Gina's Trans Diary, 11.09.16: entry 4
It was sunny and cool this morning in Edinburgh, perfect for walks. It's half past one now, and the clouds are obscuring the sky and the wind is up. Ah yes, the wind; no ordinary wind here on the east coast of Scotland. We're talking the kind that destroys the weak umbrellas in seconds, and turns strong ones into kites.
I started to suffer from hair loss in my thirties. It wasn't something I embraced or enjoyed, I found it traumatic and sad, knew I was becoming uglier and more a man with every dying follicle. Some men, of course, do look good bald, and with others it doesn't matter. But it matters if you're transgender and in the closet, there's nothing you can do about it. You hear stories about certain drugs, at one point I was close to getting something called Finasteride, which can diminish your sex drive but may stop the deterioration. I didn't go through with it, ran out of time, needed more time to think about whether I wanted to sacrifice a sex drive I wasn't using. Now that I'm out full-time, I take a combination of female hormones and Finasteride in small quantities. It may stop the process or even bring the lost hair back. In a way it doesn't matter because I've always had bad hair, wiry with a high forehead. I would wear a wig anyway. I like my wig, it's me.
So when the strong winds come, I become afraid. The wig is held on strong, I don't think the winds will blow it off, it hasn't happened so far, but you are affected by this artificial hair: you don't feel things like you would if it was your hair. You don't know if your hair is sticking up, or if something might stick to it. You don't know if it falls back into place, or just looks ridiculously windswept, in the way that only a wig could look. You look at your shadow and hope for answers. When the winds are strong in Edinburgh and I'm thrown about, I do sometimes place my hand on my head, just in case, thus giving the game away. During these periods I hate the wind, I find it traumatic, I get home and need to sit down, calm down, recover from the fear that struck while I was out there, of being humiliated, made uglier, made less the me I want people to see. The physical illusion pulled apart in a public place. Because when it comes to hair, sadly, it will always be an illusion with me.
In some ways Edinburgh is the perfect place to come out as transgender. It's dark for about half the year, and either cool or chilly, so you wrap up, in tights and long skirts or tight jeans. You can hide yourself in reassuring femininity, and there's less people-watching going on when it's dark and chilly. I would never go out in some strappy dress, whatever the country, my shoulders are too broad, arms still too thick, feet too ungainly. I'm glad I'm here and not in a hot country where I would stand out a mile in my coverings. Unless I pretended to be Muslim – but why bother coming out, presenting your real you, if then you hide behind another faked identity?So the winds are bad for me, they make me fearful and sad. They've come back this afternoon after it seemed like they wouldn't, I can hear them in the trees. I fear this sound in the way an escaped convict fears the sound of sirens. And I know that sooner or later I will have to leave the sanctuary of this computer room and go into the exposed outside and its wind and feel everything I've just described and try to act like it doesn't bother me.