To have or not have cosmetic surgery
It started as I was browsing images of Sarah McBride, the trans activist as girl-next-door, so pretty and passable. Then came Janet Mock, her model-good-looks, and I thought, 'fucking hell' and also, 'oh for fuck's sake.' And these are supposed to be my transgender role models? It's the weird dynamics of trans activism: role models who pass as cis-gendered women, role models who are in effect invisible and nothing like me.
My feelings of not being as good – and as womanly-looking – as I could be in appearance got worse this past week as I read the anthology, To My Trans Sisters (2018), of London-based activist Charlie Craggs. She is so pretty, I don't need Pinterest, just Google Images to the name of Charlie Craggs and I'm there for the day. She says in her book she had facial feminization surgery and there's no jealousy on my part (I'm conscious of the shit she took when she was younger, when she didn't pass). She's simply beautiful to look at, in a range of styles with that black, vampish hair and black talons, and those eye-brows so smooth and God-damn womanly.
How to explain my pathetic vanity? It's the sense that I could be and should be doing better. Who doesn't want to be the most beautiful version of themselves, the alpha version? Want to see my school report? C+. Gina must try harder. Gina shows no initiative, looks like she can't be arsed. Gina hands in homework that the dog appears to have chewed. Gina must stay behind and write a thousand times the transgender anthem: the more you become what you dream of being, the more authentic you are.
I didn't use to worry about needing cosmetic surgery. I was so God-damn happy about being out, and so focused on surviving and ensuring I got my style right, there wasn't room to question the raw materials. Sure, I wanted the surgery down below, but not the face. 'Kind of liked my face, shaped by my new hairstyle. Kind of like my eyes and lips, and Yesenia complimented me one time on my nose. In fact it's quite a confident face when I'm checking myself before I go out every morning, and to people who don't like transgender women, a fuck-you face as well. To people who recognize me as trans in the street, it's also a face that says: I did it, I came out, am living the life I dreamed of living, whatever the consequences. That's the story of my face.
So here I sit, reflecting with an increasingly bashful smile at my stupidity over wanting cosmetic surgery. Charlie Craggs is beautiful, but I am on my way to becoming a Lacanian genius (kind of, in a way), and even if Valentina tried to lift my mood the other day by telling me I had a beautiful 'personality,' I forgive her.
I don't need cosmetic surgery. Probably could do with lip gloss, though (haven't worn it in years, see what I mean by C+?).