I am going to start on a low-dose testosterone gel in two weeks, if nothing bad happens before then. This is a record of where I’ve been and where I am now.
I started questioning my gender late 2015 around my 19th birthday, and it mostly solidified when I met my first genderqueer person irl 3 years ago in April 2016. I started coming out to a few people and then more generally in July 2016. I started thinking vaguely about testosterone in December 2016.
My gender is genderqueer: a third gender distinct from and not a derivative of male and female. Green, if the gender spectrum goes from red to blue. I feel this strongly and consistently. I am not transmasculine, and feel very little connection to masculinity. I feel significant connection to womanhood, and have more complicated feelings about femininity. I am neither “male-aligned” nor “female-aligned”; I am non-binary, that’s the point. I am also not “gender neutral”, I have a lot of gender, it’s just not male or female.
I use they/them pronouns, which all my friends at school do consistently. The adjustment period was very rough in 2017, when I thought that I was asking the impossible and being difficult for no reason and nobody would ever do it, but it’s all good now. It didn’t really feel right until most people started using it. It bothers me a lot more when people that I am out to use the wrong one than if they just don’t know, which made me think I was inventing the problem by coming out, but of course not. It doesn’t really bother me when people from school that don’t know use “she”, mainly because engineering is mostly men, and I’m really good at school, so it makes me feel good to hear people talk about “her” with admiration.. hahha.
I am out (and very loud about it) on Facebook, so new friends figure it out quite quickly. I’m also out to my parents and brother. I haven’t decided whether to come out at my upcoming 6-month internship in Denmark.
I suppose on some subconscious level I realised quite early on that I will get on T sooner or later, and most of the doubt was about whether I should do it now or wait 20 years to make sure I’m really sure. It’s also taken some time to translate the inexplicable draw into words and actual pros/cons that I can understand. I am going to lay out the exact changes and how I feel about them next, but understand that there is probably something deeper than just adding them up and seeing that there are more things I want than don’t want.
The main thing really is a change of subjective internal qualia that other people have reported. I have no idea what that will be like until it happens, but I feel positive about it for some reason. I mean, it will change how I look, and that’s good or bad, but that’s only a part of it for me. I think it will change how I feel, partly because I look different and people interact with me different, but also partly because of how hormones interact with my brain, I expect.
As for how I will look, right now my goal is to push towards androgyny, though I am open to this changing once I start and know what it actually feels like. For now though, I don’t really want to look super male and be read as male 100% of the time. If that does happen it wouldn’t be terrible, but it’s not what I imagine right now as the ideal. Right now I imagine that there’s a point between here and there that will work for me.
I am excited to look different and for my voice to be a bit different. I am very excited about shaving my face, though my genes are not favourable for that happening. I don’t dislike how I look right now, which is another thing I’ve heard often changes for people once they are further along, but right now, I think I look quite good, and I quite like the feeling of singing high notes. I like my softness. The major turning point for me was cutting my hair in 2016, which made me feel much better about how I look and start taking a lot more selfies. I take a lot of selfies. Once in a while I see my face from a certain angle and really dislike it, but objectively I think it’s a good face. I sometimes worry that I won’t like how I look on T, but I think I will, because it will still be my face, just different in good ways. I will still be soft in the important ways.
One thing I have reservations about is that I am used to being read as a woman, and it’s not all bad. I’m worried about the adjustment if that changes. I’ve gotten used to using the women’s restroom. It doesn’t really bother me anymore, I feel safer there, and I haven’t been confronted about it in some time, now that my hair is a bit longer. I don’t like people getting my gender wrong, of course, but becoming more visibly trans and gay will make discrimination and violence harder to avoid.
I have a complicated relationship with the concept of gender dysphoria. I am trying to get out of the habit of telling myself mean things about my body, a thing I started doing because suffering made me feel more trans. It’s weird balancing “don’t say mean things about yourself” with “don’t ignore what your body is telling you will make you happy”. Top surgery isn’t a decision I have to make in the immediate future, so I’m going with always trying to appreciate my body for now.
Mostly I don’t feel very strongly about my chest, I guess. It’s fine. I think that ideally I would get top surgery and that will make me happy, but maybe on T I wouldn’t feel the need anymore. Right now it’s not ideal but I’m not that unhappy. I think it could be much better, but I manage. Sometimes I like how obviously trans my chest looks in menswear. I don’t enjoy it though, and just ignore it most of the time, except once in a while when it makes me sad (usually right before my period when I have maximal bad gender feelings). I haven’t gone swimming in a long time.
Recently I have been very very sad about not having a penis. I haven’t always felt this way, but lately I have been discovering a very deep and dark Want. Thinking about it makes me sad. I feel a knot of sadness in my stomach. Looking at prosthetics makes me sad. Surgery isn’t really on the table because (content warning: skip this bit if you don’t want to read bad stuff about the surgery) the surgeries are so complicated and it isn’t quite the same (/content warning). I know it’s cis-normativity that makes me want a cis penis. Maybe at some point I will unlearn it enough to want what I can get from surgery. The strength of my desire and the impossibility of it scares me to confront, and this is still something I’m figuring out right now. I think I will be brave and try a prosthetic eventually. It will probably make me really sad but there will also be joy.
I usually feel assured and affirmed in my gender. I am happy and confident and I have friends who get it. Having those friends makes it much easier to not care how other inconsequential people read me or think about me. It takes up much less brain space than it used to, and I know what to expect when it does come up. A few days a month it’s crippling, and I know there are dark corners of my brain that I don’t really look directly at. Once in a while it stops me from doing something I would otherwise do, but it’s not dictating major life decisions. I am learning to be less tolerant to bigotry, and to put my own safety, comfort and privacy before feeling an obligation to make my whole life educational material. More and more I no longer feel the need to justify myself to people who aren’t going to listen with generosity, and I no longer feel the need to have all the right answers; just what feels honest and true to myself, as well as I am able to articulate it. I feel like there is space for me in this world. Sometimes that’s hard to see, but I know it’s there.
I thought a lot more in the months leading up to this but now I feel confident and calm. I am completely open to the possibility that in a month or two I will discover this is wrong for me and stop, but that doesn’t mean I’m unsure. I am 100% sure that now is the right time, and that there is no other way to find out.