I've seen a few FFS patients struggle with the identity issue following FFS...and, I've seen some people totally embrace their new face. I wouldn't call this "identity absorption factor" a measure of how T we are, but maybe it deals with how far each of us has either prepared, witnessed ahead of time, or thought about what we are going through.
I mean, look at it on a larger scale...by the book, I needed to see my therapist for at least 3 months before she would prescribe hormones. I "needed" to live part-time in order to get used to going full-time, and of course, I needed to live full-time for a year before having SRS. I also needed 2 letters from certified therapists/psychologists in order to obtain SRS.
But for FFS, all I needed was enough money to pay for the surgery. There was no letter, no amount of time spent living full-time or part-time...just money.
Am I one for gatekeepers? No. I don't think therapists should be considered gatekeepers, but more like keymasters. They are there to help us open the doors ahead of us, not hold us back. They should be there to help transitioners ensure they are prepared for what lies ahead and how to deal with all of the motions and emotions that comes with transition. I'm not proposing we have therapists issue letters approving FFS for transitioners, but it would be nice if FFS surgeons did ensure their patients had at least discussed the psychological issues of FFS with someone. Sure, most people totally love their face after FFS, but there are still some that struggle with their new identity.
When I first woke up from FFS, one of the first things I did was to feel my new forehead...because I really wanted to confirm that the male brow ridge was finally gone. My face would no longer look male, but would now appear female.
Out of everything I have gone through, I would say that FFS has been the most life changing. Our faces really help say so much about who we are in terms of how other people see us and how that perception helps us to interact in the world.
I'd say one of the harder things I had to deal with on FFS was how many people thought I didn't need it or didn't need it on certain features...that I looked fine. Some of the people who pondered my actions probably didn't know what to expect with the results with some trying to sort of talk me out of that procedure.
Claire, an old friend, recently visited San Francisco and just happened to have old photos of myself that were shared with a few residents of the Cocoon House. It's an ugly reminder of just how bad things were back then. Yeah, FFS drastically improved the quality of my life and I'm totally glad I had the procedures that were performed. (On a side note, I recently heard that Dr. O will be retiring in about 2 years.)
Some of the same issues came up for the face transplant recipient. Was it OK for the patient to have life threatening surgery just for quality of life? It's really interesting listening to the justification for the face transplant surgery. Here is a quote from one of the interviews on the ABC link:
"Even though we say it is only for quality of life, for someone with severe facial deformity it is almost impossible to live your life as we all do."
For those that say the face transplant recipient shouldn't risk the surgery, perhaps they should ask themselves how they themselves would live the rest of their life without a nose or most of the middle of their face, not be able to breath through anything resembling a mouth, or to not have lower eyelids. They simply cannot imagine what this woman has gone through. If she decided to partake in this surgery, I say good for her. I hope she has the support of her family, and access to the psychological resources to deal with this trying, yet exciting time of her life.