From whimsical musings to invasive ruminations on transitioning, Pt. 2Posted: January 29, 2015 Filed under: Testosterone | Tags: coming out, gender identity, genderqueer, hormone replacement therapy, lgbtq, non-binary, queer, testosterone, therapy, trans, transgender, transition, writing 7 Comments
Since I have a lot of extra time on my hands right now, I thought I’d read through some of my old blog entries. I came across a couple of pretty good ones that didn’t get read by many people, because I was just starting out. It takes time and energy to build a readership. I thought it’d be fun (and self-indulgent, which I could use right now) to “re-blog” one of my first posts (and edit it lightly). See if it still holds up; maybe make a commentary at the end. This one in particular was my 10th blog post, and it’s from a year and a half ago. I had been on T for 6 months at that point. It got 4 views. I think it’s of interest to more people than that!
For over a decade, I had been going back and forth thousands of times in my head about whether transitioning, or partial transition, was right for me or not. At some point not that long ago, I seemed to come to the conclusion that no, I wasn’t going to move forward because if I were, I would have done something about it by now. And I haven’t, so I’m not. I must be lacking some internal drive, so it must not be something that I need to do. I settled on identifying as genderqueer and trans* but not planning on medically transitioning in any way. But I was not quite satisfied, not at all actually. Because it was still on my mind. Sometimes just as whimsical musings in the back of my brain. Other times as pervasive/invasive body-dysphoric consistent ruminations.
I thought it had to be all or nothing. I thought I had to have a case ready about how I need to transition, in order to access testosterone. But I don’t need to transition, and I really don’t like to lie. I thought I would need a letter from a therapist, and to jump through all these hoops, to access testosterone, at least in my town, locally. And I wasn’t even sure I wanted it! Eventually I reached a point where I just knew that I needed to try it, just so that I could know. So that at the very least, I could think about it differently or think about it less often, as it relates to a decision about something I should or should not do.
I have this awesome therapist. She doesn’t know much about trans* identities. I’m fairly certain she had not previously had a trans* client before, although I could be wrong. I’d been talking to her about this stuff, and she’d been following along, more or less, in stride. When I would say I need to try this out, she would say, “then why not!” I asked her if she’d write me a letter if need be, and she said she wouldn’t be comfortable doing that; she doesn’t have enough knowledge about it. Still operating under the assumption that I would need a letter, I started also seeing another therapist, basically for the purpose of getting a letter.
This second therapist gave me the name of a doctor during our first session. Turns out that, apparently, I didn’t need a letter! Turns out I didn’t need to convince anyone at any point that I wanted to transition medically. I never once had to lie to get my hands on testosterone. And once I did get my hands on it, I was given the freedom to experiment with the dosing, basically use as much or as little as I wanted. Turns out I want to use as little as possible. Turns out I might be able to stay on it for the rest of my life without looking any more masculine than I currently do (this has yet to be proven, but it’s been 6 months now, and so far, so good). And the internal effects, with this super low dose, are significant and pretty much better than I could have even hoped for.
Basically, for all those years of wondering and second-guessing and processing and feeling anxious and obsessing and daydreaming and doubting myself and ultimately sort of concluding by default that I wouldn’t take any steps forward, actually doing something about it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
And in retrospect, it isn’t like there’s no turning back, to some extent. Testosterone is a slow-moving substance in terms of long-term changes… I’m really enjoying the internal forward momentum though.
Now that it’s been close to two years on testosterone, I am at a new normal. I have used the gel every single day, and the benefits have been astronomical. BUT, I forget now; I forget what I used to feel like. I can feel myself approaching a new stage, a stage where I look like someone in between, more so than I already am. This new stage might involve shaving (or plucking chin hairs at a faster pace than I currently do.) It might involve a lot more explaining and coming out. It might involve top surgery and a name change. This is my transition, in process.
Wow! Those first two paragraphs felt like they could have been written by me. Except y’know, not about testosterone in my case, because I already have too much of that! 🙂
I had made basically the same sort of call “I don’t NEED this” and “I’m in my twenties, I’d have done something by now if it was that bad”. I’m glad that I shook that off before I got any older. The only downside is that here in the UK there are a lot of hoops to jump through! But I’ll deal with those when I get there.
Anyway, it was nice reading that, I would enjoy reading some of your other earlier posts!
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Yeah, I’m learning more and more (the more blogs I read from around the world) how different each country’s gatekeeping system is. I hope that will start changing for other countries very soon – it’s a lot of nonsense!
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I am so glad that you posted this! I am also happy that you went back and read it yourself.
Much of the reason that I post is that I feel like there are many out there like myself at many stages of my life, completely in the dark. Not just with trans* issues, but with non-binary trans issues: that the whole thing doesn’t necessarily fit into some mold set by the official medical establishment.
There are all sorts of people out there who are brand new to this experience and others who are watching their children or family members have this encounter with gender. One hundred people sharing one hundred lives reveals that although there are experiences we share, there is not just some monolithic experience of transness.
Enjoy your break from work!
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Exactly! The more stories are out there, the more people who are new to this can find pieces of themselves reflected. No story is going to fit someone else to a T!
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Being on low-dose T for me has been somewhat like going from living in a black-and-white world to full-color. The internal change was dramatic and happened long before I had any physical changes.
Thanks for posting. I really appreciate the “alternate” view of transition, and I’m sure I’m far from the only one!
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I love your visual description of it – it felt something like that for me too!
Thanks for re-posting this. It hit the nail on the head for me really. It’s the concern that you are going to have a fight on your hands to get access to testosterone, and how important can it be if you’re only just realising aged 28/29. Feeling you will need to argue a case for something you’re not entirely sure of yourself.