I recently posted this on a website and wanted to share it with those who may not visit the same site. The title of this post is borrowed from the thread I posted this response under.
Here’s a question to start the discussion: How do you feel about the way your breasts or chest have been perceived by others, and how much say do you have in the way you’re seen?
The above was the question posed on the forums. The following is my response. I have posted it here, verbatim.
Firstly I’d like to say hello to all of you as I’m new to the site.
Now, if I may, I’ll respond. *grins*
From what I’ve read in this thread (and yes, I did read it all), I don’t see anyone in the same position that I’m in that has posted here. So maybe this will be enlightening and will also allow me to get this off my chest (pun intended). *smirks*
I have been out since the age of 14, when I first “came out” the word butch wasn’t in my vocabulary. That came later when I was old enough (or at least looked old enough) to hang around with the “elders”. I was a dyke, a queer, a lesbian, a misfit … but for once in my life I was happy.
I never had huge breasts but then we’ve all heard the saying that more than a handful is a waste. I never was disgusted by them or felt they “got in my way” or made me less butch. In fact, I may be an oddity because of that, I don’t know.
Anyway, back in July of 2001 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, told I was in stage 3 and that if something wasn’t done and/or there was no success with what was done, I would not see Christmas. To say the least, I was stunned. When I could pick my jaw up off the floor, I walked out of the surgeon’s consulting room, out of the hospital and to my car. I don’t know how I got there, I was on auto-pilot. I’m not ashamed to say that I sat in my car for something along the lines of 2 hours sobbing like a baby. I wasn’t scared, I was absolutely petrified. All I could think about was how was I going to tell my partner, our son and OMG not to mention that our first grandchild was due in September.
Between July 4th, 2001 and October 9th of the same year, I had somewhere in the region of 8 surgeries. The final one was a radical double mastectomy. There is a funny story that goes with that final surgery as well which if I can deviate for a moment I’ll tell you … I’ll be short and sweet and to the point.
I woke up back on the ward after my final surgery and was curious as to what things looked like under the covers. Bearing in mind that I was still somewhat groggy and didn’t have my glasses on, I lifted the sheets to see that yep, they were most definitely gone but … what I didn’t know was that when I went to theater for the surgery, because I was there for so long (almost 9 hours total) they fitted a catheter. So the whole ward, patients and staff burst out laughing when I exclaimed … “HOLY SH*T … he took my tits and gave me a dick!!!”
Anyway, its taken me a very long time to accept all this, the scars are a constant reminder. For the most part, I’m fine and not as self-conscious of them as I used to be but my emotions still can be triggered and are, from time to time as a dear friend of mine will attest to.
So now I hear you asking yourself why, if I don’t have breasts am I bothering to respond here … well, its like this. If I am asked to ID in a gender-based environment then I ID as female. Butch is my sexuality, my attitude, my personality. So in many ways when it is assumed I am male, it offends me. But then as Miss Robin, I believe said … breasts are objects that show people we are female, or words to that effect.
I am actively involved in a virtual world game called Second Life. I have a female avatar there, but as in real life, it has no breasts. I am banned from almost every “all-female” area there is within this virtual world. Why?, because I “look” male. Even though there are voice capabilities within Second Life and I am on voice, I am not asked to voice verify. It is just assumed.
So while many of you might have a say in the way you are “seen” and your gender perceived by your breasts, I’m here to state that sometimes it hurts like hell not to have my breasts and to have to fight to hang out with people like myself who love other women.
For any of you that might be interested in finding out more about me, I do have a blog where I place my writings and its listed in my profile. Thanks for reading.