Ts dating in Concord

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Kae Mason was asked a lot of questions last year when film crews started showing up outside her downtown hair salon. Mason, owner of Salon K on Pleasant Street in Concord and a transgender woman, was part of a reality TV show about people transitioning from their ased gender while also dealing with being overweight. As a salon owner, and a person who has already undergone a transition herself, Mason acted as a mentor to a Manchester transgender woman navigating the beauty aspects of transitioning, like makeup, hair styling and facial hair removal.

The silence was difficult for Mason, who started feeling apprehensive about the show as soon as she found out what it would be titled. The network had originally pitched four separate episodes about different people going through the transition process.

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One of those people was Kayla Kennedy, 37, of Manchester who Kae was helping out. But after Kennedy and another character on the show, Shane, both struggled to qualify for sexual reasment surgery because of their weight, the network decided to move in that direction instead.

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When Mason agreed to be on the show in Octobershe had no idea what her participation would look like. The company originally approached her for a segment on advice for dating as a transgender person, but Mason said she would be more comfortable staying in her arena of beauty and styling. The network agreed and a crew arrived at her Concord salon. Mason said it was chaotic as employees and customers had to release waivers and with long days of multiple takes of every scene.

Mason worked closely with Kennedy, who was hoping to qualify for breast augmentation and genital reconstruction surgery by the end of the year.

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Kennedy had taken steps to transition as early asbut never reached a healthy enough weight to transition surgically. After visiting with a doctor in San Francisco, Kennedy was given four months to lose 57 pounds.

Ts dating in Concord

Good helped Kennedy with daily workouts to help her lose the weight she needed to get the surgery, while Mason helped with beauty tips to make her feel good emotionally. A first step for Kennedy was ditching her blond curly wig.

Mason recommended she either find another wig better suited to her, or go natural. Even though they seem like an easy step toward femininity, wigs can come off as fake, Mason said. Mason said people would be surprised by how close mental and physical health tie together, especially for transgender people.

Kennedy also went to Salon K looking for for facial hair removal services. She said facial hair is one of the biggest giveaways when it comes to transgender women trying to pass as female. Mason acted as a friend as well as an advisor to Kennedy on the show. Mason, 50, was born male, but never felt quite right about her body. Now, Mason uses her salon as a way to support other transgender people, who she sees on a weekly basis.

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Depression rates are very high among transgender individuals. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, between 38 and 65 percent of transgender people experience suicidal ideation at some point in their lives.

In a phone interview, Kennedy explained that she hopes her experience will inspire others to keep going through their own transgender journeys. For the premiere of the show, Mason hoped to have a viewing party with friends and co-workers at her home in Bow on Thursday night, but had to cancel because of the snow storm. After watching the show, Mason said she was pleasantly surprised that it had the flavor she had hoped. The show portrayed the struggles of the characters fairly and accurately, and was informative about the process, Mason said.

Mason said she even heard from Kennedy the morning after the show aired, who was feeling optimistic.

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Mason said what she would be happy if the show is able to draw attention to what she sees as a potentially vulnerable group that needs support. It was just about helping get the word out, supporting the community, that was near and dear to me.

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