I’m considering transition. How can you help me?
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:
Makeup Makeover with FFS Virtual Visualization Photos
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–2-3 hours
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.
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
Shopping Companion (or use a personal shopper at Macy’s, Nordstrom, or similar)
Photos (from a Total Makeover + Photography or similar)
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. Tracy Lynn, Kimberly Moore and Giselle both have had great results and value from Fay (Forugh Irani) at Vishka Skincare in Lyons Park in Arlington, VA.
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. Whitman-Walker uses the informed consent protocol for HRT.
Get Professional Help Growing out your Hair
Work with a professional hair stylist to grow out your hair strategically.
I highly recommend my personal stylist, Katie Harty, and her team at PR Partners in Alexandria. You will feel pampered from beginning to end and leave with a great cut, color (if you so choose), and blowout. Free street parking is available on Prince Street if you hunt about 2-3 blocks away or you can pay at the meter or in a lot behind the store. The salon is LGBT-friendly and proudly displays LGBT Pride and Trans Pride flag emblems in the window. Several of my trans-women friends are happily working with stylists here.
For a private one-on-one salon experience, consider seeing SanDee in Fairfax City for help growing out your hair in a way that you can style in both guy and girl modes. Her discreet salon is by appointment only and decorated in pink and Old Hollywood.
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)