What You Should Know About Plastic Surgery and Gender Transitioning
April 28, 2015
If you’ve been keeping up with celebrity news, then you’ve definitely heard about Bruce Jenner’s confirmation that he’s transitioning to life as a woman. Coming out and talking about his personal life is a huge deal, especially considering that trans issues and voices are often under-addressed in the media and public sphere. Jenner’s candidness has put the common struggles transgender people face on a daily basis in the spotlight—it also draws attention to what the process of transitioning and plastic surgery can look like for some transgender people.
The Process of Transitioning
In order to be eligible for gender reassignment surgery, a person has to first be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) by a mental health professional. After diagnosis, the person can begin hormone therapy. Biological females transitioning to male are given androgens. Biological males transitioning to female take estrogen, progesterone and testosterone-blocking agents. These hormones can be taken orally, by injections or through a patch.
The individual must live their life as their preferred gender for a period of time. This is called the Real-Life Experience. One of the purposes of the RLE is to confirm that the person wants to live the rest of their life as their preferred gender.
After one year of hormone therapy, Real-Life Experience and two letters of recommendation from health professionals, the individual is eligible for genital surgery. Not everyone decides to have surgery though; some people are content with the results they get from hormone therapy. For those who do want to pursue surgery, they can have procedures like liposuction, rhinoplasty or vocal cord surgery as part of their transition.
|Source: Jezebel.com. A photograph of Bruce Jenner|
During Jenner’s widely watched interview with Diane Sawyer, he said he plans to get cosmetic surgery to his face and breasts. He also said that he had been taking hormones for a year and a half. Wondering what other plastic surgery procedures transwomen can do? Below are just some of them.
Liposuction can help define areas such as the waist and abdomen. The targeted fat is removed to create a slimmer and more refined hourglass appearance. Non-surgical and surgical liposuction techniques are available.
Cosmetic concerns like bumps, bulbous tips or crooked noses can be addressed through a nose job—this procedure can enhance a person’s overall appearance and facial features. Depending on the case, certain characteristics of the nose can be changed to look more feminine by narrowing the nasal bones and nostrils.
Hairlines can be moved forward or have a rounded shape through a hair transplantation. If there are areas of thin hair, a hair transplant can be performed to add more density.
Females tend to have fuller cheeks than males. To achieve this look, cheek implants can be inserted. Fat grafting is another way to enhance cheeks. Fat grafting involves removing fat from an area of the body which is then transferred to the cheeks.
Fuller, pouty lips are typically considered feminine and attractive. Soft tissue fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane are injected to plump up lips. Fat grafting to the lips is another method of lip enhancement.
We’re glad to hear that Bruce says he’s never been as happy as he is now. It took a lot of courage to be open about his life, especially in front of millions of people and his family. Hopefully Bruce’s story will continue to encourage more conversation about transgender people and issues. Not everyone will support Bruce, but his honesty and voice at the very least puts these issues on the table to get people thinking. Sometimes just talking about issues is what’s needed to start change.