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Interesting Question
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February 10, 2011
6:36 am
Viscera Trocar
CA
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January 18, 2011
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A friend posed an interesting question the other day. He asked if gender reassignment counts as body mod. My first thought was yes. In every physical, emotional and biological way, changing one's gender counts as genuine body mod.

But then I got to thinking about how the majority of mods practiced are derived from ancient tribal customs. Gender reassignment, at least as we know it today, is a very modern thing. It is also a necessary action, both physically and emotionally for the person. Not all tribal-type rituals we practice today are as direly important. Also, ritual mods rarely, if ever, require psychologist approval.

The similarities between ritual modification and gender reassignment are numerous. In bot cases, the person is trying to make the outside match the inside. Both often require lifestyle changes in some form. And both hold far more significance to the individual than the spectator.

I feel that the correct answer is yes. But I am curious as to what others think. This is a a very layered question.

February 14, 2011
1:15 pm
Chris Carter
Pennsylvania
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There's no question in my mind that gender reassignment is body modification. I would even guess you would be hard-pressed to find a person who would disagree.

Church of Body Modification, President

February 14, 2011
11:18 pm
needeledhead
inman, SC
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i agree that it's a form of body modification

February 17, 2011
11:46 am
Lauren M.
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I completely agree that it is a form of body modification.  But then, I would generally view all types of plastic surgery as body modification (obviously depending on their reasons for undergoing the process).

February 17, 2011
2:31 pm
Dark Matter
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Definitely it is body mod.  Just because the reasons behind it might be different to tribal modification is a moot point to me.  Who's to say that if people had had the ability to change their gender in years gone by that they wouldn't have done it if necessary?

There is no coming to consciousness without pain.  - Carl Jung
February 18, 2011
4:48 pm
Viscera Trocar
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I think the reasons do make a difference. For example, someone who gets a breast implant after a mastectomy is trying to regain a part they lost more than they are trying to alter their appearance.

It's good to know I'm not the only person who feels this way. My friend doesn't agree for some reason.

February 21, 2011
1:07 pm
Sophiavm
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I am a transsexual woman and I definately think that SRS (sex reassignment surgery) is

Body Mod. As for it being necessary that is true but I would also think that some people

who get body modifications would consider that necessary as well. I have three facial

piercings and I think of them as a very important external expression of who I am. I

Wouldn't put it at the same level of importance as my transition but it still ranks rather

highly. I have several tattoos planned out (for when I eventually have the money)

and every single one of them has a very strong spiritual significance to me. The Native

Americans believe in people who are two spirit. If you read about it they were (and in

some cases still are are) considered an important part of the tribe. They were anything

from spiritual leaders to counselors etc. There was heavy spiritual significance

attributed to them. If things like hormone replacement therapy (hrt) and srs were

available back then I have no doubt in my mind they would have taken advantage of

those opportunities.

-Sophia-

March 12, 2011
1:00 pm
Dizzy_Essie
Clearlake, CA
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Trans goes all the way back to Greek Mythology… Aphrodite and Hermes child was dual gendered, and indeed there are many examples of two spirit people in Native American records. I myself am Trans MTF and I believe every aspect of my transition from hormone replacement to name change and eventually, for me, SRS is modification of myself mentally, physically and spiritually.

March 14, 2011
4:33 pm
Feygon
Portland, OR
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March 14, 2011
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I notice that a few people have thought to speak about your assumption that Transgender is a recent thing. But no one has given you any specific resources yet. This is a theirstory that has been marginalized by patriarchal history, and can actually be quite difficult to pin down to reliable resources.

It took trans author Leslie Feinberg (Stone Butch Blues; Transgender Warriors) decades of research and some pretty large notoriety to uncover the research that they used in Transgender Warriors. This book has tons of extant illustrated and photographic evidence that transgender expression (and insofar as technology allowed, identification) has existed for thousands of years.

Their other book, Stone Butch Blues, explores the life of a transman in a small town, and shows how transgender transition can be a matter of survival, not just a desire to self-identify.

Transitioning is not a recent thing — only the hormonal and surgical procedures are. People have been expressing non-binary gender expression through body modification all down through history. But all patriarchal oppression is the same story of power and prejudice pushing non-compliant narratives into the margins, and the trans story is a heavily marginalized narrative. One of the most.

I'm new here, and I was really happy to see this topic had already come up in the forums. Kudos!

Cool

June 18, 2011
5:06 pm
devyne80
New York
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G.R. is definitely body modification. Anything to alter one's appearance in a more physical manner should be covered under that label. For example, I had a breast augmentation and I consider that to be body modification.

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