The Transchick Chronicles

A vaginoplasty at last, stolen laundry, and a desire to be ‘someone’s woman’


March 2024

Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment of “The Transchick Chronicles,” an on-going series of essays written by trans journalist Stephanie Haskins as she documents her transition, and modern transgender life. Scroll to the bottom for links to her previous entries.

BY STEPHANIE HASKINS

It’s 9:45 a.m. on Monday, January 22, 2024.

A very pregnant, quite beautiful young nurse in loose blue scrubs is hovering close.

She holds a bag of strange instruments in her hand. I know what they are, and I’m frightened.

She’s preparing to guide me out of the only existence I’ve ever known and into the next.

But, really, there isn’t much of “me” left.

I was born Stephen Frederick Haskins, but what’s left of that person is now measured only in seconds.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

The clock on the wall in my spacious room at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital at 2425 Geary Street in San Francisco, California, makes almost imperceptible clicks as the second hand sweeps silently from one moment to the next

I fantasize that this nurse will soon be done with her careful preparations, and then, THEN, Stephen—ALL of Stephen—will finally be no more.

I’m prepared for some pain, maybe a lot, and I’m resigned to enduring it so as to arrive on the other side.

And then she begins.

“Breathe deeply,” she says quietly, softly crooning this rather dispassionate, yet melodious good-bye to a person who has lived a relatively long, mostly interesting, pretty successful life.

As a male.

Almost two years ago, most of the last molecules of Stephen were cut and rearranged. It’s now time to bring Stephen to a definite, forever, end.

Always being obedient to authority figures—even to such a petite, delicate creature such as this young nurse—I comply willingly.

My lungs fill and empty: Out, In, Out, In, Out…

It feels cold as the instrument she holds in her hand starts its journey inside me.

“So long, kid,” I whisper to myself.

And then, as hoped, Stephen is gone. There is nothing more.

Except for the long, slippery piece of silicone that this nurse is inserting between my legs.

In my new, incredibly beautiful vagina.

My eyes fill with tears.

The instrument—a dilator—is starting to stretch the tissue of my new female place.

My vagina.

It’s one of the most beautiful, wonderful moments of my life.

My second iteration as a human being.

I am fully Stephanie now.

The very last bits of my old self, my old and often uncomfortable (and terrified) faux-male being are being drowned in gobs of cold, clear, slippery lubricant. The young woman guides my hand, which now holds a silicone, sort-of-penis-shaped dilator into this wonderful and mysterious new place.

My vagina. Mine!

Oh, the drama.

What you see here, below, are examples of said dilator. They are, in effect, the medical versions of a dildo.

 

 

The nurse is teaching me how to use them to keep my new vagina stretched and supple, so it won’t collapse onto itself and re-knit itself together.

I will have to do this forever. Or, as long as I live out my life as my surgically altered (and greatly enhanced) female version of myself.

As a transgender woman.

Over the coming months I will gradually graduate to each slightly larger version of this dilator, until I reach the one that (supposedly) almost exactly resembles the shape of an average male penis. (According to MedicalNewsToday, the average size of a flaccid penis is 3.5 inches and the average size of an erect penis is 5.1 inches.)

Make no mistake: this process—dilation—truly does signify the end of myself as anything resembling a male. Even the surgery a week earlier, when I received my full-depth vagina after more than a year of negotiating, pleading, and begging doctors to give me one—had not completely put an end to Stephen.

But my first dilating session does. Absolutely.

Because I finally know that I can fully function as a female person. As a woman.

To be more blunt: I can now choose to allow another human person with a penis (or penis-adjacent item) to insert it inside my vagina—to consummate the act of sexual congress.

As I’ve chronicled in earlier Transchick columns, I seriously doubt any penis attached to a man will ever be allowed access. I’ve thought long and hard about it (yes, pun intended) and I just can’t quite row myself across that part of the Rubicon. I just can’t. I don’t want a face with stubble pressed on mine, or hairy arms around me, or a penis inside me.

Sorry, boys. I’m a girl’s girl now. A lesbian, I suppose. My attractions do include male-to-female transgender women, but no more cisgender males. My transition has somehow erased any sexual feelings I once had for those with penises—back when I still identified as an extremely closeted gay cisgender male. (No, I can’t explain it. It just IS.)

As I’ve also explained in earlier columns, a couple years ago I had a vulvoplasty, a procedure that created a shallow-depth vagina—one with a depression of only an inch and a half or so. It’s not deep enough for any sort of penetration, and NOT what I wanted.

