Plastic Surgery Info

Male-to-Female transsexual (Reynah's story)

Reynah is a psychology graduate and male to female transsexual, who is hoping to study the functions and malfunctions of prenatal hormones and their ability to masculinise the body while leaving the brain in its default mode of femininity.
Although Reynah's mother thought 'he' and his sister were as alike as two peas in a pod when they were infants, his sister was labelled pretty while Reynah was pronounced handsome. He was then bundled into a blue bunny rug from which he was forced to view the world for the next forty years as he struggled to become the person other people wanted him to be.

A near-death experience and his father's critical illness precipitated him into a nightmare world of uncertainty and terror -- a world with which he and his wife and family could not cope. Reynah was not a woman to give up easily, however, and has faced the challenge of becoming the girl of her dress with courage, determination and grace. Her story tells of her ongoing struggle with guilt, confusion, exploitation and hair.

Living the Dream

Have you ever been driving in your car when suddenly you become aware of your surroundings? You realize that you have appparently been driving on automatic pilot for some time, but at the moment of re-focusing you are temporarily disorientated ad can not remember where you are or how you got there. This shift of attention away from reacting to external stmulation toward responding to some internal stimulus is called 'daydreaming'. I suspect mhy whiole life has been a daydream. I don't know where I am or how i got there. I am a pre-op transsexual--but where is that? It's not a man and it's not a woman and there are the only two locations on society's gender map. Did I make a wrong turn somewhere?

My early childhood is charted on my personal memory map with seemingly silly little things being fixed as important landmarks. I remember mum dragging me along for dad to see the ribbon that I had tied in my hair and, terrified, being tolk that boys don't do that --learning so sooon that I was bad.
A delicate gold chain and cross necklace is all right for girls but not for me. Mum's make-up drawer and red, red lipstick-- is that a pimple or a trace of lipstick? Scrub it raw! I'm bad and I mustn't get cought. My hair is cut: short back and sides! Tears, tears and more tears. I am crying for my hair. I see a girl's Shiny, translucent complexion--gorgeous. I want it too. A bit goy athlete shaves his legs. It must be okey, but again, not for me. Ridiculed and punished--it is bad for a boy to be a girl!

At a party we play 'spin-the-bottle'. I kiss girls on the cheek: in the shed I kiss boys on the lips. Always hiding. Nobody must ever know because it's bad and I am bad. I must learn to be a boy--more of a boy than anyone so that no-one ever guesses. Masculinity did not come naturally to me so I picked a stereotypical role and played it to the hilt. Boy, did I become a man ! I played first grade rugby in Brisbane, fathered three children and built our house with my bare hands. 
I drank like a fish with the boys and went to all the pick-up bars. Although I had trouble with on-night stands, once I was in a long-term, loving relationship I was able to perform satisfactorily. In my life I have had three such relationships; the last one became a marriage of twenty years. See? Girls can do anything!

Outwardly my marriage was not at all remarkable. I was able to suppress the real me and behave just like any other husband. But always hovering, just below the surface for me, was the realisation that I viewed the relationship as being between two woman--with one penis to share. Then two traumatic events occurred I only just survived a near-death experience and my father underwent a triple bypass heart operation. I woke up one morning sobbing inconsolably. I cried for hours. The uninvited realisation that I could die without ever having let 'me' escape the masculine charade left me uncertain of my future and terried.
I explained everything to my wife that morning and , although it took six months for her to leave me physically, mentally she left me that day. One doesn't simply jump a fence to become the woman inside--all that conditioned overt masculine behaviour must be reversed. I had to learn how to walk, talk, sit and even stand like a woman. I was initially besieged by offers of help and instruction from incredulous women who I now think saw it as a rather humorous challenge.
I was forever being told, 'women do this...' or 'women don't do that...' as if all women think and act identically. I could obviously see that this was not the case but conforming to this new stereotype was the first phase of my re-education and the renunciation of my masculinity came very easily.

Soon all the walking and talking business became second nature but I was also to grow a bread without even thinking. Women do not do that! In order to 'pass' physically as my true psychological gender I realised I had to do something about this terrible affliction. Hormones will develop breasts and change the shape of your body and face but they seem to have to effect on facial hair. I remember my first facial waxing: how could I forget it? It felt like the flesh had come away with the hair and only  hours of having a packed of frozen peas pressed to my face alleviated the pain.
      After a great deal of research into eletrolysis and lasering I made an appointment with a laser and skil care clinic that advertised treatments which they said would permanently remove both dark and blood facial hair. The decision to take this irreversible step highlighted for me the reality of my transition and strengthened my resolve but it did not negate the emotional turmoil of home and fear.
      The clinic had quoted me 500 dollars per session and said that it would take three sessions. Fifteen hundred dollars! That hurt! I jokingly told people I was putting my money all around where my mouth was. The scanty literature provided by the clinic advised that plucking or waxing should cease for two months prior to the treatment and that I should present on the appointed day with a couple of millimetres of growth. This meant shaving for six or seven weeks and then growing a bread for a week or so. Yuk!
      As the beard become noticeable, the years of male conditioning and doubts about the direction I was taking came flooding back. Insecurities I thought were well behind me surfaced as the reflection in the mirror told me a different story to the one that I felt was true. The mirror said, 'There is no woman here!' and only the support of friends enabled me to see that the mirror lied.
      I arrived at the clinic for my first apppintment in bib-and-brace overalls and a lime-green T-shirt--a look I hoped was not too garlie for my bearded face or too butch for the lovely complexion I expected to have when I emerged.
      I was met by a youngish, handsome (cute but a bit short) doctor, who led me into his office where we chatted about my expectations. Only then did he revise the three-session schedule, saying that recent information suggested success might involve five procedures.
      The dollar signs must have started to whirl in my eyes because he promised to reduce the price after the third session. This interview left me with the distinct impression that money was more important to him than success (which couldn't be guaranteed anyway due to the newness of the technology). I felt like a guinea pig gambling my life's savings--but I was committed.
      After taking a photograph of my face, which immediately came up on his computer screen, the doctor wrote down some details and then showed me into the beautician's room where I was asked to like down on the 'operating' table.
      My face was to be waxed and since I now regarded waxing as the painful equivalent of a tooth extraction without unaesthetic I wasn't too keen, but the beautician was very professional and the waxing was soon over without very much discomfort. She smothered my face with a cool cream and began to set up the computerised laser.
      I closed my eyes thinking that if I couldn't see it, it wasn't happening--but it was. I could hear the whirling and dinging of a machine and then felt a wave of warmth progress slowly down my cheek. The warmth became real heat but the machine moved on just as the pain was about to become unbearable.

Time flies when you're having fun and I suppose the opposite applies, so I couldn't judge objectively how long the treatment took, but the clock indicated about half an hour.
      I did emerge like a fresh-faced young thing, with no residual pain or blotching. I looked adorable--well, pretty good compared to the way I looked when I went in, but after a week or so the hair started to regrow and the ritual began all over again. Iwent to the clinic for treatment three times and really felt that there was no long-term change. Depression set in and in despair I began researching alternatives.
     Another clinic was offering prices on a sliding scale, starting with the same amount of 500 dollars but reducing the charge by 100 dollars for each visit down to a minimum of 200 dollars. I attended this clinic five times. The improvement was noticeable after the first three times but I thought that the last two visits produced no significant effect. I had reached the end of my lasering treatments.
     My overall impression was that the clinicians saw me as a cash-flow opportunity rather than a client with genuine need. I do believe that psychiatric-ally diagnosed transsexuals should be supported in accessing surgery or procedures that are normally considered cosmetic from a medical point of view.
     I would describe my facial hair at the moment as being controllable. I pluck the ever-emerging strays every morning and I am probably more self-critical of my looks than most biological women. Genetic girls can have faults and still be girls. We will always have an agglomeration of faults that conspire to give us away.
      'Passing' is more of an internal thing now and I have reached a point where I can 'pass' as a true woman no matter what I look like. The 'bad boy' tapes that continually played in my head, perpetuating my sense of guilt and lack of self-esteem, are gone. These days I hear more often what a lovely, kind and caring woman I am and believe me, I can listen to those sorts of comments until the cows come home.

EPILOGUE

Some people say that being a 'woman' or a 'man' are learned states but I think that femininity and masculinity are innate. Intellectually, I have no preference for being a man or a woman but internally I know that I'm a girl. This may seem like a strange idea to those people who have maching brains and genetalia but even stranger things happen to those who haven't.
      As I continue to mature into womanhood it is important to me to become as attractive as I can, while at the same time realising that I will never be beautiful on the outside--on the inside, of course, I am already absolutely gorgeous.
     My body is changing its shape as muscles disappear and fat accumulates in different place. While my breasts and hips enlarge and my shoulders diminish, I have become almost totally unaware of my penis, as if this extraneous appendage has accepted redundancy and quietly awaits its demise.
     I probably have to shave my legs more often than most women do and I was my arms in areas where I am sure that even the most fastidious woman probably wouldn't bother.
      I am emotionally attracted to men and, since my self-acceptance and transition, I am less physically attracted to women. I love in a halfway house of asesulity, which is fine by me because I realise that as a woman I have only just reached the psychological stage of adolescene.
     My sexuality will probably be determined by the person with whom I eventually fall in love and I somehow think that this will be a man. Does this make me gay? Some people think so but I don't.
      As long as my partner and I are happy and my efforts and commitment result in my becoming the strong, intelligent woman I fell myself to be, quite frankly I don't think that it matters what labels people use.