Why Caitlyn Jenner Won't Be Talking About Her Reassignment Surgery

It's been a truly remarkable last few years for Caitlyn Jenner. The iconic decathlon star and Olympic gold medalist once known as Bruce, following a truly vicious hounding by the celebrity tabloid press, publicly revealed a lifetime of hiding in the closet as a transgender woman and came out as Caitlyn on the June 2015 cover of Vanity Fair.

The 67-year-old has remained in the public eye since then with talk show and interview appearances, two seasons of her now-finished reality show I Am Cait, continuing appearances on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and the April 2017 release of her memoir, The Secrets of My Life.

But there are still some aspects of Jenner's life that she won't be covering in detail, such as her gender reassignment surgery, a procedure she has confirmed she's undergone. Beyond that acknowledgement, Jenner says she intends to stay silent on the topic—here are a few reasons why that may be the case.

The question is invasive

"You want to know, so now you know." So goes the lone section of Caitlyn Jenner's memoir which discusses her gender reassignment surgery, meant for candor's sake and nothing more. After confirming that following the procedure she feels "not only wonderful, but liberated," Jenner emphasizes "this is the first time, and the last time, I will ever speak of it."

In an interview with Diane Sawyer on 20/20, Jenner discussed why she raised the issue in the book, and why she intends to discuss it no further. "This book is about honesty," she told Sawyer. "But that doesn't mean in the future that I have to talk about it. That I'm going to dwell. The media may. But I am not gonna dwell on that subject. And I would make a suggestion to all people out there: don't ask the question. It's not an appropriate question to ask any trans person."

Surgery is only one aspect of her transition

As our understanding of gender identity develops, so does our understanding of the process by which one transitions from one gender to another. For some people, that involves surgery; for some, it doesn't. Everyone takes a slightly different path, and there is no one "sex-change operation" that completes, affirms, or defines the entire process.

Only around a third of transgender people have undergone some sort of "surgical transition," and some transgender men and women are never interested in having surgery at all. For Jenner, she officially transitioned in the summer of 2015, and is two years into everyday life as Caitlyn. "Don't even go down this road," she said bluntly to ex-wife Kris on an episode with Keeping Up with the Kardashians when the topic of surgery came up. "Because I'm not talking about it." To put it simply, talking about being transgender loses its novelty after a while, and while a gender reassignment surgery may strike some as a major step worth commenting on, for Jenner, the biggest step of entering the world as a woman was already complete.

She's more than just her body

A common frustration for trans people is the obsession people have with their bodies, whether it takes the form of bathroom policing or time-tested bullying. Constantly being judged or questioned about your body is no one's idea of a good time, so it's no wonder that Jenner doesn't want to talk about or have to justify the choices that she's made. For one reason, look at the crude way the news of her surgery gets covered, with decidedly not-classy headlines like "Bye, Bye Penis!"

Rather than continuing to be hounded about the status of her genitalia, Jenner simply confirmed the facts and moved on. Everyone's body is sort of weird, transgender or otherwise, and no one wants to spend every day of their life being interrogated about it. There's a lot to discuss and criticize about Caitlyn Jenner—her wealth and privilege give her a massive blind spot when it comes to the life-or-death struggles that work-a-day trans people face. When it comes to interesting things about Caitlyn Jenner, her medical history is pretty low on the list.

It's in the book

Trans people spend an outsized amount of time justifying themselves, their decisions, and their very existences to people who frequently aren't particularly nice about it. It's a uniquely hazardous hassle to address such invasive questions in person, so it's no wonder that for this most personal matter, Jenner points to the information being in her memoir.

The book, The Secrets of my Life, was written with the help of Buzz Bissinger, the author of her landmark Vanity Fair feature, as well as influential works of non-fiction like the 1990 book Friday Night Lights. Even before its release at the end of April 2017, the book was stirring up controversy, with shots fired back from Kris Jenner about the book's supposed falsehoods around the subject of their marriage. "Everything she says is all made up," Kris vented to her daughters on an episode of KUTWK. "Why does everything have to be that Kris is such a bitch and an asshole?"

Caitlyn took the critique in stride. "I'm just kind of sorry that she went down that road," she responded. "But she's a good person and we have had 23 great years together and raised wonderful, phenomenal kids."

What more do you want to know?

Ultimately, what Caitlyn Jenner's decision to not speak on her reassignment surgery comes down to is a sense of privacy. She may be a public person, but not everything has to be on display. Not every issue or aspect of the transgender experience should be addressed by Caitlyn Jenner. Information on issues related to transgender people is readily available quite literally all over the place, from decades' worth of documentaries to countless personal testimonials on YouTube. There are more, and better sources for this stuff than Caitlyn Jenner. So while she may have once said she wanted to be "trans ambassador to Ted Cruz," she's never been meant to be the world's one-stop-shop for transgender education. So let a lady live.