February 5, 2014
So, a few months ago, I bought myself a copy of the book Hung Jury: Testimonies of Genital Surgery by Transsexual Men, edited by Shannon T. Cotten. I got it because I didn’t feel like I knew enough about bottom surgery in terms of the details and guys’ actual experiences, I was tired of trying to ignore my body dysphoria about my junk, fed-up with being misinformed about bottom surgeries by the ignorant negativity perpetuated about them so frequently in the trans male community and ashamed of myself for having participated in that out of envy, insecurity and ignorance.
In my opinion, Hung Jury is a really good, necessary, informative book overall, although I found that the information (mostly the surgical details) did tend to get a bit repetitive — which is to be expected, since the details of the surgeries only tend to differ so much. One of my favorite parts of the book was the chapter about Lou Sullivan’s transition through his own journal entries and things he published in the newsletter FTM International (which he helped start), especially his experiences transitioning in SF and being in the gay scene there as a trans guy. Another favorite part of the book was the chapter by a black trans man whose name I think is Toyneo because I’m mixed (black, Jewish, Cherokee) so my body is different than it would be if I were just white, and my experiences are different. That was really helpful to read.
However, I do have a major problem with how some guys in the book refer to pre-op (and non-op) trans guys’ cocks as “clitorises” and I think (I can’t remember exactly) referring to pre-op (and non-op) trans guys’ genitals as “female” because both of those things disrespect our rights to body autonomy and consent since they ignore other guys’ right to decide how our bodies are referred to, and there’s no fucking way that they didn’t know a lot of trans guys would (rightfully) have problems with that. That gave off a really snotty message of “Well, I’ve had bottom surgery, so I have a penis now. If you haven’t had bottom surgery, then your body isn’t totally male.” Fuck that bullshit so much. I do not have any problem with a trans guy referring to his own genitals however he wants to, but I have a serious problem with trans guys just deciding for themselves how to refer to other guys’ bodies (or anyone else’s bodies) without permission because that’s oppressive. I haven’t had bottom surgery yet, but that doesn’t mean I have a “clitoris” - I have a penis and that’s all I’ve ever had, regardless of my hormones and surgical status at any point, end of the fucking story, goodbye.
I guess I will say that I cautiously recommend the book to other trans guys (and anyone else) who want to know more about bottom surgeries, especially other trans guys’ experiences with them — but I’d warn about the nonconsensual technical terms / misgendering, as well as gory details, lots of stuff about body dysphoria that may be triggering, etc. Also, there’s a bunch of writing that the partners of the trans guys featured did that’s in the back of the book after the trans guys’ essays, but I haven’t actually read those yet, so caution about those as well, I guess. There also may be other stuff in there that’s shitty that I’m forgetting. Oh, I also wish that more gay trans men had been featured.
Overall, I really liked the book and I’m glad I read it.
- Hung Jury (book review)