Dina’s Diner

| Jun 5, 2017

A SURGEON’S TOUCH

A friend sent me an article about transgender surgery statistics that appeared on Medicinenet.com on May 22, 2017. The headline of the article tells the story: “U.S. Transgender Surgeries Up 20 Percent in Two Years.” The statistics were collected and reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and include breast reduction/augmentation and other cosmetic procedures for trans patients as well as actual genital reassignment procedures.

According to the article, there are a couple of reasons for the recent increase. First, of course, is the explosion of transgender awareness in these past years which has removed some of the societal barriers for trans people looking for medical care and surgical treatments. Secondly, the Affordable Care Act has made coverage available for some procedures in some plans and that has lessened the financial burden for some trans people to get the care and procedures they desire and can now afford.

The article included some numbers that are illuminating. The actual number of surgical procedures for trans people was over 3,200 in 2016, representing the 20% increase. But the article reported, “About 1.4 million adults in the United States, or about 0.6 percent of the adult population, identify as transgender, according to a 2016 analysis by the Williams Institute at University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.” That would suggest that growth in trans surgeries of all types should keep increasing — provided the potential beneficiaries can continue to afford the treatment, which can range into the mid-five figures ballpark per procedure. Not a certainty with the Affordable Care Act under fire now.

The article notes that “Dr. Loren Schechter is a plastic surgeon in Chicago whose practice specializes in gender reassignment. He said the 20 percent recorded rise in transgender-related surgeries nationally between 2015 and 2016 seems low, considering his practice has “seen an exponential growth” in these procedures. Schechter’s patients have ranged from teenagers to those in their 70s.” It’s likely that other transgender specialists saw a larger increase than the broad survey which included practitioners whose trans patient base may be only a small percentage of their business.

A spokesperson for the ASPS said, “Surgery is not for everyone. It’s one component, and often a very dramatic one, but it’s also related to cultural norms, and some people are able to find relief from gender dysphoria without surgery.”

IT’S A GIRL THING

“Lolita” Andrea Baker.

Angela Gardner sent me an article about Andrea Baker that appeared in the online version of the U.K. Mirror newspaper on May 11, 2017. Andrea is a fully transitioned trans woman who enjoys the community of “Lolitas.” Wait, it’s not what you think. The Lolitas in question are a group of women who enjoy dressing in elaborate frilly dresses befitting adolescent girls of a bygone era.

Here’s part of what the Mirror had to say: “Describing her transition as an “ongoing process,” despite being part of the transgender community, Andrea still didn’t feel like she had found her spiritual home. She finally “found herself’ when, around nine years ago, she spotted a page about Lolita fashion on the social networking site LiveJournal. “I immediately fell in love with the look. I did some research and found a Lolita group in my local area,” she said. Andrea is a U.S. citizen in Georgia although the article appeared in a British publication.

The Lolita culture came out of Tokyo (I believe) where groups of young women would gather in the street scenes of the happening parts of town in Victorian and Goth versions of Lolita fashions. I wrote about that several years ago in the Diner. The concept has traveled around the world now and apparently Lolita communities can be found — as Andrea did — for those looking to meet like-minded “girls.” For example, Andrea wrote a blog entry about how to host a Lolita Tea Party. There are online social sites for Lolitas as well.

On Andrea’s Facebook and Instagram pages, you can see some of her friends as they enjoy their Lolita outings. Most of the other Lolitas appear to be genetic women but as Andrea told the Mirror, “It’s such a diverse group. Age, gender, sexuality, race, religion — they don’t matter.” The article continued, “Mixing with other Lolitas, Andrea knew she’d found her true place in the world. Now, she travels all over the globe, going to conventions and fashion events. She’s also made a great circle of friends through the Lolita community, saying, “I’ve found the people I want to be with in the Lolitas.”

It was interesting to read that Andrea who has been “out” as a transperson since her 20s (she is now 46) really found her niche in an even less understood community like the Lolitas. By the way, if you see any real-life Lolitas, please be sensitive to their interests. Andrea told the Mirror, “I don’t mind being called a doll but if someone describes us as ‘human doll’ or ‘living doll’ is not appropriate. Being a Lolita is about more than a fashion statement. It’s about expressing ourselves.”

THE PSEUDONYMOUS CENTERFOLD

Melinda as a Bunny.

Playboy magazine centerfolds were the epitome of female naughty sex appeal for a generation or two of American men in the second half of the twentieth century. At some point, the centerfold was overshadowed by the surfeit of sexiness on the internet. But in the golden days, Playboy centerfolds were really something, sonny boy, I’ll tell ya.

I was browsing around the internet looking for something else when I came across a photo and a newspaper article about Melinda Windsor, the Playboy centerfold for February 1966. Melinda was one of those centerfold girls who were photographed in a certain style that made their breasts appear to be suspended in mid-air, defying the rules of physics and anatomy. There is no way that boobs like Melinda’s should stick out as they were shown given their apparent heft and angle of descent. Yet there they were pointing only slightly southwest below Melinda’s beautiful kisser and modified beehive hairdo.