I wanted a vaginoplasty, a gender-affirming, feminizing surgery that creates a vagina and vulva (including mons, labia, clitoris and urethral opening) and fully removes the penis, scrotal sac and testes. But my first doctor refused to give me what I wanted. Even though I’d been cleared by a cardiologist and given a VERY clean bill of health, she was afraid that my ticker would give out during the surgery.

But I continued to fight for it. I’ve cried so many tears over the process of getting it approved, enduring a seemingly endless number of train treks from my home in Sacramento to San Francisco for what I considered to be needlessly redundant consultations.

I finally found a new doctor, one who agreed to my wishes, and who successfully harvested tissue from my lower abdominal area to use in creating a deeper vaginal canal.

It’s a vagina that will, ultimately, accommodate an average size penis. And yes, a penis I don’t want.

I get it. You’re confused.

Without the need for human penile penetration, what’s the point then of having a full-depth vag, you ask?

It matters, I suppose, because now that I’ve come to finally know myself as a woman, and actually feel like a truly feminine being, it’s something that’s simply important and meaningful and intimate and essential to being a woman.

Beyond that, the only other response that I have—or will have—is because I want one.

And because I feel enormously fulfilled now that I do have it.

End of discussion.

 

  *     *     *

 

Up until this point, during my five-year journey to shuck my bodily husk of maleness—or “manliness” if you will—and to assume my way-more natural place in this world as a woman, I sometimes sensed random and unexpected pieces of doubt.

Tiny pieces.

But still.

Was I really this female person?

Was she ACTUALLY me?

Those sometimes terrifying moments—very rare, but very real—when I felt I was NOT the 100 percent genuine woman I so desperately wanted to be, bothered the hell out of me.

I worried that some itty-bitty chunks of maleness still lurked in some secret crevices of my very tattered soul.

I wondered. I agonized. I sometimes wept from fear.

I don’t assume I was at all unique in holding those feelings. I believe almost everyone has, on occasion, experienced that same wandering, intrusive malignant doubt at the very core of their being—moments of absolutely paralyzing fear when we silently ask ourselves the most terrifying of all questions: WHO AM I?

Until five years ago, I couldn’t have given anyone an honest answer. I had no clue. Not even close to knowing. Understanding my true self was the mystery of mysteries; it had twisted itself into my spiritual consciousness since I had my first sentient thought, somewhere around two or three years of age.

Not until five years ago did I realize I simply didn’t want to be me. Only then did I fully grasp that I was NEVER going to be the little Stevie Haskins that every person around me thought I was, or demanded that I be.

Only then could I admit that I was transgender. Or, “across gender,” as some dictionaries describe the meaning of the word—and now the meaning of me.

According to the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute, there are 1.6 million known trans people in the United States, (but likely WAY more). And in recent years, OUR presence, OUR imperatives, have woven a complex political and cultural spell on our society and our nation.

I’ve come late to this identity, to this truth.

But now that I’ve finally arrived, what’s next?

 

 *     *     *

 

Two months after my vaginoplasty, I can still confirm that my five-inch deep vagina makes me about as happy as anything else ever. 

I’ve changed.

I’m joyous.

That’s exactly the right word.

I’m fucking JOYOUS.

(I’ve used that word before in previous writings about my transition, but THAT joy has now been topped with even MORE joy.)

Yes, I know that my medically-created vagina isn’t technically the same as that of a person who was assigned female at birth.

Of course it isn’t. It’s a closed system. The canal goes no place else. It’s not connected to any other part of my body. I have no cervix, ovaries or uterus. I will never, ever carry a baby. Not even if I were years younger.

Of course (side note here), someday transgender women WILL be able to give birth. I’m convinced of that. Absolutely.

Uterus transplants have already happened, only with people who were born with the necessary bone structure and original equipment—women who, for some reason. have non-functional original equipment. The first uterus transplant took place in 2014 with a healthy baby carried and delivered in a subsequent procedure.

But transplanted uteruses don’t last long; after a delivery, they’re removed. Science has yet to figure out how to prevent a woman’s body from rejecting one that has been transplanted. And doctors don’t want to condemn women to a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs. The protocol is brutal.

So for now, a rent-a-uterus, I suppose.

