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S02.E03: It's Either Surgery or Male Puberty

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To prevent Jazz from developing as a man, the Jennings head to California to replace her expired hormone blocker; Jazz's grandmother confronts some old friends about their feelings on Jazz's transition. 

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Getting the implant is a minor procedure.  I realize that your child getting general anesthesia is a nervous time (been there done that), but mom was acting like Jazz was going to have some major, long, dangerous surgery.  

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Will Jazz have to be on T Blockers her entire life?  I'm curious as to the long term effects (say 20, 30,40 yrs down the line) on her body.

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I believe so, unless she has her testicles removed. That's why she implied she would no longer need the T blocker when her current implant runs out at age 17, because she will be old enough for the "bottom surgery" then. I don't like to dwell on the physical changes a transgender person may or may not choose to go through because I feel it's very personal, but I did find it interesting that the trans model Jazz was speaking with in California apparently had her testicles removed but not the penis. Removing the testes stops the production and release of male hormones, but I would think most transwomen would want the penis removed and/or converted to female genitalia, too, if they were undergoing surgery anyway. Does anyone more educated than I have some insight into that?

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I wish the best for Jazz but I can't even imagine how much bottom surgery would cost especially since her insurance won't pay for a T Blocker.

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I thought I read in the other thread about this show that one reason a trans person might choose not to do bottom surgery is because there is a strong possibility that the person will no longer be able to achieve orgasms. Of all the changes that a trans person undergoes in their lifetime, this surgery is the most drastic and life altering.

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From what I have read, bottom surgery has a high rate of failure and /or complications.  Aside from the prohibitive cost, the poor odds of success deter a lot of people from taking the ultimate step in their transition.

Simply removing the testicles, as the model did, is not especially complicated and eliminates the need for a testosterone blocker.

Similarly, many transgender men undergo hysterectomies but stop short of the reconstructive surgery.  I have heard  stories of sympathetic OB-GYNs who will write a diagnosis of severe fibroids or endometriosis so insurance will cover the surgery.

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Maybe I misheard, but did Jazz's mom say she got the old insurance to pay for the T Blocker it's self, but not the hospital? That doesn't even make sense. 

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I don't get how they didn't know Jazz would have to go under general anesthesia for the procedure in LA? Wouldn't  medical records be sent back and forth and all this be decided before they made the trip?  I get and appreciate that Jazz 's needs come first, they will worry about the money later, but come on. Or is this a TLC invented trip like the Duggar and Brown family boondoggles?

Edited by jacksgirl · Reason: Good spelling is important

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Here is my understanding of that: The blocker is an implant that goes under the skin and *could* be performed under local anesthesia, but also is sometimes done under general. The implant itself is what the insurance company apparently would pay for, but not the implantation surgery. Therefore, it would be cheaper to have it done under local--no general anesthesia, no hospitalization, etc. The Jennings' local hospital would not do the implantation under local, but the clinic in Cali would. However, when Jazz was examined pre-op, I think they said something about how the current implant had moved perhaps? In any case, there was a complication to removing the old one that forced a change in plans; the surgeon wanted to do it under general anesthesia after all. They were there, they had the implant device itself ready to go, so they went ahead with the more complex surgery. As they said, they figured they would worry about the cost issue later.

Thanks to all for your answers about bottom surgery.

Edited by bref
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8 hours ago, 3 is enough said:

From what I have read, bottom surgery has a high rate of failure and /or complications.  Aside from the prohibitive cost, the poor odds of success deter a lot of people from taking the ultimate step in their transition.

Simply removing the testicles, as the model did, is not especially complicated and eliminates the need for a testosterone blocker.

Similarly, many transgender men undergo hysterectomies but stop short of the reconstructive surgery.  I have heard  stories of sympathetic OB-GYNs who will write a diagnosis of severe fibroids or endometriosis so insurance will cover the surgery.

Yes. Bottom surgery is EXTREMLY expensive, the recovery time is intensive and the chances of losing the fine sensations associated with sexual pleasure/ability to orgasm is possible. Of course it's a personal decision for any transgender person but it's certainly not a simple procedure. 

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I noticed that the "supermodel" Carmen had a feminine voice like Jazz, while Noelle, who we know had had to go through male puberty, has a more masculine voice. Does this mean that Carmen also managed to dodge male puberty? Or is there a way to raise the voice after it has dropped? Carmen told Jazz that her testicles had been removed but according to my understanding that can't happen until near adulthood.

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@bref--I've recently read a couple of books by or about transgender people--Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, and Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt, and I highly recommend both for a great education on transgender issues! Janet and Nicole both had "bottom surgery", btw, and both had it young. They, like Jazz, started hormones young also and avoided male puberty. Janet's book is a memoir, and Becoming Nicole is by a science writer and includes the perspectives of her parents and brother, the effect on their family and community and some of the social and legal issues they dealt with. I'm a progressive and have supported LGBT causes and people all my life, but didn't know much about trans folks or the unique issues that confront them.

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33 minutes ago, momofsquid said:

I noticed that the "supermodel" Carmen had a feminine voice like Jazz, while Noelle, who we know had had to go through male puberty, has a more masculine voice. Does this mean that Carmen also managed to dodge male puberty? Or is there a way to raise the voice after it has dropped? Carmen told Jazz that her testicles had been removed but according to my understanding that can't happen until near adulthood.

Carmen was on RuPaul's Drag Race identifying as a gay male before she began her transition. I don't know her full story but I thought even with her brief questions to Jazz that she didn't block puberty.

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Wow, another unhealthy take-out meal.  I hope these meals aren't an everyday occurrence, but are  just a convenience when the TLC crew is around and they need to film the family sitting around the table, because they are a turn-off to me.

I thought the poopy bridle veil was funny and seemed like a real moment.  

I think the twins are pretty good actors in the scenes that you know are pretty scripted.  They come across well on camera.  

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Carmen was previously on Couples Therapy with her ex Adrian, as well as RuPaul's Drag Race. I wonder if she's going to pop up in as many reality shows as she can. I applaud her courage to come out and educate, though. 

I can't imagine what the Jennings go through on a daily basis fighting for Jazz's right to be herself. I pray that everything turns out okay for them. 

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It looks like TLC is starting to comp this family same as Kate, the Roloffs, Sister Wives, etc.  Flying out to California to pay for surgery out of pocket while commenting about what a huge expense that is and fighting the insurance company, and where do they stay?  A suite at an expensive hotel in Beverly Hills.  A family on their budget would have gotten a motel by the hospital.  But put up a shot of the hotel's signage on your show and everything's on the house.

Edited by Dobian

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