Top surgery, otherwise known as chest feminization or chest masculinization, is a gender-affirming procedure that changes the looks of a trans person’s chest. For female-to-male top surgery, breast tissue is removed to give a more masculine appearance for transgender males and non-binary people who are assigned female at birth.
This procedure, along with all forms of gender-affirming care, is surrounded by stigma and misinformation, especially when it comes to minors. Many parents fear that a teen could make a severe, irreversible decision regarding their gender presentation, given that adolescence is a time when the whole subject of identity is in flux.
It’s partially fears like this that have resulted in gender-affirming care receiving a wave of backlash in America, even being labeled as a form of child abuse.
However, a mom by the name of Janna, who recently helped her 17-year-old son receive top surgery, sees it as a form of love.
“Why would I ever allow my 17-year-old to have top surgery? Why would I do that? That’s insane. That’s crazy. It’s child abuse,” says Janna in a clip posted to TikTok.
Her reasoning is really quite simple—and something that almost every parent can relate to in one way or another.
“You look at the really, really happy kid who walked out of the doctor’s office today, feeling really great about himself for the first time in I don’t even know how long.”
Janna then put the spotlight on her son Cody and asked what it felt like when he saw his chest for the first time.
Getting instantly teary, Cody replied, “Normal…It finally feels right for the first time.”
Janna’s video is captioned “Cody’s heart is so full right now.”
@jannatransmomma Cody’s heart is so full ❤️ #lgbt🌈 #topsurgery ♬ Uplifting – Positive Thinking: Music To Develop A Complete Meditation Mindset For Yoga, Deep Sleep
Janna, who regularly advocates for trans rights, has previously explained in another TikTok that Cody didn’t undergo any surgery until just before his 18th birthday, and that was only after “a lot of meetings” with doctors, therapists and both of his parents since coming out at the age of 15.
And prior to his procedure, Janna encouraged Cody to explore through a “social transition,” rather than a medical one. This basically means experimenting with other forms of gender presentation—changing their name, pronouns, wardrobe, etc.—that feel more fitting to their authentic identity before undergoing any surgeries.
Bottom line: “We are not just sending these kids to surgeons to have body parts removed. That doesn’t happen,” Janna stated.
@jannatransmomma #stitch with @thatwhannteacher2.0 ♬ original sound – 🏳️🌈JannaTransMomma🏳️🌈
When parents support their kids throughout their journey, “one of two things is going to happen,” she added. “They’re going to come out as trans when they’re old enough to really make that decision, or they’re going to say, ‘Yeah, I’m not really a boy.'”
“Either way,” she continued, “their relationship with you will not be tarnished because they know that my mom loved me no matter what my decisions were.”
Like every other turbulent and confusing chapter of teenage-hood, the waters are so much easier to navigate (for both the parent and the child) when there is compassion. Sometimes allowing kids to be who they really are is the best gift a parent can provide.