I remember reading an Associated Press news story about some research back in the 1980s positing that men could indeed carry a baby if a fertilized ovum were to be implanted on a major organ—like a kidney or the liver—and then the fetus would theoretically create its own ecosystem, including an umbilical cord. This baby-in-man would grow to term, and then be removed by a Caesarian section. I was intrigued.

An Indian scientist, Dr. Naurenda Kaushul, has been saying for some time that he’s ready to do a uterine transplant “soon” on a transwoman, but so far, nada.

We’ll see.

Nonetheless, the fact that we as a culture are even THINKING about expanding the theoreticals of child conception into something approaching real life is amazing.

Of course, at the same time, people like the orange psychopath trying to slither his way back into the White House—along with his equally deranged cult of hatemongers—wants to grind us up into buzzard chow and send us deep into Hell’s hottest disco inferno.

I joke about that but I might just be whistling past the graveyard. My future, and the future of all LGBTQIA+ people seems cloudy indeed. Especially the T people in that acronym.

That aside, as each day passes, and as I continue to dilate my new vagina four times a day, I continue to feel joy. Joy about my body. About who I am.

Inside.

Outside.

All around the town

The dilation process is pretty simple, not at all complicated. I lie on my back, spread my legs froggy style, put lots and lots and lots of water based clear lube on my dilator, and slowly insert it in my vagina.

It doesn’t necessarily hurt, but it IS a bit uncomfortable. I slowly push it in as far as I can. And when it feels like I’ve reached the back of the canal, I stop and hold it in there for 15 minutes.

Funny how this new routine has helped erase any lingering doubts about who I am, who I’m supposed to be, who I’ve always been.

 

  *      *       *

 

I had to do some laundry the other day. So I carried my basket of dirty clothes over to the shared laundry room in my condo building.

Once there, I realized I’d left my laundry payment-card back in my unit, so I put my basket down on a washing machine and went to retrieve it. When I got back to my place, my phone rang, and I took the call.

Twenty minutes later, I finally got back to the laundry room and, as I began loading my delicates into the washer, I discovered—much to my shock and dismay—that ALL of my used underwear were missing.

Just the underwear.

Hmmmm. How could this be? Where could they have gone? I know they were in the basket when I brought it down.

Did someone actually take my panties?

I’m guessing, of course, but I came to the conclusion that somebody else with access to this laundry room–somebody with a fetish–had likely seen them unattended and jumped at the chance to–well, only godknowswhat.

(I’ve since learned that there’s quite a market for selling used panties.)

 

The shared laundry room in the Transchick’s condo building 

 

Needless to say, I was pretty miffed. Pissed, actually. Thirty bucks to buy replacements.

But then I realized…

This person (one of my condo neighbors?!?!) had stolen MY underwear. All of which had been worn around my lady bits.

My lady bits.

Then the movie title of a 1991 Al Pacino film suddenly popped into my head and I started to giggle: Scent of a Woman.

The panty thief had absconded with a dozen of my multi-colored skivvies—my scent of woman.

Why? Because I was a woman.

Not a guy in a dress.

Sure, this garment grab might not seem like it should be a moment of pure gender affirmation and euphoria—but it was.

The scent of a woman.

That’s what I’ve got.

And, of course, joy.

 

*     *     *

 

A few days ago, I had another revelation.

One that, frankly, stunned me.

You see, dear readers, because I now truly feel—deep inside my innermost being—completely feminine, I not only want to be seen as a woman and accepted as a woman, I want to be TREATED like a woman.

I want to be someone’s woman.

There. I said it. I want to be held and pampered and catered to and cherished and yes, made love to.

(Just not by a guy.)

This is a real, honest-to-god-holy-shit moment for me. Because up until now, I wasn’t really sure whether I could actually subordinate myself to another person.

Could I/would I embrace an occasional soft-feminine place in someone else’s life?

The answer now, is most definitely yes.

I want to be someone’s woman.

I no longer want to present—literally AND figuratively—like a woman who used to have balls between her legs.

Who always felt like she had to be in charge.

Who had to be the boss.

Of everyone.

All the time.

Or else.

I no longer want to feel like I can only succeed by being the “strong chick.” No more being slinky with a minky down below—feeling ever so fem with my new pantyhose but still with the attitude of Atilla the Hun.

During my transition these past few years, I looked and sounded and acted more and more like a woman but I still sometimes had the attitude of an asshole.

An asshole MAN.

Old habits die hard.

I’m realizing that I no longer need to hold on to ANY part of the masculine myth ANY longer.

