Wednesday, July 24, 2019

“They” and “Cis/Trans” origins

The singular gender-neutral ‘they’ first starts appearing in the 14th century, which makes it a fairly recent innovation in the English language.  It is commonly used when the gender of a person being referred to is unknown or irrelevant, as an indefinite pronoun.

Example:  Three people are seated In a restaurant.  One person leaves momentarily to tidy up.  The waiter comes over to collect drink orders; “What will you have?”, and to the second person, “and you?”, and then, gesturing to the third seat, “and do you know what they would like?”

Modern style guides discourage the use of the masculine ‘default’ in pronouns, the old assumption that a generic ‘he’ could be interpreted to refer to any person, masculine to feminine.  “Dude” or “guys” often is excused as a slang masculine default applicable to all genders, but it fails a simple test; Try to imagine a couple of dudes sitting in a restaurant.  In your minds eye do you see two masculine persons, two feminine persons, or some other combination? The odds are very good that you would imagine two masculine persons.

The use of “they” as a singular definite pronoun, as for non-binary identities, is fairly new, with the recognition of the existence of nonbinary identities.  It is a useful tool, however, in acknowledging and affirming nonbinary identities.  There isn’t a formal point of introduction that I can identify, just gradual adaptation until it has been recognized as a normal usage by the maintainers of dictionaries.  The  New Oxford American Dictionary (Third Edition, 2010), calls singular they ‘generally accepted’ with indefinites, and ‘now common but less widely accepted’ with definite nouns, especially in formal contexts.

Cis and Trans are Latinate prefixes, used occasionally as slang forms of cisgender and transgender when discussing gender.

Cis and Trans prefixes originated as Latin prepositions. Cis means “before/within”, “on the near side of”, or “to this side of”.  Trans means “across/through”, “on the other side of”, or “other side of”.  (Definitions from a dusty old Oxford Latin Dictionary...)

As a prefix Cis and Trans are used similarly; Cistiber, “on this side of the Tiber”, and Transtiber, “on the other side of the Tiber”. They are not exactly opposites, but do often point to opposite sides of some division.

Transgender broadly refers to persons who move away from the gender they were assigned at birth, crossing over one or more of the boundaries constructed by their culture to define and contain that gender.

Cisgender refers to persons not considered to be transgender, persons who have not crossed over any of the boundaries constructed by their culture to define and contain their gender.

Cisgender is not a defamatory term, simply a useful way to identify persons who are not transgender.

Cis and Trans are commonly used colloquially as equivalent adjectives for Cisgender and Transgender.

Caution: I will note that gender critical activists and some others have recently decided to take umbrage at the terms “cis” and “cisgender.”  They instead insist on being referred to as “women” and “men”, with transgender women and men relegated to “transwomen” and “transmen” in a nice bit of othering and subtle denial that trans folks are “real”.  Some go further and refer to transgender women as “Trans Identified Men”, or TIMs, and transgender men as “Trans Identified Females” or TIFs.    

These are deliberately constructed as insults, and derive from some of the hateful content in the book by Janice Raymond, “The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male”(1979, Beacon Press).

Femme and Queer - A bit of a personal manifesto

I stubbornly refuse to meet the expectations of others.

“Ah! Sorry… totally forgot to re-arrange my aesthetic markers today so you wouldn’t be confused about my personal desires and identity. Maybe you should just go on ahead and rearrange your faulty assumptions and leave me the hell alone.”
 - Tiffany Lee

I’m a womxn.  I am queer.  I am attracted to other womxn.  I am a demisexual who needs that fundamental human connection before anything else, and I am a transgender person.

I am femme.  That many be the biggest offense of all.  I don't meet expectations.

I am not femme in that tired femme/butch dynamic that was so rigidly enforced.  I am not femme to please men.  I am not femme to become invisible.  I refer to the more current use of femme, which includes trans women, bi and pansexual women, non-binary folks, and many others who intentionally play with femininity and feminine presentation.

