Gender Reassignment Questions: Curiosity Is OK, Insensitivity Isn't

Updated on April 12, 2017

So She Once Peed In The Woods - Who Cares?

Anyone who identifies along the LGBTQ spectrum has inherent challenges, not the least of which are the questions that come with being attracted to a member of your own gender, but for those who identify as trans, it would appear that John Q. Public needs to reinstall his sensitivity chip.

This first occurred to me in early February when Gender Revolution aired on National Geographic. I found out, while writing about how great the documentary was, that Katie Couric had actually been really insensitive a couple of years ago while interviewing Laverne Cox and Candis Cayne, two noted transgender activists and actresses. While hosting her talk show (which has since been pulled), Couric asked about things like their transition surgeries and specifically about their genitalia.

She'd gotten raked over the coals for it, and rightfully so. We tend not to ask each other about our genitals, so why ask a trans individual? Mercifully, she recognized her lack of sensitivity, and she conducted thorough research through work on the documentary Gender Revolution, which was a telling glimpse into both the science behind gender identity and the social facets of it. It was really a positive experience to watch someone of Couric's stature come forward and honestly confront her lack of knowledge about gender and sexual identity in such a powerful way.

Now, Caitlyn Jenner - once Bruce Jenner - has come forward to talk openly about her gender reassignment surgery. While it's great that the Olympic medalist wants to discuss such a personal matter so openly in an international forum, and make no mistake, she is commanding international attention because of her stature as an Olympic athlete and as a very public figure, she shouldn't need to.

Can't she just go pee and be left alone about it?

Under ordinary circumstances, that should indeed be the case. There shouldn't be any question about where she uses the bathroom, or anything like that. In fact, no one should care about what parts she has under her dress but her - and any partners that might come into her future.

She also noted that it was a "complex decision," but at the end of the day, she decided to go forward with the surgery.

"It’s just a penis," she said. It has no special gifts or use for me other than what I have said before, the ability to take a whiz in the woods. I just want to have all the right parts. I am also tired of tucking the damn thing in all the time.”

Fair enough, but why does everyone think it's their business to know about it? Jenner understood that people are going to have questions, and so she decided to speak out about it, but how fair is that to her?

The answer is simple - it just isn't.

She's Got The Right To Privacy


What We Forget

What we so often forget with public figures is that they are regular people, like us, but with far more money. We tend to feel that they have lost all right to privacy because we are in general a voyeuristic society. That doesn't make it right or wrong; that's simply the way things are.

However, when we have degraded to the point where we need to know things about celebrities' private lives right down to their genitalia, there's a problem.

It's great that Caitlyn Jenner wants to be open about what's happened, though she makes it clear that this is the only time she'll bring it up. I think she deserves all the credit in the world for that. However, what the heck is our problem that this needs to be brought up and discussed in the first place?

Look around - we've got kids like Gavin Grimm simply fighting for the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to his gender. In Jenner's case, because she was so visible to the public before her transition, people seem even more fascinated with her now. Good for her that she's decided to use her visibility to draw attention to a range of transgender rights and issues.

Should one of those issues, however, be an open discussion of a transgender person's genitalia? The complex surgery they go through in order to have the genitals belonging to the gender they identify with?

Would we want to be having this conversation if Caitlyn Jenner was our sister, brother, wife, mother?

We forget that she's got a right to privacy, as the rest of us all do. Her celebrity status doesn't make her immune to that; we need to respect her openness on the matter while still respecting that she has the right to keep that most intimate part of herself knowledge for herself and her current or future partners.

Wouldn't that be what you want for any one of your family members?

Gender Reassignment Report - Caitlyn Jenner

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)