Non-Binary Top Surgery
Today marks the 5 year anniversary of one of the scariest moments of my life: the night before my top surgery.
I was living in DC and had been laid off. But the one advantage of that was being able to access free healthcare through Medicaid. I’d heard top surgeries were expensive. So I figured, I might as well take advantage of free healthcare while I was unemployed. That’s the American healthcare system for ya!
I’d gone to a breast surgeon to talk about getting a breast reduction at the Gorge Washington Medical Center. When the doctor asked me if I wanted a reduction or removal, I thought “A removal? That would mean not having to wear a bra at all-whoah! But I’m not a trans man. Society isn’t ready for that.”
But guess what? Thanks to the visibility of trans/nonbinary top surgery Facebook groups, I decided that society would never be “ready for me.” It would be useless to wait. Trans people have existed for thousands of years and we’re NOT new, even though society makes it seem that way.
The night before my top surgery, I was so scared because at the time I didn’t know what being nonbinary meant, I just knew this surgery was something I’d been wanting.
I rejected a call from my stepdad because as I’d suspected, he was calling to try to stop me from “doing this to myself.”
My mom had tried to tell me insurance wouldn’t cover it, and she was wrong. My dad wasn’t in the picture at all. I don’t even know if he’s alive. I mention this because the people who did support me, pick me up from the hospital, and bring me food in my month long recovery were all chosen family.
Five years later, I’ve gotten messages from trans folks and allies thanking me for being open about my experience. Of doing this FOR MYSELF. With the help of those DID show up for me, even if I didn’t have the perfect vocabulary for my identity at the time.
For now I identify as non-binary.
I have been on and off testosterone, so it’s been a journey for me. Part of me also thinks of going back to being on testosterone. But I hate using men’s bathrooms and really don’t have much in common with men. I still feel anxiety when using public bathrooms and will ALWAYS default to the single stall disabled bathrooms if available. One time a man in Peru followed me into the women’s bathroom. He yelled at me to get out and go into the men’s bathroom. 😳
I’ve learned to accept and embrace my feminine energy too. And I also love being mistaken for a dude in public. I’m Mexican American and I use male pronouns when I speak Spanish. Though I also don’t like how gendered romance languages are. It’s been a process, but I’ve learned to go with the flow.
You don’t have to have all the answers about your identity.
But I encourage you to lean into the sparks of joy you feel and to know that those parts are valid, even in a world that tells us we shouldn’t exist or that exploring these parts of ourselves is bad because it will disrupt the gender binary that the white cisheterocapitalist patriarchy is trying desperately to uphold.
The night before my top surgery, I kept looking at the smiling faces on the top surgery Facebook groups of people like me who were making the scary decision to do this despite society not being ready. This is why I decide each day to not be a behind the scenes person. Being myself gives others permission to do the same. I hope that by sharing my experiences I inspire you to make the changes that YOU want for your life. I’m just one call away if you are ready to invest in your future self.