I am femme because it pleases me, feels right, and fits my identity and sense of aesthetics.  I consider it a bonus that my femme presentation annoys the patriarchy, the social structure that insists I can only be safe if I wear shapeless garb that covers and conceals, that protects the most privileged from their apparent lack of self control.  The idea of wearing baggy painter’s pants and flannel shirts just so someone else can be comfortable and smugly think that they know who I am, which box to file me in, is something I reject.

Trained hundreds of
nuclear power plant
operators and crossed
the North Pole
in a submarine.
My feminine presentation is a part of who I am.  I enjoy wearing skirts, simply cut draped tops and colorful wraps.  I love the feel of a nicely structured dress, and feeling a cooling breeze on my legs on a hot day.  I love the swish and snug warmth of a woolen maxi in midwinter.  I enjoy a little makeup to help define my best features, and occasionally a bit more for a fun evening out.  I am unapologetic about my choosing and enjoying these sensory experiences.

My feminine presentation does not totally define me. I have skills and talents I have developed that this patriarchal culture does not consider feminine, and that’s a little box I am delighted to kick my high heels through.

Are my femme practices merely reinforcing heteronormative gender stereotypes?  Well, what this culture demands is that I wear Dockers and polo shirts, dredging up tired old tropes of birth sex and karyotype.  I insist on being a womxn, and my gender identity informs my gender presentation.  

So, am I then a stereotypical heteronormative woman?  Perhaps at first glance, first thought, but approach me, talk with me for a minute, and I will happily, thoughtlessly stand those stereotypes on their head.  Femme, yes.  But meeting the cultural standards for being girly or feminine?  Not so much.  That fine womanly subordination or weakness so encouraged by this culture seems to be missing in action!  

Madeleine Blum of the band “Unstraight” puts it: “The queer world is about breaking away from stereotypical gender roles. Anyone who is girly/feminine is not necessarily femme. Femme is an identity; feminine and girly are descriptors.”

I do hope that my femme practices make the patriarchal heteronormative gender police nervous.   Yes, gender police.  The folks who try to enforce cultural norms, telling me that I’m being myself incorrectly, making the laughable assumption that they know who my authentic self is better than I.  


"We live in a culture that celebrates masculinity and demonizes and shames femininity’s and those habits don't go away in the queer community."
 - Anna Bongiovanni

Holds nineteen patents and has
rebuilt a Triumph engine and
manual transmission.
Being queer and femme fails to meet cultural expectations, with the interesting result that folks tend to interpret my appearance as meaning that I am straight.  It doesn’t matter if these are straight, queer, or even queer femmes doing the interpretation. My appearance gets plugged straight into a cultural stereotype, and assumptions built on that stereotype are applied to me.

The cultural expectation is that a woman attracted to women will automatically reject gender roles, including appearance, as a part of rejecting the heterosexual role the culture assigns.   The cultural expectation is that women attracted to women will adopt a butch presentation, and men attracted to men will adopt a more feminine presentation.  Yes, that’s right, the cultural expectation is that we will continue to apply the broken gender binary model even when queer.

The cultural expectation is that we will sustain that gender binary in the roles we take, with those roles tightly bound to our sexuality.

I am not going to fulfill these cultural expectations.   I am going to do as I please.  I am a femme queer womxn with a transgender history, attracted to other womxn who can take the time to forge that emotional connection with me.

Should you be prone to committing acts of assumption, know that your cultural stereotypes do not interest me, and if you make the mistake of assuming that I fit some stereotype, know that at some point I will happily, joyfully shock you.



I ran across the Tiffany Lee and Madeleine Blum quotes while researching another topic, and the ideas they stimulated caught fire with me, resulting in this little article.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Resilience - Sermon to Mt Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church

Resilience


Recently, I saw a hillside in the forest that had just endured a windstorm.  The direction the wind had blown was obvious, from how the mighty trees that once dotted the hillside now lay.  Even though strong, that strength failed in the gusts of wind that they had to endure, and these giants had fallen.

