Transgender profiles: Gianni Giuliani by Erika Prins photo by Steve Rodenbough Because Spokane's community of openly transgender people is small, says Dawson, transitioning is riskier socially, professionally, and in terms of physical safety. "I think pretty much, if you're `out,' you get `outed,'" says Giuliani. As a result, many people keep their gender identity to themselves and difficult even for other transgender people to discover. Although she had planned to come along, Dawson stayed in Spokane to avoid extra travel and child-care expenses. Instead, Giuliani received post-operation help from a transgender man he met online who has also been through the procedure. Giuliani and Dawson began dating as a lesbian couple long before Giuliani knew enough about being transgender to be considering making the change. The couple had a period of uncertainty after Giuliani announced his plan to transition-- Dawson was resistant to the idea Giuliani - Continued Page 21 G ianni Giuliani is walking a little taller these days. He no longer slumps to conceal the breasts that, until recently, made him feel alien to his own body. "I feel so free and confident," says Giuliani, now recovering from the top surgery he underwent in March as the final step in his female-to-male gender transition. "It feels like there's nothing there that doesn't belong." Top surgery--a double mastectomy and bilateral nipple reconstruction--is not cheap. Health insurance seldom covers sex reassignment surgery of any kind, so Giuliani and his fiancÚ, Dina Dawson, are financially strained after covering the $8,000 medical bill. Few surgeons are willing to perform the operation, says Giuliani, so he and many others already struggling to pay for sex reassignment surgery must come up with money for traveling to see a doctor who is. He says even willing medical professionals in the Spokane area have little demand for gender reassignment procedures, and therefore may lack adequate expertise. He found a specialist in San Francisco who exclusively performs sex reassignment surgery. www.qviewnorthwest.com | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition | June 2009 |