It’s My Body…Right?

Or yours, as I was reminded this morning upon reading the news that Pete Burns – the lead singer for the band Dead or Alive had died over the weekend.

One of the prevailing themes of comments I read about the lead singer of this iconic band was, of course, nostalgic.

The other was kind of…what the fuck happened to him?  Not as in the “Where do old pop starts go to die?” type of way, but more in the manner that he was no longer recognizable to his fans from the late 80s and early 90s of the band’s heyday.

pete-burns-beforeHere’s a “before” from the “You Spin Me Right Round” days.

Everyone wanted some of that fashionable eyepatch-wearing sexiness.

But then…30 years went by.  Instead of being cursed with the Kirstie Alley brand of “what the fuck happened?” he was subjected to a somewhat newer version of the Mickey Rourke “what the fuck happened?” variety.  Maybe with a little splash of Janice Dickinson thrown in.  Here’s a little Mickey before and after action for ya.mickey-rourke

pete-burns-afterAnd, here’s what Pete looked like at the gone too early age of 57.

He openly discussed his early cross-dressing tendencies, commenting that he had started as early as 8 years old.  But, again…how do you get from an 8 year old exploring gender identification with girl’s clothing to – well – this?

Being awesomely transparent about his private life, even appearing in the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother a few years back, he had some interesting responses to questions about his less than subtle plastic surgery.

My favorite?

Something along the lines of how he has work done every couple of years…kind of like how other people spruce up their home with a new couch.

I confess that I love the cheeky honesty.

And, it is – was – his body.  So why not?  I mean, I think about getting a little freshening up from time to time.  It’s actually an active thought I have.  But, for me it was always one of those far off goals.  You know, like when I turn 50, give myself a little treat.

Well, guess what?

50 is nigh…

Don’t worry, Mom-Donna, I haven’t booked any time off or a “spa vacation”.

So, back to the larger question of “why not?”…and it bleeds into another blog idea that I have been kicking around for a couple months.  Trying to derp thought my way through my own feelings on a slightly related topic.

That will have me wildly criticized and probably drawn and quartered.

But, it’s my blog, so if I want to work through some deep-cum-derp thoughts as I type…well, draw and quarter me, I guess.

Lately, I’m worried about the number of Trans people I know or encounter.

Hold, on.  I’m going to draw my shades and dim my lights.

Sure, confusion about an emerging expression of not just sexual identity but a recreation of one’s actual physical identity to match their internal true selves…well, not being fluid and nimble enough to actually give that a 100% go with the flow response makes me feel like my grandfather and his lack of acceptance of “the gays”.

But I think I come by it honestly, not in a nurturing kind of honesty where my bias would be learned.  More in a “based on the things I’ve seen in my life, I have a few concerns” type of bias.

Is that ok?

Can we talk?

Can we still be friends?

Can we call off the very well-dressed and fiercely made up mob?

Maybe just for now?

Here’s the deal (do I say that too much?), when I was a kid – I’m talking college and post college aged – I was very aware of young women “switching teams” and entering into same-sex flings.  They were referred to as Fashionable Lesbians.  I liked it – some people hated it for a variety of reasons, everything from the implication that feminine women couldn’t be lesbian unless it was just a fling or a trend to complete bigots who were going to hate anything that wasn’t a hetero-normal relationship.  To the best of my knowledge – or experience – the term actually came about because women were exploring their own sexuality.

Our culture had evolved far enough that even if it wasn’t heralded, the practice of testing the homo-waters was at least not shocking and it was ok to have a blurred line between gay and straight.  Being bi had begun to lose some of the animosity normally attached to that lifestyle.

“Hi, my name is Carol.  I’m 5’5″, brunette, a pisces by birth and a lesbian because it’s trendy!”

Why not?  It’s Carol’s body, right?


Since then, we’ve seen bisexuality become more mainstream.  Open relationships almost garner a yawn when the topic comes up and poly relationships are – well – growing on the culture at large.

You all know how I feel about that – because I’m a grumpy old man.  And single…oy.  To me, relationships are monogamous.  Not, “Hey, I brought enough for the whole class!”img_1070

But that’s just me.  My opinion on a topic that you can read my thoughts on elsewhere…

So, what does this all have to do with plastic surgery?  How does the sexual evolution of America start with – at least in my life experience – Fashionable Lesbians and arc all the way to Transgendered People?


I worry about them.

What if – somewhere – there’s a Fashionable Trans person?

I know.  Counseling is part of the process when one transitions.  There’s an actual process, too.

Why, if it’s a process and counseling is part of that regimen do I have not only so many friends and acquaintances in that pipeline, but also…why do I have friends that have started, stopped or experienced some other sort of hiccup in their journey?

I was talking about a doctor’s appointment I had once with a friend.  Talking about the appointment with the friend.  The appointment wasn’t with said friend.  He flippantly remarked that my doctor sounded like a quack.  I countered with my frustration with the appointment not having any bearing on whether he was or was not a competent physician.  He tossed his imaginary locks over his shoulder dramatically and said, “Well, even med students who get a C still get a diploma”.


But what if counselors could be short-handed in that same manner?

What if my beautiful friend who misses her breasts only got a so-so counselor?  What if the American Medical Complex was administering hormones because they were covered by insurance versus being what the person really, truly needed?  Where would that stop?

I’m all for people making themselves their best self.

I almost typed “within reason” at the end of that sentence.  I stopped, not because I think that gender reassignment isn’t reasonable…but what if we get ourselves into a situation where our hyperbole-prone patient selves encounter a Montessori-style doctor when they begin exploring this potential journey to their best selves?

I want to know that the people I care about get the right advice toward the ends of making their outside self mirror the identity that they experience inside.

But if it’s not checked by people who are – figuratively or literally – slaves to the prescribed process, then I’m worried that what we’re going to have isn’t a culture of people who are fully satisfied with the outward expression of their true selves so much as we’re going to have a culture of buyer’s remorse.

And where does that lead us?

People walking around with a couch that they hate for everyone to see.  And I don’t want that.  Not for people I know and care about, nor for the complete stranger who gets paired up with the wrong support team.  And you just know that the people who get involved in this by some mistake aren’t the ones who get their card punched at 57…they’d be the people whose family all lived into their 90s.

Bet ya didn’t think it was like me to worry, did ya?

I think this Derp Thought remains unresolved for me.  I was hoping that the freshness of Pete Burns’ death would shake free some clarity around my Trans ambivalence.  Maybe I should just leave it at it’s their body and roll with it until they make it my business.

It’s My Body…Right?

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