Top surgery is just the beginning

Top surgery is a huge milestone in the lives of many trans men, trans mascs, nonbinary people, and even some gender non-conforming women.

It dominates conversations about gender-affirmative surgeries both inside and outside the trans community, and in recent years

many people getting top surgery, myself included, have giddily shared recovery timelines, surgeon reviews, and answered myriads of questions from people who are either considering it or curious about it.

The vast, vast majority of conversations, resources and content about top surgery is about the experience of the surgery itself.

It’s comparatively rare that we see the effect that this surgery has on the life of the individual once recovery is over, past the triumphant topless selfies that almost all of us share at some point.

I have my theories about this: that perhaps the surgery itself is a spectacle that can be consumed as “inspiration porn” by trans and cisgender people alike;

that when many of us have to fundraise thousands of pounds to get it, it means that we feel like we must then share the details of the surgery and recovery that people donated money to support;

or that we fight so hard to jump through the hoops to get top surgery that we don’t spend much time thinking about what happens afterwards.

Whatever the reason, though, I can’t help but notice that there is nowhere near as much buzz about life after top surgery –

the quiet contentment, the confidence, the embrace of who you can be once you don’t have to bind or make yourself small.

Amy Pennington’s debut film TOPS seeks to rectify this by asking four people who have had top surgery,

“what top did you want to wear after top surgery?”

Top surgery is just the beginning

By Rudy Harries

Amy Pennington on the breadth of working-class trans masculinity in TOPS