RARP - Life Changes and Understanding Myself
In 2018, a robot-assisted radical prostatectomy forced me to endure something I could not live with. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would journey some of the paths I ventured trying to find relief. I searched all types of websites, medical journals, and case studies. I learned about human anatomy, cancer, and ED.
This journey tested my faith and changed my beliefs about “who is my neighbor” per the Bible. I am considered a Bible scholar at my conservative church and by two preachers. I reread part of the Bible and realized I had missed some things that are actually in the Bible. I also had incorrect assumptions due to some church teachings I now believe are wrong.
While searching on a eunuch forum, I discovered a cure that makes you a female eunuch. I then searched out transgender people to learn more about the surgery I desperately needed and what was required to get it.
I was EXTREMELY concerned how this might be perceived by my wife and others around me. As a Christian who is married with adult children, I had no desire for penetration, and this surgery doesn’t allow for it. I am a heterosexual man, right? Not so fast! I soon learned something that shook me to my core.
For years I have heard about how confused transgender people are, and that they could be dangerous around children. I had nothing in common with transgender people, yet all of my life I had experienced thoughts that didn’t make sense. I found a neighbor who used a gun to commit suicide when I was eight, and it caused many nightmares as well as pills prescribed by a doctor. I thought it had caused the thoughts that didn’t make sense.
Stories similar to mine
I found that the stories of transgender people were similar to mine, regardless of their past. My internal thoughts mirrored what they said. I had experienced waves of dysphoria, but didn’t know why. I had been able to suppress it, grit my teeth, and get past each wave while keeping it my secret.
I hadn’t considered myself transgender because of how I heard them described. In my discussions I found that some never transition, and some don’t realize they are transgender until later in life when dysphoria becomes unbearable and they start connecting the dots.
More than just two extremes
I don’t ascribe to hundreds of genders, but I do now realize there are more than just two extremes. Everyone today accepts “tomboy,” but no other deviation from the binary is allowed. Almost everyone is assigned a sex based on visible anatomy at birth, even if they are intersex. In some intersex cases, they perform surgery to make them appear what they are assigned.
Transgender is a term that includes anyone whose internal sense of gender doesn’t align with their sex assigned at birth.
Transgender people don’t always experience dysphoria, and can experience it in different ways, often in waves. I can’t imagine experiencing dysphoria as some have told me they do. My dysphoria has been mostly mild and I had no idea if surgery might change that. Either way, I had no better option and could no longer live as I was.
The transgender community
Many transgender people I have met say that the first transphobe you meet is yourself. Unknown to the public, we have trouble accepting this well before anyone around us ever knows. It also becomes obvious to most of us early in life that we aren’t like other people and that it is better not to tell anyone. Many learn to mask it.
Contrary to popular opinion, we are not trying to recruit others into this group. We do want to make it easier for others like us. I do not consider myself homophobic, but I found during my journey just how similar our struggles are to theirs. We are just people trying to make the best out of life that we can in a world that doesn’t want us to exist.
I had Zero Depth Vaginoplasty, which makes you appear female with no possibility for penetration. It works with a short urethra like I had. I had the surgery in early 2021 and now sit to pee. I live in the Bible belt and have no plans to socially transition.
Sometimes living in fear
The first time I needed a public restroom after surgery I was running errands and waited until I found a clean men’s restroom. Once I entered the only stall, I realized the latch was broken and the door would not stay shut. I knew I could wait no longer without wetting my pants, so I took a chance. As I sat there I thought about what could happen if the wrong individual came in and saw me. By the grace of God, no one came in, but it really brought home to me what I have heard other transgender people say.
They live in fear almost every time they use a public restroom, regardless of which one they use. I consider this, and I am careful to not draw attention when I go in public. Thankfully, there is an unwritten code about not looking at others while using the men’s bathroom.
Hoping for more acceptance
Due to a recurrence of aggressive cancer resulting in radiation in 2020, I had to remain hormone free for 18 months. In late 2021, I started receiving maintenance estrogen to protect my bones, which will result in some feminization and breast growth. The changes actually started before my estrogen supplementation.
If I am discovered, it will not matter to some why I would do this. Although I am a Christian prostate cancer survivor living outwardly as a man, there are people who would think they are doing God a favor by ridding the earth of a transgender person. I only hope that over time society can better accept this.
What was the most difficult part of your diagnosis?