So recently I met with a new client, Theia. Theia booked in for special occasion makeup as she was going to a wedding later in the day. This appointment was a first for me…and a first for Theia. The reason being that Theia was my first transgender client – and also Theia’s first ever professional makeover.
Theia was open with me pretty much from the start and her brief for me was to look natural but polished – this would be the first time that Theia would be going to an occasion as herself, in full makeup, hair and clothes. Although she knew that she would have the support of her friends at the wedding it was obviously going to be a big deal in venturing out for her first formal occasion.
So I carried out the makeup application to suit Theia and to fulfil her request of natural makeup and she was really pleased with the outcome and this was obviously a relief to me too. I wanted to make Theia’s first professional makeup experience a positive one – to give her confidence for the wedding and to make her feel special.
After Theia left a few thoughts crossed my mind – I wondered how she must have felt coming to my house (a stranger after all) and trusting that I would be non judgemental and welcoming, how anxious she must have felt wondering how her makeup was going to turn out and how she would be received at the party. So I contacted her following her appointment and asked if she would be happy to share her experience and thankfully she was. I wanted to share her experience as I thought about how many others would be in a similar situation to her? Or maybe they hadn’t got as far as starting treatment yet, or even telling family/friends? We can take so many things for granted in life yet some people have a struggle day to day thahttp://gemmarimmingtonmakeup.com/wp-admin/edit.phpt must feel so enormous and almost impossible to tackle. After Theia’s appointment I had such a wonderful feeling of pride and relief – pride because I felt I had spent a very worthwhile afternoon getting an insight in to something so personal and making someone feel special and relief for us both. It was my first experience and also Theia’s. I wanted it to be fabulous for both of us.
So after contacting Theia I wanted to share her feedback and experience with you all and send out a positive message to reassure anyone else in her situation that I would provide a confidential and friendly service.
So I sent her a few questions and this was her feedback;
Who inspired/inspires you?
“I have issues with using the word “inspired” when it comes to my and other people describing their decision to transition. It’s not a bad word. It’s just that the implications that you are basing such a big decision on someone or something else and essentially not because it’s what you believe is best for you is perhaps the worst thing you could do. I prefer the word empowered if I talk about people I look up to and reference them as helping me or teaching me something about the transitioning process”
Would you mind briefly sharing your journey to where you are now?
“The journey that has brought me to where I am now has never been an easy one and at times had been a dark one. The thing is when I have read what other people say about their early life before they knew about gender dysphoria (the feeling of been born the wrong sex) and before they transitioned it matches a lot of what I experienced. Feeling as though I was different from everyone else around me, Not fully comfortable in my own skin and a fear of talking to people closest to me in case they ridiculed or reject me to name a few. This might make some people feel upset but it actually was the opposite for me as I found out that I wasn’t as different as I thought I was and other people had the same thoughts and feelings as I had and the strength to face and overcome them. The truth is that from about the age of 10 I had a fair idea of what (and I now know this word is wholly inappropriate so use it lightly now just to describe the feeling) was wrong with me. However back then early 90’s homosexuality was only just starting to be accepted and on the whole and that was in more metropolitan forward thinking towns/cities… Not Middlesbrough. So I decided to hide and try to compensate to the feelings that I had. This as you can imagine lead to more harm than good and it wasn’t until another 20 years when I reached what some people describe as the crisis point. On December the 1st 2014 I rang my GP and explained to her my feelings and requested a referral to the Gender Dysphoria Service. Over the course of the next year I then began telling family and close friends and trying to build a support base for my future. I have always found people who come out as Homosexual hugely empowering even when I was very young and didn’t fully understand what it was that I felt. I suppose one my earliest role models was Freddie Mercury the lead singer from the band Queen along with other music icons such as Prince, Bowie and Madonna. But the truth be told when they were at the height of their fame I was probably too young to fully understand what it was that drew me to them. When I started to really consider transitioning I began to look at forums and research what it entailed myself. This brought me across Blog’s that other people had written or YouTube videos of people who were openly talking about their transition and some of the challenges they faced. As I have said before I don’t like using the word inspired but you tubers like a Girl for all seasons, Isley Reust, Maya, Sarah -n- Dipity, Brooklyn Beauty and Joseph Harwood empowered me enough to make an informed decision. There are hundreds of others too just search transitional time line on YouTube and you will see some amazing transition’s and often the stories that go with them.
How did you feel before arriving at your appointment at my house?
“Booking to get my makeup done for the first time was a big decision. It was the first time I had told someone outside family or my friendship circle. Although anyone who perhaps is reading this might think different I actually don’t want the whole world to know and my aim is to blend in. When I contacted Gemma I think anxious is probably the best way to describe my emotions. This wasn’t just because I would be outing myself it was because I had left it to literally a day or so before my friend’s wedding party before I tried to book her and wasn’t sure I would get an appointment! As it turned out she had time to see me and I immediately felt a good vibe from here even though we had only talked via few Facebook messages.”
How did you feel following your appointment and what was the reaction at the party?
“After I left Gemma’s I felt great. I was really happy with the makeup and the whole interaction. As I said before my aim for transitioning it to blend in and for people to not to wonder if I was a he or a she. I think make up helps with this and can work as a mask to cover the things that might draw unwanted attention. That being said wearing as much make up as that on a daily basis would probably have the opposite effect and so when I went into my local Tesco on the way home I found myself feeling self-conscious. Not because I the makeup was bad but because of how I feel. It is a feeling I get all the time when I am out and one that I am still working around. However I have to admit not once did I feel eyes staring or as though people where pointing or talking about me. Later that evening at my friend’s wedding party I had so many compliments. A group of friends I had arranged to meet up with walked straight past me untill I stopped them and said hi to their surprise as they did not recognise me. It was little things like that and how accepting everyone was that made my evening very enjoyable especially for my first time out as Thiea.”
What advice would you give to others in a similar situation? Are there any services or support groups you would like to promote?
“Transitioning has not been an easy choice and I am still relatively early in mine at the time of writing this. One thing I have learned is that you need to stay positive and try not to expect the worst from everyone. You will come across some people who are more excepting than others but most people I have come across have been accepting or actually don’t really care that much. Believe It or not people have their own problems and so haven’t got time to worry about me wanting to wear a dress and makeup. That being said it’s also important to seek help. This can be in the form of professionals like your GP, local support group or online forum or even your own friends or family. The important thing is to discuss it with a person you feel comfortable with sharing the information and not keeping it bottled up.
This is a link to a website that lists local and national support services for the whole of the LGBT spectrum as well as contact details for parents who would like more information of the support or how to access care for their child.
A huge thank you to Theia for sharing her personal experience and I hope we see eachother again!