When I had top surgery in 2015, my friends gave me checklists that helped guide me through the procedure and saved my life when I had a complication. This serves as a reminder to myself that institutional memory fails trans people and that we are our own best blueprints for survival.
At the airport,
❏ 1 best friend of 10 years
❏ 4 weeks off “work”
❏ 9 hour flight
❏ two layovers
❏ silicone gel
❏ over-sized shirts
❏ compression socks
❏ selfie for mom who cannot come
I am told-
❏ the surgery will last 1.5 hours
❏ Anesthesia and nausea
❏ one surgeon (may be insensitive but the best)
❏ two nurses
❏ hospital bill (do they take credit card?)
❏ medication, sleep, drain, eat, repeat
❏ two long scars from mid-chest to armpit
❏ nipple grafts (sensation?)
❏ drains, drain holes, puss, blood
I will miss my
❏ old chest?
❏ is there a better way to spend $11,000?
❏ how much will I regret?
❏ is this because I desire manhood? what is manhood?
❏ am I cutting off this flesh because I hate the memory of their hands upon them?
Board the plane.
Kit Yan is an award-winning trans writer and performer living in New York and raised in Hawaii. Their first book Queer Heartache is published by Trangenre Press (2016). Find him @kityanpoet