Before and After. Don’t Ask.

Next week (or yesterday, or last week, or lost in time, depending on when you read this) there will be an article in Bristol’s excellent Venue magazine about our Being Drusilla blog. This is a good thing, as one of the objectives of the site is to spread some of the less sensational news about the transgender experience. It’s not all trauma and epiphany.  Happily, life goes on.

However, since we first put our heads above the parapet, with Becoming Drusilla, we’ve encountered the problem of illustrations. When an article or a review is published, editors want pics. This is Newton’s First Law of Journalism. The Second Law of Journalism states that any personalized transsexual story requires photos of Before and After.

Dru politely declines, but we like to be helpful and can offer alternatives.  We have a variety of quality pictures from our walk, or from her extensive Flickr pages the illustrated Dru can be seen in various guises from militant cyclist to intrepid caver. Pics, we have. Before and After, we have not.

The objection is a fair one, I think. Before and After reduces the transsexual experience to a static moment of change, rather than the continuous line of a life that it is. The clue here is that only Dru gets asked, which is the most accurate signifier of skewed behaviour. Nobody ever wants me Before and After, and I used to be young and pretty.

About Richard

Richard of Richard and Dru.
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5 Responses to Before and After. Don’t Ask.

  1. Caroline says:

    Richard here is your chance, give us the pretty version now!

  2. Richard says:

    I’ll have to ask my Mum – that particular photo is in the album labelled Anomalies, 1985 – 1987.

  3. Dru says:

    treasure in store, then!

  4. Richard, you are still pretty.

    In my opinion, you (Dru) do a Good Thing in resisting the pressure for before/after photos. Journalists invariably push for these (generally opting for those which show the most extreme difference – if you’ve been in the army and have a photo of yourself in full camo uniform, that’s the one they’ll go for) but I think they feed into a lazy, clichéd “makeover” narrative.

    I have a theory that, as a result of this particular journalistic bent (over decades), an entire generation of trans people tends to approach transition with an overemphasis on (and, frequently, unrealistically heightened expectation of) the transformative power of hormones. The social elements of transition, monumental as they might be, are usually neglected, by comparison.

  5. Richard says:

    Ah, Doctor Lorimer, you say the nicest things. Any opinions on Daniel Craig (see above)? We need some brain-power to cut through a general sense of ‘yes, but …’, and also the lingering feel of ickiness.

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