The Hardest Thing You'll Ever Do?

I worte a book titled How To Change Your Sex: A Lighthearted Look at the Hardest Thing You'll Ever Do. But now that I am fighting cancer, I have to ask myself, is this the hardest thing I'll ever do? And while I'm thinking about it, I remembered that a young trannie once questioned the title of my book, claiming that learning to surf was much harder than changing her sex. So let's compare these three activities, with a veiw toward asking, what is the hardest thing a person is ever likely to do? Ummmm, let's make that, what a transsexual surfer with cancer is likely to do!

Catagory Changing your sex Surviving cancer Learning to surf
Life-threatening Moderately high (the suicide rate is very high) High Moderately low
Entertainment value Medium Low High
Length of treatment 3 years just for electrolysis 3 to 6 months 2 days ("After a weekend course with us, the vast majority of participants are standing up and riding waves.")
  None of the three activities are ever really finished. I'll always be trans, I'll always be watching for the cancer to come back, and my surfing skills will always be improving. (Or they would be, if I surfed, which I don't. I grew up in L.A., but my older brother was the surfer in the family and I didn't do anythinng he did.)
Equipment needed New wardrobe, cosmetics, often some wigs and breast forms Wig, scarfs, hats, vomit bucket Board, leash, board rack for car, wax, shorts, sunscreen, maybe a wetsuit
New skills needed Male-to-female: feminine poise and deportment; feminine voice; cosmetics and hair
Female-to-male: pee standing up; assertive or aggresive behavior; courage to ask girls (or guys) out
Tolerate pain and vomiting; accept one's own mortality; in some cases, self-deliverance Balance, flexibility, strength, reflexes
Surgery SRS, facial feminization surgery, breast enhancement (all optional) May be a treatment option None (if you're lucky)
Drugs Hormones, lidocaine for electrolysis Chemotherapy, anti-naseua, pain meds Beer, weed
Cost High Moderate (if insured) Low
Treatment regimine Complex (read the book) Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation Surf a lot
Where to do it Anywhere, but preferable San Francisco A cancer center or hospital An ocean beach with good waves
Willpower and choice Extremely difficult Little choice but high willpower Moderate willpower and free choice
Society's approval Low High Moderate
Support of friends and family Hard to come by Super Freinds yes, family questionable
Impact on marriage Usually fatal Stressful Married? No way, dude!
How gay? As queer as it gets Not gay Not gay, dude
Fun crowd? Oh yes! Hell no I suppose
Movies are Dramadies Tragedies Comedies and adventure

So what is the hardest thing you'll ever do? I still have to say changing my sex is hardest, and the reason is that we get so little support when we're doing it. Everybody roots for the cancer sufferer, and nobody (except your father) objects to you learning to surf. But when you go to change your sex, society tells you you're wrong, the medical profession tells you you're crazy, your family disowns you, and your wife wishes you were dead instead. It was such a difficult thing just to figure out for myself that I was indeed one of those freaky transsexuals, and to give myself permission to explore my female side. Then trying to be understanding and supportive when all my friends and family told me I was nuts and tried to talk me out of it, well, it's very challenging. And then when all is said an done, I discover that there doesn't seem to be a man or woman in the world who wants to date me once they know about my sex change. It totally sucks. I can understand why so many of us get so discouraged, we just commit suicide rather than try to find our way through it all. Has anyone ever commited suicide because learing to surf was so hard?

Of course, with great challenges come great rewards, and changing my sex was definately the best thing I ever did for myself. I'm such a happy person now, I have so many friends, and I am able to do so much to help others, it's like day and night compared to my life as a man. I even found a special someone to love, another trans woman like myself. I'll be happy if I survive the cancer, and maybe even have a new appreciation for my life, but it won't be anything compared to the boost I got by changing my sex. And you know what? Next summer, when this cancer thing is all behind me, I'm thinking that maybe I'll just try to learn to surf!

Lannie Rose
August 8, 2008

p.s. Having been through most of my cancer treatment now, I can say cancer is the WORST thing I hope I ever do (but changing my sex was still the hardest).