Gender transitions, more frequently referred to simply as “transitioning”, are deeply personal and life-changing procedures. In most cases, the individual views their gender transition as a positive, affirming choice, and rightfully so! Despite the many positives of transitioning, there are certainly many hurdles individuals can expect to face. While larger issues like transphobia and social acceptance deservedly get the lion’s share of the headlines, there are also a number of cosmetic challenges facing transitioning individuals whether or not they are opting for gender-affirming surgery.
With this in mind, today we will review some of those cosmetic challenges, discuss larger issues of self-esteem and adapting to life as a new gender, and define gender transitions overall.
**Note, as of the writing of this article, SCALE 2020 has not been postponed or canceled. We are carefully monitoring ongoing events including recommendations/guidance from the US CDC and the World Health Organization.**
Gender Transitions 101
According to WebMD: “When a child feels that their body is different from the gender they feel inside, which we call transgender, the chance to express their true identity can have a powerful effect on their self-esteem. The process of changing from identifying as a boy to a girl, or vice versa, is called transitioning.”
It is important to understand that this can involve gender-affirming surgery but does not necessarily entail any cosmetic procedures or other physical changes whatsoever. Transitioning means different things to different individuals. There are several different aspects of transitioning, including:
With virtually no exception, all individuals who are going through or have gone through a gender transition will deal with social transitioning. This includes both the lifestyle changes the individual might choose to make to identify more closely with their gender of choice and the social aspects of life including pronouns, style choices, bathroom choices, etc.
Many individuals who transition choose to legally change their gender. The actual process of legal gender transitioning varies dramatically in different countries and in different states in the US. Again, this is a deeply personal choice. Some transitioning individuals do not mind that their legal documents represent a different gender than their new identities while others feel that it is an integral part of the transitioning process.
Last but not least, physical changes undergone by the transitioning individual including hormone therapy and gender-affirming procedures can be significant. These procedures can be uncomfortable and expensive, but the eventual benefits are more than worth the difficulties for many individuals. It is worth noting that gender-affirming surgeries were traditionally labeled as “cosmetic” (meaning they were voluntary and not considered medically necessary). In recent years, more and more gender-affirming procedures are covered as necessary procedures.
Transitioning, Self-Esteem, and Adapting to a New Gender
Imagine waking up as a different gender tomorrow. Even if you were more comfortable with this new reality, it is easy to imagine that your self-image might take a while to get used to. Coming out as transgender is a huge challenge. Many individuals report feeling a mix of confusing feelings ranging from joy to confusion to sadness. When we are talking about the cosmetic challenges of transitioning, self-esteem should always be at the core of the conversation.
Cosmetic Challenges Specific to Transitioning
To the matter at hand, what are some cosmetic challenges facing transgender individuals regardless of their choice to undergo gender-affirming surgery?
- Not looking how they feel. Again, every individual is different. Yet a common aspect of transitioning is making an effort to make an individual’s body feel the way they have always felt. It is sometimes the case that even after great effort, individuals do not achieve their desired appearance.
- Issues with hormone therapies. Whether transitioning from male-to-female or female-to-male, there may be complications that stem from testosterone and/or estrogen therapies. These side effects may cause unwanted cosmetic challenges such as body hair, acne, and much more.
- Understanding their new bodies. For transgender individuals (particularly those who have opted for gender-affirming surgeries), making the right cosmetic and hygienic choices for their new bodies can be difficult. Education and resources for the transgender community are vital for the continuing health of individuals during and after the gender transition process.
Join us for SCALE 2020 to Discuss the Latest in Cosmetic Medicine
To learn more about cutting edge cosmetic procedures, laser tech, esthetic dermatology and much more, join us from July 22-25, 2020 for our annual Music City Scale Conference! SCALE is the premier multidisciplinary meeting for aesthetic medicine, surgery and dermatology in the United States. Join other industry professionals to discuss industry trends, emerging technologies, and more!
While our list is always expanding, click here to view our current exhibitors and sponsors for 2020. To register, follow this link. We look forward to seeing you this summer for the cosmetics industry event of the year!
2020 Exhibitors & Sponsors