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Introducing Doll, Racked's first transgender guest blogger. Always secretly wishing he'd been born a Barbie, Doll was a young army brat who grew up and became a citizen of the world. After landing in Manhattan, he became a New York fashion insider, working in a high-powered industry position, living a life worthy of a feature film.
After mysteriously vanishing from the scene, Doll recently resurfaced and has embarked on a new roller-coaster ride of a journey. Follow his transformation, week by week, right here on Racked.
"Facial hair is such a masculine trait that I feel uncomfortable about having a relationship and waking up in company with a five o'clock-in-the-morning shadow." — My Transgender Friend
Doll: Just the other day, I met up with a transgender friend of mine for some afternoon tea. We got in the topic of passing and being stealth and although she has been on hormones two years longer than me—I’m only just coming up on the eight-month mark—she still has slight scruff and razor burns on her face whereas I do not. The main reason for this is because although anti-androgens (a.k.a. testerone-blockers) may help reduce the hair growth in the body, hormones will have little or no effect on already existing hair. Ergo hair removal is the most effective procedure chosen and needed by transgender women—long before I decided to undergo my transition, the little facial hair I did grow has since been laser-removed.
Facial hair is one of the strongest male gender cues. Androgen-driven hair, especially facial hair, is a common problem for transgender women. It is one of the most difficult and taxing problems to solve, and getting rid of it is essential for assimilation. Anyone who is planning to transition and live full-time as a woman and is even remotely considering the option of stealth is strongly advised to seek permanent facial hair removal as soon as possible during transition. For some transgender women, it is the most time-consuming and expensive part of the entire process.
As I sat in the coffee shop with my friend, I was fortunate to have her be completely honest with me with regards to everything and anything about her transition process to date. We are both of the same ethnic decent and very close in age, the only major differences were our physical attributes. I was interested to observe that our changes physically, mentally and emotionally were very dissimilar. I mean, we experience the same side-effects from the hormone treatment, but not necessarily with the same result.
As an individual goes through the transition the effect of hormones on their body is relative—for instance, my hair-line grew back and hers didn’t. Once again, because the Hormone Replacement Therapy is not FDA-approved, there aren’t really thorough research projects or studies conducted to determine all this. If one is under the care of a physician, there are “Standards of care” guidebooks that the doctor will adhere to, other than that, many transgender women tend to self-medicate (which is very risky health-wise).
I must say, I am really fortunate that my transition is going well and I am very satisfied with the changes my body is undergoing. Also per my last doctor check-up I am as healthy as a horse!