At the same time, I noticed that the open spaces on the hillside were covered with tall grasses, now gently waving in the wind and brushing against one another, supported by one another as they continued to stand, taking in the sunlight, the air and water, and continuing to grow.   It didn’t seem fair somehow, that those beautiful trees had fallen, yet the grasses remained.  At the same time, I was grateful that the winds had not been able to strip the hillside of life, that the grasses would persist, holding the soil so that other life could continue or re-establish itself.

I’d have to describe that biological community of the hillside as being resilient, even if some of the trees were lost.  We individual humans can also be resilient, learning how to move about in spite of strong prevailing winds, learning strategies to maintain ourselves even as time and experience bring wear and tear.

We also find this resilience in communities.  Studies of the responses of communities to natural disasters show this in action. We can see how our communities respond with  civil engineering such as flood control, better bridges, improved communications, and adapting new practices to improve how the next disaster can be handled.

There are also spiritual and psychological components.  The fortunate community will also develop stronger neighborhood ties, built from elements such as sidewalk chats, corner coffee shops, and other elements of the social infrastructure.  That social infrastructure can be every bit as important as the physical one.
We each have our innate resilience as human beings.  We each have some degree of social competence, problem-solving skills, autonomy, and a sense of purpose or belief in a future.  These are not some magical properties gifted to only a few, but traits we all have in common to varying degrees, with varying levels of skill in wielding them.

We may not be aware of these skill and abilities, of course.  We might have been raised in environments that did not let us exercise all of these traits, or even discouraged them.   We may have been raised to encourage one or more of these traits, or in our life experience wandered into environments that encouraged us to stretch and develop these traits further.

That development may have been what’s called ‘stress-hardiness’, developing resilient traits in response to an adverse environment.  A benign or supportive environment can also encourage resilient traits, through various challenges raised to individuals to encourage them to ‘stretch’ a bit, discover new capabilities and operate at the edges of their comfort zone.

Resilience in individuals seems to arise from the interactions of individuals with their community, whether adverse, supportive, or a mixture of both.

Longer ago than I care to think, I was in the military service.  Recruit training was a classic example of an adverse environment, tailored to break down old behaviors and habits, and build new ones that would be supportive of the community of fellow service members.  It was definitely a shock to my system, but I learned I had far more capacity for resilience in the face of adversity than I had ever conceived of prior to my service.

While assigned to a training command in Idaho, I happened to have a long weekend, almost 5 days, turn up in my schedule.  It seemed like a great opportunity to return to the Bay Area to visit family.  My partner and I hopped into our mighty AMC Hornet, and taking turns driving, took on the 13 hour journey.  We made it, enjoyed our visits, and then were back in the car for the return trip.

Somewhere about 30 miles west of Elko, Nevada, billowing white clouds started appearing behind the car.  Warning lights popped on the dashboard, and the engine temperature gauge (remember those?) pegged high.  None of these were good signs.

We pulled over, and I got out and flagged down a truck to get a lift into Elko. (This was before cellphones.)  We found a shop and got the vehicle towed.  After a new water pump, several hundred dollars, and several hours, we were on the road again.  Well... For a little while.

The Hornet’s engine is a delicate thing.  It turns out that it does not respond well to overheating.  About 20 miles east of Elko, the engine started running rough, and those billowing white clouds were back. Another thumbed ride, another tow, and the vehicle was back in Elko, parked on a side street besides the now closed garage.

My resilience was clearly being tested.  I was an inch from breaking down in tears when I called my command from a pay phone to explain that I was not going to be present in time for my shift.  They were surprisingly understanding, and found a volunteer to take over my class.  Even more surprising, an instructor took their day off to drive to Elko, pick us and our luggage up, and take us back to Pocatello.  A week later, on my next days off, another instructor asked about the vehicle, and suggested that we take his truck to Elko, and tow the Hornet back to my place!

