Question: Beth, I am a transgender woman presenting to the world as a man. I’m considering transitioning to live full-time as a woman in the next few years. I’m still in the closet and not sure of what resources are available or how to proceed with living as my authentic self. How can you help me with my transition, Beth? (adapted from recent conversations with clients)
Dear Changing Times,
Congratulations on beginning your journey toward living authentically! Many of my friends and clients have transitioned since I’ve known them, and transition can be a long, challenging but rewarding process. Everyone’s transition is different and advice can differ dramatically. I don’t have all the answers and am not an authoritative source, but I have worked with many people during their transitions and can point to you to many resources.
Many of my friends tell me there are three aspects to transitioning: a social transition, a medical transition, and a legal transition. You may choose to do none, some, or many/all of the options under each of these broad categories. If you choose to get involved in social or support networks in the area, you’ll quickly learn about many of the resources. A lot of my friends regularly attend MAGIC in Falls Church and Second Friday at MCC in Fairfax. Second Friday encourages spouses to attend as well since transition affects the whole family. I have listed several groups and resources in my links session in the right toolbar (bottom of the screen on a mobile device).
Some transgender women have never dressed or presented as a woman even though they have internally felt female for a very long time. I recently had a client like this who had already come out to her wife and family members but had never seen what she looked like with a femme presentation. More commonly, clients will be completely closeted and want to see how they look presenting as a woman. Many of my full-time friends presented as women on a part-time basis for some time prior to coming to me. In all these cases, I would suggest starting with the 3-hour or 4-hour Total Makeover with Photoshoot so that you can build confidence in your feminine identity and presentation. Take a look at my ideas for people new to presenting as a woman for follow-on sessions.
How I can help with your transition goals
Going forward you may be interested in medical procedures like facial feminization surgery (FFS), permanent hair removal, hormone replacement therapy, and other surgeries. Before visiting surgeons for FFS consultations, you may want to see what the range of options looks like with an FFS Visualization Service. I can take photos for the FFS Visualization Service as I describe below. Legally, you may wish to change your legal name, legal gender, and related legal and work documents. Socially, you may wish to update your clothing and makeup presentation for the workplace and daytime, especially if you’ve mainly been going out at night. You may also choose to come out to friends, family, and coworkers, and you may wish to share a photo of you presenting as your true self. As you transition in the workplace, you may want an updated professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile, resumes, and other professional documents.
Facial Feminization Surgery Visualization
If you’re curious about feminizing your face with surgery, then you may want to see how each procedure could potentially enhance your feminine appearance. In conjunction with the UK-based Virtual FFS service, I can help with that! Check this out:
This session starts with photos en femme (you wear/bring your own clothes) but no wig or makeup to submit to an FFS Virtual Visualization Service such as Virtual FFS. We’ll do a makeup makeover and take the same photo poses with makeup and your wig. After you work with the unaffiliated Virtual FFS service, then you’ll be able to compare no makeup, FFS visualization, and with makeup looks to see what makeup achieves compared to surgery options.
Makeup Lesson for a daytime, work-appropriate look
You may already know how to do a glamorous, evening makeup look but you should be prepared to dial it back for the work environment. We can go over both the basics for a 15-min out-the-door, just-the-basics look and a full-scale, daytime look
Makeup Lesson–2 hours $150
Makeup Lessons includes hands-on skincare and makeup application. I will apply makeup to half your face and you’ll apply it to the other side with my guidance. You’ll leave with a complete list of your formulas & colors along with written instructions for application. Makeup is available for purchase at my studio and online at http://youniquebyelizabethtaylor.com
Studio photography available for your professional head shots for your business card, avatar, and LinkedIn. Images will be lightly retouched with Photoshop and delivered via email within 7 days. Add on a makeup makeover ($90) if desired.
Other Services of Interest
Other Service Providers
Many transitioning and full-time transgender women tell me you should start permanent hair removal as soon as possible even if you don’t have a complete plan toward transition. Hair color and density of hair follicles determines what permanent hair removal options could work for you. Many women tell me it takes two years of laser and electrolysis to eliminate their facial hair. I have a couple of options in my Hair & Nail Services links session that come highly recommended from friends and clients. Kimberly Moore and Jizzelle both have had great results and value from Fay (Forugh Irani), who can be reached at 202-706-4848. She has offices in Vienna and Arlington.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you are interested in hormone replacement therapy, then you should typically start by seeing a gender therapist such as those listed under my Therapists section of my links or a therapist at Whitman-Walker Health.
Get Professional Help Growing out your Hair
See SanDee in Fairfax City for help growing out your hair in a way that you can style in both guy and girl modes. My friends and clients rave to me about her and I have sat through a session while my friend, Tracy Lynn, got her first girl hair cut and style.
Best wishes on your journey!
I wish you the very best on your journey to discover and express your authentic self. I look forward to being a part of it.
To being fabulous!
Elizabeth Taylor (Beth)
Phone: 202-803-3231 (voice only)
By Allison Hannan
As Featured in Frock Magazine, 04 January 2017
I love ballerinas because they epitomize to me all that is feminine. They are beautiful and graceful. Every movement reflects a deep passion disciplined by countless hours of practice. They exert utmost strength and agility to appear, in delicate tights and tutus, delicate and fragile.
