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Christina Weatherspoon and Yvette Blake
Christina Weatherspoon and Yvette Blake (Photo courtesy of Yvette Blake)

Christina Weatherspoon is the first transgender woman to receive gender-affirmation surgery in Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in California, according to a prison official who declined to be named. A spokesperson for the prison did not respond to requests from Global Forum Online to confirm this information.

Last October, I sat across from her at a concrete prison table, amazed at how beautiful and happy she seemed after just having had surgery. She smiled at me; we’ve known each other since 2002. I’m trans too, and she’s a part of my community. I’m happy to report that six months after her surgery she is still in good health and enjoying life. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: So, Christina, how do you feel?

Christina: I feel great as ever. I’m so happy! I cannot tell you how much this feels so right!

Q: I’m so happy for you. Do you know that a lot of us look up to you now?

Christina: It feels wonderful. If I can be the poster child for us girls, so be it. I wish and hope that all my sisters get the opportunity to have their surgery and live life happy.

Q: Do you mind if I ask you some personal questions?

Christina: No, go ahead.

Q: Have you had sex yet in your vagina?

Christina: No, it’s only been two weeks. The doctor said to at least give it six to eight months to properly heal or I can get infections.

Q: Did the surgery hurt?

Christina: OMG, it did. It was the worst pain I ever experienced in my life. It felt like I’d been sliced open with a dull knife. They gave me morphine for the pain.

Q: Was there a lot of blood after the surgery?

Christina: Yes, I bled a lot, but it stopped after a week and then a little here and there.

Q: I notice you’re using a wheelchair to get around. Is it affecting your ability to walk?

Christina: No, it’s just a little pain, and I want to avoid sweating down there to avoid any kind of fungal infection until it’s healed.

Q: So did you know you always wanted to be a girl?

Christina: Yes, I knew at 5 years old. I came out at 15 and told my mom. She did not take it well. She started drinking pretty bad.

Q: How about your dad?

Christina: He was mad at first but got over it quick.

Q: Are your mom and dad supporting you now?

Christina: They are both dead.

Q: I’m sorry to hear that. Did you ever think you would actually have a sex change surgery?

Christina: I never thought I would be able to afford it. I’m grateful that the laws now understand our mental struggle and provide these serious surgical needs.

Q: Did I ever tell you you are very pretty?

Christina: Yes, a million times.

Q: Who does your makeup?

Christina: I do!

Q: Did you ever prostitute on the street like a lot of other trans people?

Christina: No, thank God, but I did get into the drug scene. I was addicted to crack cocaine and meth.

Q: Do you still have a drug problem?

Christina: Yes, bad! My drug problem got me into a lot of serious shit. I’ve been sexually assaulted three times in prison because of drugs.

Q: Have you exchanged sex for drugs in prison?

Christina: (smiles) Yes. I can’t lie.

Q: Do you think a lot of us girls in prison are preyed on because we have drug addictions?

Christina: Hell yeah. I hate to say it, but guys know we wanna get high and they take advantage of that. We have to do things we don’t want to do, with who we don’t want to do it with, to get high.

Q: Do you think the bond between us girls is tight?

Christina: It’s not how I would want it to be. I wish that we all stuck together and became united instead of us hating on each other, putting each other down and not caring for one another.

Q: How would you like girls to be?

Christina: Loving, sharing, caring, compassionate. Stick up for each other, build each other, talk nice to each other, give each other compliments!

Q: I hate to say this, but I don’t think that will ever come to be. I wish I was wrong because I, too, dream of sisterhood like this. I forgot to ask you, Christina, how long did the surgery take?

Christina: It lasted for 8 hours.

Q: Were you asleep the whole time?

Christina: Yes, I was sedated, and after the surgery I remember I was in a recovery room and I woke up to a nurse checking my vitals and stuff, and I asked her, “Am I a woman yet?” and she said yes, and I went back to sleep.

Q: What did you think when you first got a look down there?

Christina: I thought, “How beautiful. Finally, this is how it’s supposed to look.” I started to cry when I saw it.

Q: What do you wanna say to anyone reading this out there?

Christina: Follow your dreams. Never give up. If mine can happen from a prison cell, yours can happen too. Life is too short. Live it to your fullest. Never give up. Fight for what you want. There is power in paper and pen. To any transgender who may have any questions about this, contact a doctor and ask questions or places that can provide a detailed explanation of the surgery. If it can happen for me, it will happen for you. To all my girls out there, I love you.

Q: One more question for the road: What’s your future plans?

Christina: To eventually get breast implants, some facial work, higher my education and get out of prison, maybe get married someday. I want what every girl wants.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Yvette Blake is a writer incarcerated in California.