I hadn’t recognized it at the time, but I was not a lone individual, but part of a fairly tight-knit community of folks who looked out for each other, supported one another, and exercised their problem-solving skills, autonomy, and sense of purpose for the benefit of all in the community, bound together by our common oath.  That was a remarkably eye-opening experience for me.  Even though my resilience was taxed, the community, with an abundance of resilience, took the difficulties in stride, and supported me, lifted me up, and quite literally got me on the road again.

Oh, and I also became far too familiar with that car’s engine, although I did get it running again.

Here at Mount Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, we have a community, holding common interests in faith, in our desire for social justice, and in many ways, by the support we give one another, and bound by our covenant.  While we are not living our lives under one roof, or forming a commune, I still have a strong feeling of being part of an intentional community here.  

Many of the same elements of resilience I mentioned earlier are present within this community.  Within the membership and our committees, we have teams that demonstrate and teach social competence, problem-solving skills, autonomy, and a sense of purpose or belief in a future.  We have a benign and supportive environment that encourages us to stretch a bit, knowing that others may catch us should we fall.

We have the shared wisdom of our “Doctors of Durability”, our elders with their collected life experience.  We have caregivers, tending to our needs both physical and spiritual.   We have the energy and enthusiasm of our youth.  We have friends.

This is a remarkable place.  I think I am prone to taking this for granted far too often, and considering the impact that this community has had on my ability to rebound from adverse circumstances, my resilience, I have to pause and thank you all.

Carol Sue Cain recently wrote something that resonates with me:
Humans are wired for connection and it takes intention and awareness to prevent the effortless connections with people "like" me,  from hindering or harming the  more difficult connections I need to create with the people not "like" me.

The hope of those more difficult connections, not with people like me, but with people like those I had admired in my past who happened to be Unitarian Universalists, with people who have different insights into life, is what drew me here, and what keeps me here.

Well, what do I find, but that I have managed to become part of another community of folks who look out for each other, support one another, and exercise their problem-solving skills, autonomy, and sense of purpose for the benefit of all in the community.  I’ve found myself in community, with a found family and a band of generous and amazing people.

It is these more difficult connections, with people not like ourselves, but sharing common goals and community that give us our resilience as a community.  There are many people gathered here, many backgrounds, many paths through life, many unique sets of skills, many beliefs, yet bound together by our common covenant.

Daniel Lerch of the Post Carbon Institute says the key to resilience is understanding that every life and every community is comprised of a system of relationships and the resilience of any one system is influenced by the resilience of every system around it.

Key to our system of relationships is our covenant, which governs how we interact with one another, and defines how the right relationships that tie us together should function.

“We, the members of the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, covenant with one another to act in the following ways in our interactions and in all forms of communication:
We speak and write directly, openly, and respectfully with each other.
We support and encourage diversity within our congregation.
We trust each other’s best intentions.
We respect healthy boundaries.
We honor community decisions.”

Our covenant is our social ‘glue’, defining the ways we interact, and encouraging flexibility, adaptability, and trust over rigid, brittle structure.  This covenant eases our making connections with those different from ourselves, which I need in developing my own resilience.

It is through these connections that I am able to explore different viewpoints, different approaches to living life and coping with things I have not been able to do on my own.

I know that when I am near my limits, that often all it takes to bounce back is to chat with a friend, catch a kind smile or complement, an offer to share a burden, somehow touching that web of connections, and I may feel renewed.  

That mutual respect and trust weaves us together.  It is this web of connection that provides us with resilience, both individually and as a community.  This is something we may all practice, and with this, gain resilience for both ourselves and our community.

Remember that hillside.  Rather than stand alone against the wind, hoping that we won’t be broken like those fallen trees, let us be more like the grasses waving in the breeze, touching and supporting one another and rebounding as the storm passes.


Let us, together, be the ones to make it so!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Cited by the Gender Identity Police!

