Nearly everyone agrees humans can be divided into two distinct sexes: full-haired and bald-haired. Sure, there’s a loony fringe which challenges this concept. They say that other sexual characteristics such as chromosomes, reproductive organs, and hormones don’t always correspond with people’s hairlines. They challenge the widely-held belief that the inter-haired (people who have ambiguous hairlines) are defective and grotesque, and argue for the acceptance of a wide array of sexual diversity. Some even say that the essential sexual categories can be better delineated according to the genitalia. Imagine the fate at the onset of phaliarche of a poor baldie who’d been raised for several decades as a fullie just because nothing was dangling between nir legs at birth! But I digress, these viewpoints are really too outlandish to address here.
Because of institutionalized misobaldy, bald-hairs are unfairly treated by society. While bald-hairs make up over thirty-five percent of the genderal population, only twenty-four percent of CEOs of the top Fortune 500 companies are bald-hairs, and only nine-percent of US Senators. Society reserves its greatest derision, however, for the inter-haired. Many inter-hairs attempt to hide their condition with comb-overs and toupees, or by completely shaving their heads to appear bald-headed and fit into a society which is so hostile to presentations outside of the hairline binary.
In a small subset of people, a combination of genetic, hormonal, and psychosocial factors leads to a psychiatric condition known as Hairline Identity Disorder (HID). These individuals have a deeply felt sense that who they are on the inside does not match their scalp. Years ago, psychiatrists believed the best treatment for people with this condition was reparative therapy to rid them of this delusion and curb their compulsive urge to style their hair in ways that were not considered appropriate for their heads. However, there is growing recognition among professionals that a trans-haired identity is not pathological. They propose renaming the condition “hairline dysphoria,” and offer the trans-haired a combination of hormonal adjustment therapy and hair transplants (also known as hairline realignment surgery or HRS) so they can be relieved of their discomfort with their sexual characteristics and live out a cross-haired identity without shame.
A debate rages between trans-haired activists and an angry group of radical bald-liberationists. The trans-haired activists say “hairline is on your scalp; hairstyle is between your ears.” They refuse to let anyone dictate what they can and can’t do with their bodies, or exclude them because of how they comport themselves in the world. The radical baldists say bald-hairs who pass as full-hairs are just trying to access full-haired privilege. When presented with the conundrum of full-hairs who transition to the socially inferior bald status by shaving their heads, the radical baldists accuse them of indulging in a bizarre fetish dubbed autotrichophilia, a sexo-aesthetic inversion wherein their natural trichophilia, or erotic attraction to bald-heads, is pathologically turned inward toward themselves. The radical baldists argue that transbalds fetishize cultural stereotypes of bald-hairs and reinforce the limitations placed on them by hairstyle norms.
This debate appears far from over. Hopefully some day the two camps can find a new way of looking at the problem and work together to prevent the suffering caused by a society that sees everyone as a full-hair or a bald-hair and not as unique individuals with the freedom to style their hair as they please.
Is the hair loss drug Propecia a transsexual phenomenon?
On its face this question seems ridiculous. If you asked most consumers of hair loss treatments their reasons for using them, they’d probably tell you they want to appear more manly. That they want to maintain their youth and vigor. That they are transcending their age, not their sex. But aren’t they essentially modifying their bodies to be less male?
Propecia (finasteride) is in fact a common component in the multi-drug hormonal adjustment therapy regimen for male-to-female transsexuals. Finasteride is an enzyme inhibitor that slows the conversion of testosterone to the more potent androgenic hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Just like spironolactone, the other antiandrogen taken by transsexuals, finasteride shifts the pattern of hair growth in androgen-dominant persons toward the pattern of estrogen-dominant persons. With both drugs, the change in hair growth occurs not only on the head, but also on the body. Both drugs can cause breast enlargement, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and decreased seminal volume. Whether these results are desired effects or side effects depends on the user.
Incidentally, I find the term hormone replacement therapy (HRT) somewhat misleading in application to transsexuals. HRT is for post-menopausal females who need to replace estrogen that is not being produced anymore. Anti-androgens, for example, don’t replace anything. I think it makes more sense to call it hormonal adjustment therapy. HRT for MTF transsexuals would be testosterone given to re-transitioners who’ve had orchiectomies.
Applying a multisexual analysis, as discussed in my previous post on the reconciliation of social constructionism and biological essentialism, it’s undeniable that “men” who take Propecia for hair loss are transsexual. They certainly would not receive a completely cisgender score of zero on McKinley’s Cisgender-Transgender Rating Scale. A real man would certainly not care so much about nir appearance. Ne would bic nir head before accepting even a small chance of feminization, right?