The Gender Confirmation Journey

Formerly, Gender Confirming Surgeries were referred to as “Sexual Reassignment Surgeries” and are currently referred to as such in the Standards of Care by WPATH. As we grow, evolve and explore ourselves, so does the language we use. Some folks feel that “Gender Affirming Surgery” fits their own narrative better than “Gender Confirming Surgery.” At the Gender Confirmation Center we embrace both terms of Gender Confirming Surgery and Gender Affirming Surgery and encourage folks to explore what language best represents them. 

It can be daunting to think about all the steps are that are necessary between considering surgery and completing a surgery successfully. To help with this process, we lay out something of a typical journey to ease your anxieties about the milestones that lay ahead.

It’s important to realize that there are many diverse stages people go through in the exploratory process of gender transition. Considering your options does not necessarily mean you are immediately ready for surgery. We tried to take some of these early stages into account when we thought about the design of information on this website. Some individuals are at a very early stage of inquiry about gender transition, having realized that they are not comfortable with the sex and gender they were designated at birth. They also might be learning about different gender expressions and gender surgery possibilities that are out there. Others are certain they are transgender and are actively exploring surgical options to determine what is right for them.

Finally, there are individuals who have decided on surgery and are empowering themselves with information regarding surgical options, trade-offs, and recovery. These individuals are very close to the final stage, which is to seek a surgeon that is right for them for their gender confirmation surgery.

If you’d like to read more about the step-by step process that will take you to and through surgery, please click the links for FTM/N surgery , MTF/N surgery, facial surgery, and body contouring. For step-by-step guidance through the consultation-to-surgery process, you can download our handouts for both adult and adolescent patients. Note that the addition of the letter “N” denotes the term nonbinary, and some use it as a placeholder for other gender-expansive or gender-infinite identities. More information regarding this term can be found on our introduction to surgery web page.