…as Homer Simpson once screamed in abject horror, though in his case it was in reference to a particularly nasty form of leprosy treatment. In my case, I merely refer to the unique torture of facial electrolysis to which I finally subjected myself today. It is the only sure-fire permanent method of hair removal, though it has substantial drawbacks.
1. Slowness. Since it treats one hair follicle at a time, and since there are thousands of the little blighters on the face alone, expect hours of tedium.
2. Expense, related to the slowness. At £30-40 an hour, unless you are rich, you can expect to be doing this nowhere near as frequently as you would ideally be doing for a good rate of clearance. However, this is in part a blessing, due to…
3. Pain, and how… Though at first it seemed like only a mild pricking and warming, that was until the electrologist announced that the machine was set too low to deal with my coarse, dark little bastards of facial hairs, and stepped up the voltage. Cue nausea-inducing stabbing on my upper lip, somewhat like that falsely-advertised hypodermic injection that is never supposed to hurt a bit… then imagine it happening several times over for the course of half an hour, interspersed with plucking of the dead hairs. Thankfully, this bit doesn’t hurt at all, as the cells beneath them have now been fried to death inside your face.
All this for what at first seems a painfully small amount of hair clearance. I will probably invest in more, though. My psychiatric referral has now been set, but it is not until the 18th of March, which is a long time to wait on what might even turn out to be bad news (which at this stage, it is safe to say, would be an absolute refusal to approve me for gender reassignment). In the meantime, I am so compelled to take steps to feminise my appearance, even the cost and the pain are unlikely to deter me, though thankfully I have today heard of a cheaper practitioner in town, so I can at least get my torture sessions on an easier price.
One thing that might throw a spanner in the works, sadly, is my job, or potential lack of. My HR department has so far responded very coolly to my coming out. While there are legal protections in place for LGBT equality in the workplace, nothing of course prevents my employers from firing me on a pretext if they would rather not rock the boat, which would certainly screw up both my purchasing power and my social transitioning (which requires me to be active and employed in society under my chosen name and gender).
Hopefully, though, I am merely being pessimistic. So far, I have had a tremendous amount of support, from friends, family, my spouse, my GP, and the local LGBT networks which include legal advisers who might help me to deal with any workplace conflicts that may arise. Perhaps none will. So far, I have been luckier than I could have imagined, and the emotional pains of transitioning have been so far denied to me.
As for the physical pains… I have another consultation at the electric needle room booked for next week, and will probably only need several dozen more… at least. If Professor Greer or her fellow sceptics and bigots wanted more positive evidence that being transgendered is not a choice, I warmly (and stingingly) suggest that they give electrolysis a go themselves. Case rested.