Monday, January 03, 2005

Mailbag: Advice for a balding transvestite

I sometimes get questions through email to which I cannot reply, normally because the person who filled in my contact form with a non-working email address. Here's one recent question; with any luck, the person who asked will come across it here. Jennifer had given permission to post this question in her initial contact.

Name: Jennifer
Hi! Your site is very informative and has quite a positive bent to it.

I need some advice/inspiration here, so here's a brief intro:
I am a 5'11 transsexual woman who "passes" most of the time. I feel I am pretty. My hair's shoulder length. The last few years male pattern baldness has been occuring (my mom is even very bare on top). I've tried "products". I try to style my hair to cover it. I am getting tired of this and am considering shaving my head! What are your thoughts on this? I mean..a very large part of my identity is of being feminine. Most family/friends accept me as a tranny girl. I also think bald people are beautiful. Part of why transsexuals sometimes seem to overcompensate to be girly is because they wish to outbalanc e some of the other social cues, such as being 5'11 and a relatively strong bone structure (that's me). If you can advise that would be appreciated. If you can steer me towards other help in this matter that would be great.

Thank you very much,
I don't know if my comments will be helpful, but I'll give it a shot.

I assume you've already looked through the "For Women" section of my site. If not, you might want to look through some of the links; there are two stories in there that I found interesting that deal with women who have shaved their heads.

Personally, I think many women continue to look very feminine with shaved heads. Society in general is becoming more open to the idea of bald women, but unfortunately it is still far from mainstream (as illustrated in a previous article). Women who do shave their heads often face some discrimination from people who are intolerant of certain kinds of differences.

One problem you might have is that even if you shave your head regularly, it is very common for 'shadow' to be visible. This is isn't as much of a problem if you're blond and have fair skin, but otherwise it's usually apparent where your hair would normally grow. While baldness does affect some women, it's uncommon, and the visual appearance of male pattern baldness will still be apparent to people who look (if they're not paying much attention, they'll probably not notice). Male pattern baldness is distinctive enough that it would probably not match most people's ideas of feminine.

One possibility would be to shave your head and then wear a wig. Baldness makes wigs easier to deal with, I'm told.

My personal opinion is that the only person who has to be happy with your appearance is you. If you like the way you look, that is the most important thing. You said that you have family and friends that accept you as you are, so I expect that they would continue to accept you whether your hair was long, short, or absent.

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