A friend who is in transition and who just got her legal right to change her name and gender on her ID card told me about this site: http://www.virtualffs.co.uk/ It is both a site with a wealth of information on Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS) but also provides an interesting service: by uploading some pictures of yourself, the site owner, Alexandra Hamer, can create a ‘virtual’ version of yourself after FFS. She claims that the results would be 80% approximate to what you could realistically expect from the state-of-the-art of FFS (assuming, of course, good surgeons who know exactly what they’re doing). Hamer, trained as an artist, has a thesis (also online) about FFS, having studied the subject very deeply and worked with lots of surgeons to understand what exactly can be done with FFS, and, as such, she’s a well-known adviser for people in transition — telling them what is reasonable to expect, and aiding them with images and suggestions that they can consult with their surgeons.
I’ve actually taken a few pictures of myself, to see what Hamer would do with them, but I guess it’s too expensive for me — I’ll save the money for some new breast forms instead! 😀
One thing that Hamer points out is that some extreme expectations (which later become a source of frustration and utter disappointment in the results) might be a delusional form of believing oneself to be ‘too ugly’ to pass as female. This condition is known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). I can very well believe that I suffer from at least a mild variant of that, but, of course, it is undiagnosed. BDD and GID often go hand-in-hand for obvious reasons, but the truth is that many people I know who are in transition, don’t really suffer from BDD. They’re happy with the way they look; they’re, however, extremely unhappy about their assigned gender and are taking steps to change it.
In fact, while I think I look ugly both as a male or as a female, I also think that a lot of transgendered people, many of which are in transition, look even uglier. But what always fascinates me is how little they worry about it, while I obsess about my looks all the time. So maybe I’m tackling my own issues in the worst possible way.
Clearly, if I ever went into transition, I would refuse to do the Real Time test unless I got some FFS first. The body can be successfully padded to look feminine; I worry far less about that, since I wouldn’t be going swimming during the Real Time test, but remain fully clothed until my body responded to hormones — and some surgery on top of that too, of course. But FFS, for me, would always be a must. At least, that nose, chin and jaws must go. I can live with the rest.