I really wish we didn’t have so many Identity Police busily telling us what we REALLY are and citing us for Doing It Wrong!

I am a strongly feminine person, a woman, who got this way by being a transgender person.  I have been told that I am:
1) Not a Real Woman
2) A biological Male with feminine presentation (Hah!  Like you can see my karyotype.  XY, XX, XO cells all through my body, uterine remnants removed as part of a surgery, etc...)

OK, so maybe I’ll call myself womxn.  That’s supposedly inclusive of those who got here with a trans background, except of course when someone defines it differently.

I find that I am attracted to humans with a strongly feminine personality and presentation.  You know, what we commonly call women, or wimmin, or womxn.  My therapist says that makes me ‘lesbian’, but the Identity Police tell me:
1) I cannot use ‘lesbian’ because I am appropriating their culture.
2) ‘lesbian’ is reserved for Real Women, sometimes spelled Womyn.

OK, whatever.  My identity is ‘really femme human with boobs and vagina who is attracted to similar humans.’

Does that pass muster, O Identity Police?

The folks policing their self-defined borders of identity are nothing more than fools sawing off pieces of our shared life raft.  Perhaps they really believe that they can make it without any support from other marginalized folks.  More likely they haven’t thought that far ahead.

These Identity Police pose a real problem for me, keeping a straight face. 😉

When face-to-face, I have difficulty suppressing my eye-rolling reflex, and often have to go to great lengths to avoid breaking out in laughter at some overly-earnest sort mangling Germaine Greer’s latest rationalizations.

The half-baked ‘explanations’ based on fundamental misunderstandings of biology are just sad, and of course such folks are impervious to mere information.

What does make me sad is that the propaganda campaign laid out by the hate-mongers at Family Research Council appears to be working. They have been seeking to drive a wedge between the LGB population and the smaller Transgender population, and their approach seems to be working.

They are also ramping up their campaign to split off Bi folks.  The overall intent is to fragment the marginalized populations, along with maintaining a strong anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment among their supporters.

Another prong of their attack is the effort to appoint Federal judges with opinions favorable to their cause.   They have been very successful at this.

The overall goals include driving transgender people into invisibility, and revisiting the court decisions that produced marriage equality.  It’s on their web site!

“Ideally, the law would forbid government recognition, in any way (whether on birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, or any other government-issued identification), of any change in an individual’s biological sex as identified at birth.”
https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF16B28.pdf

The plan to split the T off from the LBG arose shortly after marriage equality emerged from the US Supreme Court.
https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/10/23/christian-right-tips-fight-transgender-rights-separate-t-lgb

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/values-voter-summit-panelist-divide-conquer-to-defeat-totalitarian-trans-inclusion-policies/

It’s ugly out there.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Call To Worship - March 31, 2019 - "THE ADVENTURE OF GETTING OLDER" and Trans Day of Visibility

Rev. Sammons will explore the adventure of getting older, both as a minister now retired and as a person who wants to remember the poets adage: “Birth and death are the landmarks but it’s the field between that’s important.” Rev. David Sammons is the Minister Emeritus at MDUUC.


Rev. Sammons is building his sermon on an excerpt from “The Fountain of Age” by Betty Friedan.


Welcome!  I am Michelle Paquette, pronouns she/her/hers.

“Birth and death are the landmarks but it’s the field between that’s important.”  OK, where was this advice 50 years ago when I needed it most?

It was impressed on me at an early age that I had a duty of self-sacrifice, a duty to live my life for others, and that actions for myself were selfish.  I spent much of my life doing this, living the way others demanded.  I essentially marked time, rusting away, soul corroding, waiting for death to ring down the curtain on this performance.

Betty Friedan made the point in “The Fountain of Age” that wearing out is far preferable to rusting out.

Several years ago, I had a crisis of sorts that forced me to re-examine the way I lived my life.  I acted. Rather than rust out, I was going to live, live MY life, and see if I could wear it out instead.

Well, so far, so good!  I’m definitely alive, definitely enjoying life, and while I may wear out I’m definitely not rusting out.


Oh, the dress!

This is something special just for today.  These colors come from a flag designed by Monica Helms, the Transgender Pride flag.  I’ve learned that 70% of folks think they have never met a transgender person.  Now, none of you are in that 70%!   I wear these colors proudly as a transgender person today.

This is the Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to show your support for the trans community. It aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe while fighting fear and prejudice, by spreading knowledge of the trans community.  This is not a day for mourning: this is a day of empowerment and recognition.

This year, we need allies more than ever.  No, what we need are co-conspirators!  Come and join us at 4 this afternoon in Civic Park, downtown Walnut Creek!

For the transgender communities, today is a day to celebrate our lives, our successes of the past year.

For my trans siblings, we who transcend gender have looked beneath the surface, and have seen depths that most do not realize even exist.  We know these depths within ourselves, these places that most may never encounter. We know the strength, the resilience, and the wisdom we hold deep within us.

Now, let us all, together, explore the adventure of getting older, and perhaps  find ways to wear out rather than rust out, as we worship together.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Waiting for “a more convenient season”

"First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. 

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” 

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
- MLK Jr

Reverend King’s words still ring true, and apply even today to the struggle of all marginalized people to be treated as equals and to dispel the hierarchy of privilege imposed by Western Colonialist culture.  

I hear these words, “Not now.  It’s not your time.  Wait for a ‘more convenient season’, as we have other priorities.”  This saddens me.

Within the path of my own life, I see all too clearly the intersectional nature of the same forces that hold back people of color, the differently abled, the queer community, and transgender people.  None of us quite fit the Western Colonialist culture.  We are all seen as somehow living life improperly, due to factors beyond our control. There’s that taint of the broken concept of ‘original sin’, with our differences seen as somehow being more sinful, thus placing us lower on the hierarchy of privilege.

I think that even those of us involved with a faith that has no room for the concept of original sin have, by being raised and living within a Western Colonialist culture, incorporated the cultural concept into our patterns of thought and action.  There is a subtle tendency to place obligation on those whom we see as somehow less worthy, less privileged or more damaged, even when our intentions are good.

We see this placing of obligation in patterns of speech, those little conversation starters and commentary that some see as harmless, but place obligations on the less privileged.  These often carry demands that others justify their presence, or even their existence, demands that are simply not present between privileged peers.  They may serve to put others in their place on a perceived hierarchy of privilege.

“No, where are you REALLY from?”

“Oh, did you see the dress he is wearing?”

“What are you?”

“You don’t act like a normal black person, ya know?”

“I just don’t understand why you’d want to mutilate your body.”

“No, you’re white.”

“You look just like a real woman.”

“No, I don’t do pronouns.”

We call these microaggressions, although there really is nothing “micro” about them to the person on the receiving end.  Impact is rather different than intention, and whether a person is marginalized by nationality, race, orientation, ability, or gender identity, it hurts to be reminded of having less privilege.  It hurts to be put in what others believe is our place.

It hurts to be told that it is not yet our time.  It hurt when I was 15 years old, and it still hurts to hear this at age 65.  I wonder if I will live long enough to see our time come.

I long for the day when I will not be viewed as being wrong for simply existing.  I hope for the day when simply living as our authentic selves will be accepted by the world, rather than seen as proof of our unworthiness, our sin, our mental illness, or other codewords for hatred.

Is it possible to look to common cause, the intersectional source of much of the poor behaviors that we see as white supremacy culture, as homophobia, transphobia, and the other manifestations that come from Western Colonial culture’s assumption that there is only one right set of beliefs, appearances, and ways to live?   Is it possible to move the conversation towards accepting diversity, not only in race, but in nationality, in ability, in gender, in sexuality and identity?

Or, are we advised to wait for “a more convenient season?”


