Talking FFS with Family
You have thought a thousand times before talking FFS with family or loved ones. Yet you haven’t done it yet.
Talking FFS with family can be complicated too. If we are fortunate, our family loves and protects us, meaning we try not to worry them. Surgeries are usually very scary because of the risk they represent. So the topic is often put off for later, and later, and later. We procrastinate.
It doesn’t make it easier that your family tends to say well-intentioned things like, “You are beautiful just as you are” and “You’re already feminine.”
That is a lovely affirmation to have. However, deep down you really want and need to surgically change. It’s for you, not anyone else, although at the root of things you also want it to ease social integration. You are hoping that finally the image in the mirror will seem more you. Someone you will feel comfortable and identify with as yourself.
Get talking FFS with family early
Since it is such an important aspect of your life, it is important that you get talking FFS with family as soon as possible. Try to do it with great confidence, but you must also bear in mind that you may get a response different from the one that you would like. Differences of opinion must be respected. Each family member, partner or close friend needs time to process the idea of changes as you transition too.
Your family helps with financing
Let’s take the example that you depend on the financial support of your family in order to have facial feminization surgery. You will need to explain that this gender-affirming medical intervention is a necessity for your safety, mental health and overall wellbeing. This may be obvious to you, but others may not understand at first how beneficial it will be to something so basic as your daily functioning in society.
NOT having your gender identity questioned constantly makes your day-to-day routines easier. You will be able to say that your facial appearance finally corresponds to who you really are. Talking FFS with family means making them imagine the boost in confidence that will ultimately help you in all walks of life: relationships, jobs, healthcare access.
Family provides emotional support
Now, on the other hand, let’s consider the situation in which you can finance the surgery yourself. You will still be faced with talking FFS with family, of course. Yet in this case, it is not so much about convincing in order to validate financial help. Rather, it’s more focused on informing your loved ones in order to dissipate their concerns about what they may perceive as risky. Keep them in tune since you will need to depend on your closest friends and family for crucial emotional support during the FFS process.
Resources for talking FFS with family
We advise you to use all the resources available online to show your loved ones the reasons why you chose FT for your facial feminization surgery.
What will you look like? Who will do this?
It could be a good idea to show them before and after photos, include them in your consultations, have a look together at the details about the team of surgeons and nurses, with their long professional history and tireless dedication to the quality of life of trans women. Let them know all the ways your clinic is looking after you: that you will have the support of a coordinator 24 hours a day. Other health professionals who will be at your disposal, such as a physiotherapist, psychologist, acupuncturist.
How will you be cared for after the operation?
Their biggest worry is sure to be the postoperative care after the surgery. They will be relieved to know that a nurse will visit you every day if you stay at the Villa to check that everything is fine. You won’t be alone. Group sessions with the staff psychologist are planned weekly and individual attention is readily available.
Join them in the FFS Process
Sometimes, parents, partners and other family members are good allies to have during the research stage too. They may ask questions during the informative consultations which may not occur to you.
One of the best options is to watch the videos of the interviews of other parents and partners of patients who have already undergone surgery. They have accompanied their daughters to Marbella. They will be able to hear the experience from the same point of view, from the “outside.” The Facebook peer groups have patients and family from around the world and all different ages, some who are mentors to families just starting the journey.
Informing family and partners about FFS
The same information that has made you feel safe throughout the process of choosing surgeons will help them understand your desire to have facial gender surgery. Include them in the decision-making process, ask for their opinions. If they are there with you at each step, it will be easier to convey the importance of this surgery for your quality of life.
This is the first of a 3-part series for families, partners or friends of FFS patients. Coming next week, the perspective from the other side: When your daughter wants to talk about facial feminizing surgery. In the meantime, read more on the topic from the author on transitioning for loved ones of trans people: talking FFS with family, D. M. Maynard of the Workbook on your transition as your partner transitions.