Whether someone is pre-op or post-op tends to be one of the most common starting points for those who are trying to understand trans people, but it’s far from the most useful. It’s easy to see why this is the first thing that would come to mind: most of the world still regards gender as being defined by genitals, and this is a quick way to eliminate an unknown and determine where trans people fall within that system.
The problem is that this system is incomplete and inaccurate. What’s in someone’s pants is only one small part of who they are as a person. To trans people, this tends to be obvious, but to others, it may not be. Maybe it’s just something you have to experience firsthand: if your body, identity, and presentation are all in sync, you might think your genitals have something to do with the fact that you’re seen by others as your gender and treated appropriately. But for us, it’s clear that whether we’ve had genital surgery isn’t usually relevant in our day-to-day lives.