at the Sibyls I met women who were surviving well enough, and I knew I had to try. I thought my employer would find an excuse to dismiss me, and I still had to try.

My first speech therapist told me I should not practise her exercises for half an hour at a time, but in spare moments- walking up the stairs in the office, for example. So I would glissando down from my highest counter-tenor point, to just above the break, to find my ideal pitch, and then I would go to my desk. It messed with my head completely. At the time, I would express myself female at the weekend, go to the Quaker meeting and MCC, and then revert to presenting male on Monday morning. That Monday feeling, squared. I was not easy to be with. Liberation, then putting the leg-irons on again. But with this speech exercise, I would be me on the stairs, and revert on getting back to my desk, several times a day. I could not bear it. I woke at 4am thinking of Vicky, with her MS never in remission, in a wheelchair and dying, and I envied her. I would have swapped places with her.

I have told these stories before, here; I tell them again because I am back in that confusion. I feel the hostility. Possibly I should not go there, but, well, I love you and so I am committed. And your kind reasonableness in challenging the authenticity of my change is worse than ridicule.

You might say, I never wanted to be a woman at all, just perhaps feminine, which- except as a Patriarchal construct- has no link to women’s potential separately from that construct. I am proof that males can be feminine.

I should not put words in your mouth. I am trying to understand.

Julia- Beginnings


The way I saw to be myself was to express myself female. I changed my name, wore women’s clothes, had my ears pierced, wore a wig as my hair is so thin. Well, Patriarchal views of Manliness fits men as badly as femininity fits women, as Wxhluyp keeps asserting. It came as a package. I spent four hours a week undergoing electrolysis, which was particularly painful on the upper lip, because I needed to pass. I took synthetic oestrogen, and goserelin to suppress testosterone, for the same reason. I was still abused in the street. In the Quaker meeting I repeatedly broke down weeping. I curled up on the floor in my bathroom, weeping, repeating: “I am not a man”.

Would thinking emotionally but presenting male really have been so much more difficult? Was it merely that I did not conceive of the possibility?

However, surgery was not necessary to pass. There is a simple technique, called “tucking”: push the testicles back up the inguinal canal whence they descended at puberty, fold the penis back between the legs, hold it back with surgical tape or tight knickers, and behold- no larger a bump than the average mons veneris. I could have passed well enough in tight jeans, even a swimming costume, leave alone the feminine full skirts I wore. I did, for nearly two years.

Yet I wanted the surgery. I got more and more depressed, then had it, and was not depressed any more. Steps towards it delighted me. Setbacks made me despair. I had the identity I craved, but it was not enough.

So I say that wanting surgery is who I am. I could not be manipulated into it, however strong the pressure. I find cutting off my little toe an appalling prospect.

Julia- Fearless Me


You have made your way, despite patriarchy. You think as you, not as some feminine construct. More and more people do. Why should not I? Why should I not be authentically me, as a human being, rather than a victim of patriarchal lies?

The mutilation is appalling. Removal of gonads is a monstrous thing to do to almost everyone- apart from the few of us for whom it is simply right. Weirdward, linked above, shows how women who love  and have physical relationships with women can still reject the label “lesbian” as if being lesbian was somehow less, “marrying and having children” better, even for those women who feel natural attraction to women. They imbibe that falsehood from patriarchy. She finds Simone de Beauvoir clear and relevant on how women are forced into “femininity”, but wrong, parroting old false ideas about lesbians. Some, de Beauvoir thought, would have physiological differences:

A female of vigorous, aggressive, exuberant vitality prefers to exert herself actively and commonly spurns passivity; ill-favoured, malformed, a woman may try to compensate for her inferiority by assuming virile qualities; if her erotic sensitivity is underdeveloped, she does not desire masculine caresses.

Weirdward draws comparisons between this and modern trans theory. She asserts her own validity beautifully, yet denies mine. Of course it is part of ordinary human diversity, natural and right, that some women are lesbian. Of course forcing them into the procrustean bed of heterosexuality, leave alone the whole patriarchal construct of femininity, is wrongful. Let us all be ourselves. Except trans women.


Whether I should be allowed into “women’s space” is a separate argument. Whether de Beauvoir’s words on lesbians is useful trans theory, also: we observe people like me; why need any explanation how I got this way at all? Not “because patriarchy” but “because humanity”- human beings are wonderfully diverse and strange, and people with testicles have been dressing as women for thousands of years.

The heart has reasons reason knows not of. There was my desire for physical alteration. It simply was; it was the most important thing in my life, besides which nothing mattered. I feel my desire harms no-one, so why ever not? But then, I do think emotionally.

To really understand this post, you must read my next one.

Tucked penis 2

7 thoughts on “Orchiectomy II

  1. A couple of days ago I watched The Danish Girl – Eddie Redmayne is brilliant in it – the intensity of emotions to do everything possible even dangerous to be as much like a woman as possible struck me very powerfully…but I did think that surgery perhaps is not the be all and end all for even if cutting off the male bits one could never be physically a woman 100% – so I thought, perhaps the most important in all that was/is the emotions – feeling like a woman without the physical identity of one… cannot possibly know what one feels in that predicament but just observing here


  2. People would rather discuss me on Reddit than comment here.

    Ironpentacarbonyl: This reads less like a pros/cons to me than some kind of personal manifesto? Which I mean, transition is very personal but. I can’t help but look at the lack of replies and feel like I’m not the only one who feels like there isn’t much to say to something like this?

    Froey: “I’m trans, should I transition?”
    “Um, yes.”

    Happy Witch: Seems she regrets having orchi before storing sperm because she wanted children. She wanted srs, but not orchi somehow? She’s all over the place in her talking points but basically is saying fair things. She talks a lot about the pain she was having in decision making and radical feminism’s talking points about transitioning re: gender roles/sex vs gender

    Seems to me after reading her next post that she’s been hanging around her radfem friend who doesn’t recognize her gender and thinks trans people are unrealistic. Seems people around her also either don’t recognize her as a woman or have misinformed views on what gender constructs/stereotypes are.

    She transitioned because she wanted to but sort of accepts that people won’t see her as female. Her reasoning for it is emotional, and perosnal so it’s kind of sad.

    Manakel93: “She transitioned because she wanted to but sort of accepts that people won’t see her as female.”
    To be honest, I don’t think she really sees herself as female fully. I get the sense that she’s not completely accepted herself despite transitioning.

    Happy witch: Honestly I feel like she accepts that she’s trans but also sort of knows some people will see her as male? I can’t explain it all the way, but I know I’m male and have transitioned, but I accept that a few people in my life will see/hear me as female. It does hurt, but I sort of just have to keep trucking.

    I also think that she knows who she is and accepts it, but in a different way? Like she knows why she transitioned. I feel like I believe things in a similar vein. That my gender is male but my sex is female and and that’s why I’m a transsexual. I don’t advertise this, but it’s how I can explain my dysphoria in a way that makes me feel in control and acknowledge my own past.

    They might ask me. At Crossdreamlife, the post is a spring-board for discussion of people’s own situations. At T-Central, one anonymous commenter says, Orchiectomy is a word much less seen in transsexual blogs than it once was. People spend an age taking expensive testosterone blockers with possible side effects and still have the humiliating presence between their legs. Though I was eventually able to obtain GRS my orchiectomy transformed life more than I can possibly express. Sadly this fairly simple procedure is not always easy to obtain, in the UK you could easily give up when faced with an obstinate system and miss out on a transformed life… For me this was a life saver…


All comments welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.