Saturday, May 30, 2015

GENDER IDENTITY and HAIRCUTS

My friend Daya is recovering from an Adam's apple shave and chin reshaping. The surgery involved cutting the skin entirely along the jaw line and peeling it down, shaving the jawbone for a more feminine contour, and sewing it back up.  It was agony.  Daya tweeted afterwards, "Knew there would be pain but didn't know there'd be PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!"


Daya in one of her signature hats

She came down to visit us for a few days while she was recuperating.  Our friendship began when I was researching for a novel I'm writing about transgender friendships and what it means to be female.  Daya wants her appearance to align with how she feels inside - a perfectly natural desire.  She resists caricature, doesn't want to be "cartoonish" as she puts it. She simply wants to be perceived by others as the gender she feels she is inside.  That's why she went through the surgeries - and it's why we were talking about haircuts.  Her hair is fine and thin and she was afraid there was nothing she could do about it.  She didn't want it to scream out MALE.

So I asked my friend Irina who cuts my hair if she had any thoughts.  We sat in her salon together and she considered Daya's options.   "Should I go darker?" Daya asked.

before

  "I wouldn't go any darker," Irina said. "But I would cut off some of this length."

"But is that a style choice or because of the condition of the hair?"

"Both," Irina replied. She suggested mixing tones, warmer colors, along with blonder highlights. But she would think about it and we could come back in the morning.

We returned to Irina's at 9 o clock on Wednesday. "I have been thinking all night about what we can do with your hair," she said, and then showed Daya four colors which she would combine to give the illusion of depth and body.  She would cut the hair to taper at the neck, and angle it in front.


The transformation began.



We chatted while Irina applied the color foils.  I watched her work her magic, with sensitivity, thoughtfulness and skill.

She showed Daya how to back comb the hair for volume.  Daya's featured softened as she looked at her reflection in the mirror.  Tears sprang into my eyes and I couldn't hold them back.



"Stop," said Daya, "or you'll make me cry too."



a sweet moment


"You have good hair," said Irina.  "It isn't a problem with the quality of your hair."

We embraced her and thanked her.  "No more hats," said Irina.

"Thank you for the support," Daya said. "It's like what I said about how I felt when I put on my sister's clothes. I felt right and now that is projected."

"I had tears after you left," Irina texted me later. "You are very special soul. I am glad you are in my life."

Daya's new haircut





1 comment:

  1. Thank you SO much for such a beautiful post!

    I am truly lucky to have such a wonderful, gifted and generous friend in my life; YOU!

    -Daya
    xoxo

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