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Non-Binary Surgery Overview

If you are curious about the fundamentals of non-binary surgery, we have outlined the whole process.

If you are curious about the fundamentals of gender identity, we have outlined the whole process. We will highlight the surgical techniques by Board-Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Mosser from Gender Confirmation Center has used before with FTN (female to non-binary) identifying patients. This basic introduction will help answer the most commonly asked questions before getting into the more intricate details of each type of procedure. You can watch the following hour-long lecture on non-binary identities and surgeries from the 2019 Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference for more information.

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What Does the Term Non-Binary Mean?  

To better understand non-binary identities, it’s essential to grasp a basic definition of the term and understand the difference between assigned sex and gender identity.

  • Assigned Sex: When a person is born, the physician will designate them as ‘male,’ ‘female,’ or intersex, based on examining chromosomal features, genitals, and internal organs. Non-intersex babies are “assigned male at birth” (AMAB) or “assigned female at birth” (AFAB) to describe that the doctor(s) assigned the sex of the baby when they were born. 
  • Gender Identity: Gender is much different from assigned sex. Gender identity is more an internal experience and a way to characterize the gender in which a person identifies. There are many gender identities, like male/man, female/woman, non-binary, genderqueer, agender, and many more. 
  • Cisgender: This term means that you identify with your assigned sex at birth. 
  • Transgender: Transgender is when you don’t identify with your assigned sex at birth. It is an umbrella term for other gender identities besides cisgender.
  • Gender Binary: The gender binary is a societal system that divides people into only two normative gender role categories, male and female, to describe identities and physical attributes.
  • Non-Binary: Non-binary gender identity is any identity not within the gender binary of male or female. 

What Kinds of Pronouns Do Non-Binary People Use?

It is essential to keep in mind that non-binary gender identities are nothing new and have been recognized for centuries. People who identify as non-binary sometimes use pronouns outside of the binary. For example, they/them. However, there are many gender-neutral pronouns, neopronouns (ex: ze/hir/hirs), and mixed pronouns (ex: she/they) that people use, as well. Essentially, it’s always good practice to ask someone what their pronouns are when first being introduced or engaging in conversation. 

What Does the Transitioning Process Look Like?

Transitioning as a non-binary person can involve many aspects. For instance, they could take hormones, undergo surgery, or represent their identity through gender expression (like binding, clothing style, hair changes, etc.) Some non-binary people may not transition at all. Since gender is such a broad spectrum, a person who identifies as non-binary, agender, or gender non-conforming can express their gender however they want – there is no one way to be non-binary. What’s important to know is that there is flexibility in a person’s medical alignment, which is what Dr. Mosser always keeps in mind. 

What Do Surgical Results Look Like for Non-Binary Folks?

If someone identifies as non-binary, then every aspect of their anatomy is non-binary, too. For example, if a non-binary individual has chest tissue, their chest should never be called a “female” chest. We are navigating in particular to find the balance between a person’s non-binary identity and their physical presentation, which can be done through gender-affirming surgeries. 

Since every patient has unique requirements, Dr. Mosser will tell you about all surgical options available to you. That way, the patient will have all the information and tools to decide what surgical options are right for them. 

What’s Dr. Mosser’s Background With Top Surgeries?

Since March 2020, Dr. Mosser has completed 1500 top surgeries and has excellent insight on the diversity of body types and what outcomes patients may want.

There are many ways of expressing gender which could be relevant to non-binary folks. Also, there are many types of top surgery features where the result could be tailored to a patient’s preference, giving them the agency to achieve their desired results that match their gender identity.  

Top surgery can be complex to navigate since there are so many different aspects to it. The best way to start is by talking about gender-neutral results and what the ideal top surgery result would look like to you. 

Then, we can discuss binary features and how they can be altered to a patient’s preference and highlight a more non-binary appearance. 

What Types of Top Surgeries Are There?

Incisions and Chest Contours and Nipple and Areola Options are excellent starting points for learning more about non-binary top surgery. Keep in mind that this content has been created based on the identities and surgical needs of non-binary and gender non-conforming patients that Dr. Mosser has seen at his practice. Since every non-binary person has a unique identity, it may not be a complete representation of what all gender non-conforming folks are seeking out for their transition. 

While-Reading Our Non-Binary and Gender-Neutral Information, Be Sure to Be Mindful Of the Following: 

  • Unfortunately, gender neutrality is generally limited by social constructs according to the binary of male or female. In essence, your non-binary surgical result may not be seen as ‘male’ or ‘female’ to others but can to you. 
  • Surgical results that have a gender-neutral appearance will give room for more flexibility and adaptation. As a result, it can reduce gender dysphoria symptoms. 
  • Even though some people decide to undergo surgery to find unity in their gender identity, others may not feel the same, which is also a completely valid choice. 

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Billie Olsen

MODEL: Billie Olsen

Billie Olsen (she/they) is a lifestyle writer, disability justice advocate, and cozy femme located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Their works have appeared in Metro News, Discorder, Sophomore Magazine, the Post-Feminist Post, DINE Magazine, and NerdReader.