I finally want to shed all of the toxic, masculine sensibilities of feeling like I have some biological imperative to run the goddamn universe.

And I realize, at the same time, that I still have a lot to learn about both my own femininity and my own feminism. 

I’ve been holding on to many of the bad lessons I learned as the male imposter who I so badly wanted to put down and put away.

To totally erase.

I suppose the fact that I’ve tried so hard, for so long, to mold and actualize my birth identity makes this recent revelation even more surprising. My physical transition is basically complete but my emotional conversion continues.

Only now can I fully acknowledge my very visceral yearning to be a sometimes subordinate woman—a woman who truly allows herself the freedom to internalize the caring, nurturing side of her very being.

I no longer have to be the dominant person in every situation.

I no longer have to be the “top” in every relationship.

Beyond the obvious—that I enjoy allowing others to hold the door for me, that I’d like to receive flowers from someone who thinks I’m fabulous, or a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne from an infatuated, overwhelmed lover—it’s the emotional realization that I could, would, and do want to just give myself over to another person and let THEM do the heavy lifting once in a while.

I spent a lot of years running television newsrooms, and being THE GUY in charge gave me a huge rush. I liked being the decision maker. And I think I did a really good job. People seemed to like working for me and taking my direction.

Looking back, I don’t know that I’d change a whole lot if I’d been in those same positions of power as a woman. My operating philosophy as a manager, as THE GUY, was to be as kind and decent and as inclusive as I could be. But still, would the dynamics of my leadership have been all that much different if I’d been presenting as a woman?

I guess I’ll never know.

But I’d like to think yes.

I’d like to think I’d be even kinder and more decent and more inclusive.

 I’ve noticed over the past couple of years that people seem to gravitate towards me more than they did when I was male.

Is it because my voice is softer and higher pitched?

Is it because I smile a lot more than I used to?

Is it because laughter comes far more easily?

Is it because I’m simply less rough-around-the-edges, both outwardly AND inwardly?

 

Stephanie “The Transchick” Haskins

 

It’s been such a wonderful yet painful, exciting yet terrifying journey these past five years that to arrive at my present state of womanhood and realize I want to be someone else’s woman…

 Well, it’s led to yet another revelation.

I first need to become my OWN woman.

I need to become sure enough, in my own feminine soul (and skin), to accept myself for whom I truly am, and have become.

I need to KNOW that I’m worthy of being courted and wooed and won over.

In the not too distant future, I’m going to send a really lovely bouquet of persimmon-colored roses to this brand new, and rather striking woman who has caught my eye.

I think she’s really kind of fabulous.

Her name is Stephanie.

She wants and needs and deserves to be someone’s woman—and I’m stepping up to be the first to answer that call.

I just hope—no, I just know—that I won’t be the last.

 

Stephanie Haskins is hard at work on the next chapters of “The Transchick Chronicles.” Sign up for our e-newsletter here to be alerted when they’re published. 

To read her previous installments:

June 2021/Transgender Journalist’s Life Story Destined to Become Her Most Important

July 2021/Surgery and Soul: Merging the Exterior with the Interior

August 2021/Becoming My Authentic Self: Identifying My True Gender Has Been a Journey Decades in the Making

September 2021/Crucial Caregiving: Finding the Right Help, from the Right People

December 2021/My Current To-Do List: Fixing Family, Changing Name, Finding Friends, Fighting Transphobic “Allies”

February 2022/From “I Am Woman” to “WAP”: Some Womanly Thoughts on Misogyny, Menstruation, and the Gaze of Males 

April 2022/Doctors’ Devastating News: Transchick Might Not Be Healthy Enough for a Vaginoplasty Surgery

June 2022/Vagina Ahoy! Countdown to Long-Awaited Bottom Surgery

July 2022/Post Surgery Reflections: Rocky Recovery Marked by Joy, Pain and Covid

January 2023/Post-Surgery Blues: This Girl Is Sad, Mad and Still Sick (But Getting Better) 

April 2023/Hate Trans Folks All You Want: We’re Here to Stay and Determined to Fight 

July 2023/What It Feels Like to Be “Uncomfy”

October 2023/What Was I Made For? Searching for Connection, and an End to Loneliness

December 2023/Transgender Euphoria: Realizing My True Identity Brings Unparalleled Joy

 

Stephanie Haskins is a Reporters Inc. Board Member. You can read more about her here on our Team page. She can be reached at .

 

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