The ballet is magic. Through the ballet, a girl can transform all of her deepest desires into reality. She can be an elegant swan, a desirable damsel in distress to be saved by her hero, or a confident princess reigning benevolently over her peaceful shire. The ballet also transforms me: without a word, it sets free the girl inside of me, the ballerina.
As a child, I was never self-conscious; I would happily interact with everyone around me without giving what I did or said a second thought. The cuteness of our cat Fluffy’s pink nose could inspire to me to break out in a little made-up song, no matter what adult or other kid was around. I felt no shame in weeping, watching Charlotte’s Web, in front of my older brothers and sister when Charlotte died, or when they became tears of joy when her babies, saved by Wilbur the pig, were born. In the earliest grades of grammar school, I had no problem talking to just about anyone, kid or otherwise, about anything. I spoke my mind. Nor was I intimidated by age differences. I can remember an uncle telling my mother that I was one of those few kids who could follow and carry on a conversation “just like an adult,” and I felt comfortable sitting at the “adult table” during a party or a picnic. I felt little fear.
But that would change. As time went on, the callous comments and conversations of some of the kids and adults – what later I’d recognize as gender stereotypes – upset me in ways I couldn’t express. During recess, the boy who did not run well was ridiculed since he “ran like girl;” teenage boys with longer hair – this was the 1970s – were mocked: “I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl – its hair was so long.”
Then, one day, when I was about 12, it hit me. What would these same people, parents, siblings, loved ones, and the kids at school say to or about me if they knew that I thought of myself as girl? What if I slipped and said or did something that was too “girlish?” Or worse, what if they could see my thoughts about being a girl without me even saying a word! Would I be rejected and become the object of their ridicule?
Even then, I knew I could not simply start being a boy inside and discard my feminine self. My response was simply to withdraw, to become silent. I didn’t talk too much to others. Silence would reduce the odds of slipping and saying something too girly and having people find out about me. No more spontaneous singing, no more tears in public. For the better part of my life, I employed this strategy. Keeping quiet allowed me to avoid revealing myself.
But what was there to reveal? I was losing any sense of identity. If I had a different opinion about what was being said in conversation, I sat back and either said nothing or passively found a reason why I should agree with the person. If another person in a different setting had a contrary opinion on the topic than the first, I could also agree with that point of view. I justified this to myself as being able to see “all points of view,” but in reality, I feared that if I talked too much, my feminine identity might slip out.
The ballet was my refuge, my sanity. I imagined myself as a beautiful ballerina, free to express my feminine self, wearing an exquisite tutu, telling my story through dance. In my mind, I became graceful, the silent movements of my dance confidently speaking what was truly in my heart. Being a ballerina in my mind gave me the words that I could not speak. While I was fortunate over the years to be able to transform myself in my mind and through partially dressing with the support of my loving wife, these were only half-measures. I was an eternal chameleon. With the additional demands of family and profession, the unique person that is me was silently slipping away, afraid to face, let alone embrace, reality.
Then, three years ago, I went to my niece’s ballet recital.
It was May. My wife, her mother and I were finding our seats in the high school auditorium prior to the show. My mother-in-law had a difficult time sitting in her seat, an annoyance, which triggered deeper frustrations. She became very upset, and began reminding herself of all the regrets in her life.
“I never should have married that idiot!”
“If I didn’t eat so much crap, I’d be able to get into the fucking seat.”
“What a GD waste I’ve been, it’s a bitch getting old.”
Her tirade had therapeutic power for me, too. It made me see that I needed to stop living in my head, to speak up, and to be me before it is too late. From that moment on, I’ve let Allison blossom and go out into the world. The ballerina has taken the stage. I’ve gotten professional help to polish my feminine look – it’s like having a ballet mistress! – and practiced, practiced, practiced make-up application. My outgoing self is returning: I love making new friends, something I had not done in years. I socialize much more freely and love frequenting restaurants, theatres, museums and stores as the real me. At times it’s been terrifying, and I’ve had my fair share of emotional ups and downs. But I am no longer just an imaginary ballerina. I’m now actually dancing – and even starting to sing a little.
Beth & Kim’s Holiday Cocktail Party is coming!
Elizabeth Taylor & Kimberly Moore cordially invite you to join us in a holiday cocktail party, Friday, Dec. 2, with some bonus fun–shopping, makeup, and selfies! Bring wine and/or snacks to share (bonus points for healthy snacks!). Try out the new Younique Splash Matte liquid lipsticks and Sugar Scrub + Shea Butter lip Exfoliator to make those lips pop.
Participate in an optional interactive workshop on how to take your best selfie using your cell phone. I will cover lighting and light sources, camera positioning, body positioning and posing, and composition. Then take selfies with your Splash lipstick looks. 🙂
Shop from my Black Friday sale with specials on all in-stock products! Let’s have some fun, ladies, and show off our holiday attire!
If you would like to change here, you can arrive as early as 6:30 pm by prior arrangement. Party is from 7:30 pm to 11:30 p.m.
To being fabulous!
Elizabeth (Beth) Taylor specializes in total makeovers, makeup artistry, and photography for transgender women.
RSVP at the DC Trans Ladies Meetup event: