Question: Parent is unsure

A parent asks…

My 18 year old child wants to have breast removal surgery, and has no interest in anything further. They have been wearing a binder for several years. They want to have the surgery before starting college in the fall. I want to support them, and at the same time I worry that maybe as a parent I ought to have them wait in case they may later change their mind. I can use any input. Thanks.

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Posted by on April 30th, 2017 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 3 comments »

3 Responses to “Question: Parent is unsure”

  1. Alan

    Let your kid have surgery. They’re old enough to know what they want, and being able to start college having had surgery will without a doubt make life easier for them. The summer before college is also a great time to do it because recovery does take a while, and they may well want to do internships/research/jobs in subsequent summers that recovery would make more difficult. I had top surgery when I was 16 and (now several years later) have absolutely no regrets about having done so.


    Franc replied:

    For several years, your kid has been binding their chest every single day, despite the weather or comfort issues. That is showing diligence, determination, and a hatred for a part of their body that appears to be unrelenting. If they change their mind later in life, there is always breast augmentation. Why force someone to suffer through something they obviously despise about their body? I understand that parents worry, but being supportive requires taking steps of faith that you do not always fully understand. Given you aren’t the one with the hatred of your body, you couldn’t possibly grasp a full understanding.
    If you believe this to be a body dimorphic issue, have them go to a therapist who specializes in that particular issue first. Get the therapist to sign off that this isn’t that particular issue. Whatever you decide, do it out of love not desperation or fear. <3


  2. David

    Breasts are one of the major cues people use to guess a person’s gender, so it’s certainly understandable that your child wants to eliminate that source of confusion. Assuming that the surgery is done competently, I don’t see any downside (other than the typical surgical risks).

    There are good reasons to stop with “top” surgery and not have the “bottom” surgery. First, it’s not the main factor in misgendering (and if need be, one can wear a packer). Second, genital surgery can result in significant loss of sensation, tender spots, and complications such as fistulas. Third, if one is intimate enough with someone to allow access to that area, it’s probably wise not to hide the fact that one used to be a girl.


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