Re-Painting the Ceiling
by Jan Baughman

I'm used to bumping my head - I've done it all my life. Anyone who is six feet tall (six-three in high heels) can relate. Airplanes, houses over sixty years old, cars; they're all perfect venues for a good loud smack of the skull. I enjoy seeing people cringe when they hear the noise and wait expectantly for my reaction. The cumulative brain trauma has dulled the pain significantly.

However, the laceration on my scalp from the impact between my head and the glass ceiling I hit is not healing. I'm not quite sure whether I fell on it, or it landed on me, but the effect is the same and the Band-Aids need to be changed frequently. And as the differential between salaries for men and women is on the increase again, the wound is getting deeper. I'm not used to stunted growth.

Fortunately, I have options. Some are rather time-consuming; most are expensive. Furthering my education would provide a skylight for my ceiling, but there will always remain the gender thing. Changing careers to something in a female-dominated field is a possibility, but I'm not sure what they are and I'm probably not cut out for them anyway. Even cooking, which I love to do, is best done professionally by a man, or so it seems. No, I've decided to go the unconventional route. I've opted for gender reassignment. What do I have to lose, besides the obvious?

I'm rather excited by my decision. I am about to enroll myself into a fascinating social study and at the same time, solve my dilemma. I started counseling recently and feel that I can pass this step easily. My psychiatrist feels I am maladapted anyway and would adjust readily to another maladjustment. The next step is testosterone. I hope it doesn't make me become a baseball fan.

There are many things I'm looking forward to in addition to my higher social status and income. I will no longer be mistaken for a flight attendant when I travel. My boss won't talk to me about my feelings. I won't worry about women still liking me if I cut my hair short. I can carry heavy items without a second glance from other, weaker men. And best of all, I can finally be successful and respected where I belong -- in the kitchen!

Published September 28, 1997
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