“Letter From a Birmingham Jail”, King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), April 16, 1963

“The Time Is Always Right to Do What Is Right”, Michelle Paquette, 2019

“Thoughts on Privilege”, Michelle Paquette, 2019
“TRUUsT Releases Report on the Experiences of Trans Unitarian Universalists"
https://transuu.org/2019/01/21/truust-releases-report/

"BORN BAD: Original Sin and the Making of the Western World”, James Boyce, Counterpoint, 2015

Friday, March 1, 2019

Surgery: Stage 2 revisions and breast augmentation

I had a full depth Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS) 16 months ago, done as a single-stage procedure, but unfortunately the clitoral hood and labia minora shrank away, leaving some very sensitive spots very exposed.  There’s a reason I don’t wear pants very often!  Ow...

I now have a surgery scheduled for February 26 with Dr. Salim of the San Francisco Gender Clinic, at Kaiser San Francisco for a revision and breast augmentation (BA).

On the GCS revision, the plan is to fuse the very top of the labia majora to construct a clitoral hood, produce a pair of folds within the labia majora so as to reconstruct the labia minora, and at the posterior end the fourchette or labial frenulum, a fold of tissue joining the labia, will be lowered to be level with the introitus or vaginal entry.  (This will make dilation much easier.)

I’ll be off dilation for 3-4 days after surgery, and may have to restart using a narrower dilator at first.  Not a big deal.

I will be using that donut pillow again for a while, though.

For the BA, I’ll be getting 300cc implants.  These will be circular smooth-surface lightly cohesive with medium profile.  (Other profiles may be flat to extended or conical).  With my particular anatomy and pectoral muscle form, I will probably have the most natural appearance and improved aureole placement with an over-muscle implant, with incision in the new breast fold.  I should wind up with something like a 36C.

I’ll be on restricted activity for a month, and won’t be able to lift my arms above shoulder height for a while.  I’ll have to shuffle the kitchen around quite a bit!


And here I am, three days post-op! 

There’s a little discomfort at the labiaplasty site, nothing terrible.  I did use a minimal half tablet of the Norco equivalent I was prescribed to get to sleep last night.  The breast augmentation (BA) mostly just itches around the sides of the medical bra.  The Velcro front fastening on the bra kept coming loose until I put a safety pin through it, before I even left the hospital.  Having a BA?  Bring safety pins!

This morning marked the date I was to remove the bra and shower.  Oh, what a relief that is!  Of course, the unveiling produced it’s own reaction.  For just 300cc on a side, well, damn!    The incisions are quite small, surprising me.  It looks like they will wind up right on the fold, almost invisible.  I’ll start the silicone scar treatment as soon as I am cleared for this by the doctor.

I reapplied A&D ointment (allergic to bacitracin) on the labiaplasty sutures, and put on a fresh pad again.  Bleeding has almost stopped, just a tiny amount of oozing there.  I’ve been cleaning and swapping in fresh pads twice a day.

The Foley catheter is, well, a catheter, with all its own maintenance.  I have a night bag, a leg bag for daytime, and I have to drain them periodically as well as the sanitizing after swapping bags.  I’ve been more active yesterday afternoon and today, and of course that means the catheter tip and lumen (drain opening just behind the tip) have likely been brushing against the bladder lining.  A couple of clots have shown up in the bag, right after a twinge that tells me bladder pressure dropped suddenly.  They likely used a single-lumen catheter and the tiny opening was plugged by a clot.   I have to keep an eye on this, as a plugged indwelling catheter can cause significant problems.  (I can remove it, worst case, and suspect I can now pee on my own as swelling has started to subside.)

After the shower, I had to re-don a sports bra to maintain pressure and placement.  But first...


I have a fun Tommy Bahama resortware dress, rather open on top, that was a bit problematic to wear out in public.  I’d glue on a NuBra, and apply bronzer to try and fake cleavage out of my 34A-B bust.  Now, however, I can just wear it to good effect!