Booking and receiving aesthetics services can be very vulnerable moments, involving deep emotional insecurities, or simply nerves from fear of a painful treatment. But for trans patients, receiving such treatment is a far more complicated matter. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, among US adults, 0.5% (about 1.3 million adults) identify as transgender. Of the 1.3 million adults who identify as transgender, 38.5% (515,200) are transgender women, 35.9% (480,000) are transgender men, and 25.6% (341,800) reported they are gender nonconforming. And yet whether it is in advertisements, tailored service offerings, or simply inclusive language, the representation in the industry is highly lacking.
As journalist and founder and editor of queer/trans/non-binary literary magazine Butter Press, Rachel Komich writes in their article “Plastic Surgery Is Only Controversial When You're Trans” for Byrdie: “Cis-people did not need to prove their ‘cis-ness,’ and they were allowed to look how they had always imagined themselves because they imagined themselves the ‘right’ way. It was easy because it was acceptable. Trans patients, on the other hand, have to jump through hurdles and hoops to achieve the same gender euphoria, the same satisfaction of feeling at home in one's body.” Komich, who previously worked in social media content creation for a plastic surgeon, reports: “When I brought up the lack of trans patients to my co-workers, I was told it was less lucrative and wouldn't be worth advertising.”
A survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality states that 19% of participants were refused medical care due to their transgender or gender-nonconforming status, 28% postponed receiving assistance when sick or injured due to discrimination, and 50% report having to teach their providers about transgender care. While these statistics refer to medical care specifically, one can assume that figures would be similar in regards to cosmetic procedures.
Ever/Body is hoping to give credence to its company name by having a proprietary training program for employees on the needs of all clientele, including trans clients. The company also featured trans model Preston Souza in its recent campaign. “Aesthetics is never one size fits all. Provider and client education is the foundation of our approach. Our program includes a comprehensive training module dedicated to working with trans clients,” comments Amy Shecter, CEO of Ever/Body. “For example, if someone is looking to achieve facial feminization or masculinization, we will work with them to assess their facial structure to add volume, slim features, or contour with injectables such as filler and Botox.” The company’s complete training program (including all modules) runs over the course of 10-12 weeks, with each provider receiving 300-500 hours of training in total. Subject matter includes pronoun and sensitivity education, as well as in-depth teachings on feminization and masculinization.
“When we built our menu, we knew we wanted to create a service offering that appealed to everybody’s goals. We researched, tested, and evaluated each product and technology with our medical team,” Shecter comments. “There are many doctor’s offices and med spas that offer an overwhelming amount of options that are not effective for everyone, so we set ourselves apart by offering curated services that treat concerns across every skin tone, texture, age and gender.”
Given the difficulty in access to and medical coverage for more invasive procedures—55% of those seeking coverage for transition-related surgery and 25% of those seeking coverage for hormones were denied, according the 2015 US Transgender Survey—fillers and Botox can provide an alternative option for facial optimization. While these unfortunately aren’t covered by insurance providers, at the very least the cost is less than that of top surgery (the removal of breast and chest tissue). Ever/Body’s mid-face filler procedures cost $825, while the average cost for FTM (female to male) and FTN (female to nonbinary) top surgery is $3,000-$10,000, and MTF (male to female) and MTN (male to nonbinary) top surgery is $5,000-$10,000.
“Trans clients may come to us unaware of the nonsurgical options available to them. Line and wrinkle relaxers or filler can be used to feminize or masculinize features. The beauty of using minimally invasive cosmetic services is that there’s flexibility. We can support the discovery of our trans clients and help them achieve their desired outcome,” explains Christina Nalbone, MSN, FNP, CANS, Lead Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner, Director of Clinical Education and Operations. “There is a tremendous opportunity to provide minimally invasive cosmetic dermatology treatments for transgender clients, especially those going through their physical transition,” Shecter adds. These include hair removal for transgender women; Heravive and Plasma Hair Restoration services for transgender men and women experiencing scalp hair loss (a common side effect of hormone therapy); injectables for facial slimming, contouring, and volume addition; and a Clear + Brilliant Laser Facial and VI Peel for acne caused by testosterone treatments in transgender men.
As for the rest of the industry, Shecter encourages others to “evaluate each step in how you operate and work to take the bias out. Our industry must focus on representation at every touchpoint and continuously hold ourselves accountable towards accessibility and inclusion.” As brand owner and activist Junior Mintt explained in a recent op-ed for BeautyMatter, supporting those you claim to be an ally to needs to be woven into every fiber of your brand DNA, from campaigns to employees to financial support. As a frontrunner of the industry, Ever/Body’s efforts can hopefully ignite industry-wide change for all.
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