Drew wears 4 bra’s as well as chicken fillets in her quest for feminine cleavage, and feels that having breast enhancement surgery is a more important part of her transition than sex reassignment surgery. She has a job interview at a bridal outfitters, which threw up that her Adam’s Apple was a bit of give-away, and raised the problem that some women might feel uncomfortable being fitted for a bridal dress by somebody like that. But, apart from these few minor details, Drew is just like any other young woman in her early twenties – albeit one who has been too scared to go outside of the family home for the previous three years.
One of the shop owners who interviews her points out that there are no transgender fairy-tales like there are girls’ dream of a white wedding; and this is quite profound really, because while some critics do see trans as a self-indulgent fatasy, the reality is that it ain’t no fairy-tale. When one fairy-tale meets head-to-head with another fairy-tale, when the fantasy that a man can become a woman meets the fantasy that a white wedding is what every girl must aspire to, clash, something has to give. And it ain’t gonna be the white wedding, as that fantasy is stamped too deep.
One of the other transgender women would probably disagree about it not being a fairy-tale, because it seems to be hers. She loves being ‘trans’, and says that if she could wake up having been born female, she’d still rather be trans. As she flirts with men in the pub, who joke about her still having ‘meat and two veg’, we are reminded that after a few beers most men lose their inhibitions and will shag anything, basically. And the recurrence of the meat and two veg theme is a key that gives the lie to the title of the series. While one person who is completely unpassable, with a deep male voice and built like a brick shithouse, has SRS at Charing Cross, and is transsexual in every sense of the word apart from any ability to look anything like a woman, at least two of the other MtF’s are not transsexual, despite being much more ‘passable’; they would best be described as ‘transgender’ people who seem to want to keep their genitals intact.
Chest surgery seems more important than SRS for the trans guys as well, although for one, gaining a realistic looking penis is what he really wants. He almost salivates at the idea of having one that he can stick in someone, which can be achieved in a way that retains his clitoris for orgasm.
I guess that whatever you call a program like this, whether you use ‘trans’, ‘transgender’ or ‘transsexual’, it is going to be misleading and piss some people off. A lot of transsexuals must be pissed because it isn’t about them particularly, yet lumps all these people together under the label of transsexual. If it used the word ‘trans’, or ‘transgender’, and included transsexuals, well that would probably also piss off some transsexuals as well, because they see transsexualism and transgenderism as very different.
Some of the characters come across as caricatures, not caricatures of women, but caricatures of transsexuals – caricatures of caricatures, if you like, and it takes us into some pretty murky places. None of these people seem happy with simply being themselves as men or women, but all seem set to embark on a journey that will involve a never-ending round of cosmetic procedures to make them appear different to how they are, and to allow them to portray the character of somebody they wish they could be. Which is quite sad really, when you think about it, because they all seem nice people really.
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