20 April 2012

Too Good To Be True

Today I had a late lunch-early dinner with a friend of mine who's transitioning from male to female.  I remarked upon some of the changes I've seen in her appearance:  the growth of her breasts, the elongation of her facial lines and such.   She has been thinking about facial surgeries, she says.  We mentioned some of the surgeons who do the work she wants, and she said she's ruled out one in particular who's well-known in the field.  "For one thing, he's getting old," she said, "and I'm not sure I'd trust his hands."  I can understand that sentiment;  I ruled out one surgeon whom I'd considered for my GRS/SRS for that very reason.  

However, my friend made another point--one I agreed with--about the plastic surgeon she'd ruled out:  "I looked at his results.  They all look like Barbie dolls."

What's really interesting, to me, about her observation is that before I started my transition, I would have wanted some version of the "Barbie" look.  Although I knew, deep down, that I never could look that way, I thought it was a sure-fire way to "pass."  And, those who made the transition in the early days of hormone treatments and surgery aspired to such plastic perfection.  Some, like Christine Jorgensen, almost seamlessly transitioned into it.  Others tried.

However, what my friend--and I-- want is to ---.  She described a recent trip, during which she dressed "androgynously" but was still addressed by female titles and pronouns.  "I want to be able to wear men's clothes and still be addressed in the same way," she says.

Perhaps that's the best any of us can hope for.  After all, looking like a Barbie doll would leave a trans woman just as vulnerable to scrutiny, ostracism and worse as she would be if she looked like a man in a dress.