I remember Melinda’s centerfold (I saw it much later than its original publication in 1966, though) because she was one of the more bosomy centerfolds in the magazine’s history. It turns out “Melinda Windsor” was a pseudonym for the 21 year old female UCLA student who posed for the photos and the mystery of her real identity and whereabouts puzzled many fans for years afterward.

Melinda’s breasts defying physics.

Bob Dyer, a reporter for the Akron, Ohio Beacon Journal, wrote about the mystery of Melinda in March 2016. Her Playboy biography listed Akron as her hometown and many believed that was true even if her name was made-up. Dyer turned up some Akron locals who had sketchy information about women who might have been “Melinda” but he could not pin down her real name or location. Another researcher contacted Mr. Dyer in July 2016 to say that Melinda’s real name was Ann Brockway, an identity he traced through her subsequent move to Illinois. Melinda or Ann would be 72 years old now if she survives.

It is ironic that a beautiful young woman with a bosom that would stand out in a crowd — and indeed appeared for all to see in the magazine — could disappear into the ether for fifty years.

THE ITSY-BITSY DISAPPEARING TEENY-WEENIE BIKINI

A recent article in Cosmopolitan magazine reported that bikini swimsuit styles are losing their popularity. I saw the Cosmo article reprinted on Yahoo.com on May 15, 2017. The article reported, “According to retail analytics firm Edited, 20 percent more one-pieces are available online now than this time last year and two-piece options online have fallen 9 percent. Additionally, one-piece designs are being bought three times faster than they were in 2016.”

Which suit suits you?

I expect that the new Baywatch movie might pull the strings of the bikini down even farther this summer. Those hot red tank suits are sexier than most bikinis, in my opinion, anyway. While there have certainly been sexy bikinis and certain women who wore said bikinis to great advantage, I’d have to give the edge to a sleek one-piece suit in most cases. The bikini requires almost a perfect figure to slay the style. And let’s face it, ahem, ’nuff said. One piece suits have the same optical advantage that a dress has over a skirt and blouse combo: it unifies the body in a clean line.

Needless to say, the bikini (again in my opinion) is not the crossdresser’s friend. I guess if you have the perfect figure . . . but nah, that ain’t happening, sweetheart.

Well, maybe it’s just a matter of personal taste. I don’t think the bikini is ready just yet to sashay into the surf never to be seen again. And if some member of the fairer sex with the aforementioned perfect figure strolls past in a classic bikini, I promise to ogle.

SALE OF THE CENTURY

Bra for sale.

I belong to a locally based Facebook page that is supposed to act as an online flea market. It also serves as an interesting peephole to other people’s lives.

There are plenty of used cars and trucks, of course; the odd mobile home for sale; too many children’s toys to count; all manner of tools and gadgets; some very pretty prom dresses (only worn once!); and a surprising amount of lingerie. Brassieres are a popular item for women to offload, it seems. I’ve noticed that there are not that many 32 A brassieres being advertised. But larger sizes? Well, the cups runneth over.

This is the ad copy for a Victoria’s Secret brassiere I saw recently on the page: “It’s a 38 D bra. It’s brand new. I never worn [sic] it. It was a very expensive bra, so I’m asking $45 OBO.” It’s a shame the lady in question never got to wear it. A dramatist could fashion a whole play around that tragedy. I’ve been out of the bra market for a while so I can’t say if $45 is a fair price or not. But I’m sure there are some fellas out there who would like to make a Best Offer for any woman who can fill a 38 D cup.

Short enough?

 

Some other interesting items I’ve seen come up on the Facebook page have been jean shorts cut to what appear to be a daring — perhaps too cheeky — degree. Unfortunately, the sellers turned bashful and simply displayed them on a flat surface rather than on their gently rounded derrieres. Notice that I imagine that the brassiere and short-short sellers are women one would wish to see in their sexy for-sale items. For all we know, they might look like sideshow attractions. But where’s the fun in imagining that?

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Category: Fun & Entertainment, Opinion

About Dina Amberle: I started crossdressing and going out publicly in 1988. I joined the Renaissance group in the Philadelphia area that year and later became chapter leader for two years in the '90s. I always enjoyed writing and wrote for the Renaissance newsletter and magazine throughout my membership years. I've been writing for TGForum for several years now. I also contributed items to LadyLike magazine and other TG publications before the advent of the internet. My hobby-within-a-hobby is singing live as my alter-ego Dina Sinatra and I have had the opportunity to do that with several accommodating performers and in a number of venues over the years since the mid-1990s. In the Diner column items here, I try to relate crossdressing or transgender themes (and my own pet peeves and fetishes) to the larger world -- and vice versa.

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