Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The power of pretty in the United States.

I have become aware in thinking about my appearance as I make the transition to female that there is a considerable weight given by a certain fraction of the population in the United States to physical beauty, such that, it seems, agreements among physically beautiful people can take on an importance of the highest magnitude. As a female I can see the point, though as a male I couldn't really. I find the desire to look good a strong effect as a female, one that works at all times. I'm not sure if this is or isn't a result of being a biological male having lived until now as a behavioral male. I wonder in this whether my being blacklisted is related to this issue. They don't want people advancing into powerful positions of any sort who don't at least acknowledge beauty as a social merit, all other things being equal. That's my guess. I am more concerned about my perspective now as a female with some degree of such an acknowledgement as this, and everything is on a different timeline.

Official beginning of being a female.

My conversion from male to female has officially begun, as my state IDs now say I am a female. The doctor approved me for feminizing hormones on Monday and my appointment for orientation to the hormones before they begin is August 30. I am accumulating a full set of female clothing and have started dressing as a female full-time. Yesterday I had my ears pierced. One of the biggest challenges at this point is arousing others to see me as pretty. People have been variously supportive and insulting, but the memorable instances are the positive ones. My brother Dave and his wife Rita had previously informed me that if I am crossdressing they don't want me in their home, so I will have to adapt to having no family anymore. My sisters either don't speak to me or say very little, a situation of long standing having nothing to do with transgender issues. Three of my friends have expressed support. The rest haven't said anything.

The name I have chosen to circulate among my acquaintences is Ise Alexandra Batek. Ise was the name of the wife of noted architect Walter Gropius. I met her on an open house to her home with the architects I was working with in the Boston area. She cornered me in a corridor and told me she thought I didn't look like a James, more like a Phillip. Phillip of Macedonia was the father of Alexander the Great, thus the middle name of Alexandra. The last name will go if I get married. I have reconciled with not having my own children. I'm a blank page as far as men go. I'm not worrying about it. I'm getting used to letting go of all my male impulses and taking up the female ones.

After one year of hormones I will be eligible for sex reassignment surgery. I am told it might be possible to get a grant for that. I am hoping to get one as Medicare and Medicaid don't cover it, though they do cover hormones. Male to female surgery is said to be more successful at this stage of medical progress than female to male surgery. They make a "neovagina" with the skin from your removed testicles and a clitoris from the head of your removed penis. I saw a video of part of the procedure and it was disturbing, but the further I get along in my conversion the less I care about keeping my male genitals. Although I can change my name anytime, like anyone, I can't change the sex on my birth certificate until I have the surgery. Plus a name change costs over $300.

The law in Illinois prohibits harassment or discrimination against anyone because of their gender expression. So far nothing prompting me to prosecute has occurred. Lots of stares, some guffaws, and a few bold questions, but also some smiles and complimentary comments. I feel very much that the community of women is beckoning me to take part in their adventure, despite a contingent of those who do not seem ready to have me as a part of their community.