3 months on testosterone

Today marks 3 months on T-injections.  My prescription is for 50ml / week, but I’ll admit I was using more than that for the first 6 weeks.  I’ve been doing 50 regularly for the last 6 weeks though, leading up to my blood test, because I really do want to see where the levels are, at that amount.  I have an appointment on Thursday with the endocrinologist to discuss this.  I’m going to ask to be put on a higher dose.  Which I may or may not bump myself up to.  I… just really like to stockpile testosterone and to have some personal control over it.

Changes have been occurring at a comfortable pace.  I’ve gained maybe 8 pounds, mostly in my abs, shoulders, and pecs.  I get more dark hairs on my chin and upper lip, which just means I gotta use the tweezers more often!  My voice definitely dropped within the last month – I’d say that is the most noticeable thing.  And I have mixed feelings about that, because it is such a permanent thing.  But, so far I’d say I’m getting used to it and will probably ultimately be happy about it.

We went to Easter Sunday at my Aunt’s, and it was the first time I’d seen my relatives since these changes have occurred.  I felt a little self-conscious, because they do know I’m trans and that I changed my name and some of them know about my top surgery.  But I haven’t said I am on testosterone.  And I’m not gonna.  It will just be.

Being out at work has been going super well.  Everyone is consistent with “Kameron.”  The “he/she,” “Mr.” etc is all over the place, which is overall fine by me because my gender is all over the place, and at least everyone knows that I said, “Kameron/he/Mx.”

Other than that, it’s been pretty low key.  It’s certainly not as big a deal in my head as getting on Androgel, 4 years ago, was.  I imagine I’ll be on the injections for a few more months at this point.  And then on and off of them, sporadically, for the rest of my life.  Probably.

I came up with a new term in my head, today, to describe my gender.  I’m definitely not “mannish,” but I do think that I am “male-ish.”

Here’s my face:  Other than not being able to get the lighting right, I think that my cheeks and neck have filled out a bit…

before injections

 

 

3 months on injections

Oh, also, I almost forgot!  I barely got my period this month – it was way late, and it was sooooo light, at that.  That was awesome.  It kinda freaks me out that that’s all it takes, and there are no health consequences(?) for the cessation of menses.  But, I guess it’s relatively normal, like with birth control and stuff…

Also, yesterday at work, we were using swing machines, which is uncommon (extra work over break).  And they require a lot of upper body strength.  I’d normally be sore after that, but today?  Not sore!


Name change: impersonal relationships

About half of the people in my life are aware of the fact that I socially changed my name.  I came out to friends, about half of my exended family, and I’m working on work.  But what about those other isolated areas we run into from time to time?  The pharmacy.  The bank.  The library.  The car mechanic.  The eye doctor.  The chiropractor.  Places that have your legal name on file or places you have to use cards that have your legal name on them.  Personally, in these cases, I’ve done nothing – just gone with the default.  I guess it’s because the hassle of explaining isn’t worth the infrequency of the encounters and the impersonal nature of the relationship anyway.  But more than that, it’s about the frustration I would feel if I did explain and then they reverted to my legal name the next time I was there, anyway.  In my mind. that seems highly likely.  Partially based on times I have asserted a different name and/or gender, and it wasn’t observed.

Yesterday, I went to the dentist.  That’s an example of one of these places.  I’ve gone to the same place since I was a kid, so they use an even older version of a nickname that is long gone almost everywhere else in my life.  It’s almost cringe-worthy.  But I still had decided it wasn’t worth the effort.  However, this time, when I walked in, the receptionist greeted me and immediately said that when she had called (the day before, appointment reminder), she had noticed that I have a different name on my voice mail.  She had some forms in her hand and asked if I’d legally changed it?  I said no not yet, so she kind of said, well, we’ll save these forms, but go ahead and put it in parentheses on this form that you need to update so we know what your preferred name is.  We will be sure to use it here.  She then proceeded to ask me how I spell it, said she liked that spelling, and chatted about how much it costs to legally change your name and was I going to do it soon, etc.?  I took the form and delighted in leaving the GENDER:  CHECK ONE:  M[]  F[] blank.  I wish I could do that all day long:  fill out forms and blatantly leave that blank.  (Well, maybe for one day – all day every day would get super tedious and I would totally want to quit that job if that were a job.)

The dental hygienist opened the door and announced, “Kameron.”  That was me!  At no point had the hygienist and the receptionist talked while I was there, so there must have been a conversation before I got there.  I followed her to a room to get my teeth cleaned, and it was the best teeth cleaning ever.

Unfortunately, it all went south from there:  When I went to pay, and the receptionist said, “Alright lady!  Let’s get you scheduled for your 6 month appointment.”  What is with the “lady?”  Seriously.  I get lady-ed and ladies-ed ALL the time.


2.75 years on T (2 weeks off)

This 3 month period has been the most turbulent in terms of applying Androgel.  I had increased my dose over the summer from 1 to 2 pumps, and then in October I increased to 3 pumps.  From November 19 – Deceember 5, I was off T completely, something I had not done since I started.  And then starting December 5, I went back on at 4 pumps.

The reason for the increases is that I’m looking for some masculinizing changes to happen.  They haven’t yet, even though I have quadrupled my dose.  Maybe I just need to be more patient.  I got a blood test done yesterday and have a doctor’s appointment on Monday – I will be super curious to see what my testosterone levels are at.  I feel like I should be well within the male range.  If I continue to not see changes, I may have to decide to switch to injections, but I hope I don’t have to.  I’m not looking for a drastic change, and I’m surprised this dose, which I believe is within the standard range for someone transitioning, isn’t doing anything.  Maybe it’s just still too early.

The reason I stopped T for about 2 weeks was because I’m told that in order to get top surgery, the surgeon should be telling you to be off T before and also after, to help prevent blood clotting.  The surgeon I’m looking into requires being off T for a total of a month.  I’d never tried being off T before, and I wasn’t about to try it for a first time right as I’m gearing up for a major life event.  So I thought I’d do a practice run.  It didn’t go too well.  Maybe some of it was in my head, but I did not feel all that great.  (Although, I have to say I don’t feel great right now either; of course countless factors contribute to how you feel.)  I definitely felt like my body hurt more, I didn’t feel like eating as much (something I have trouble with anyway), and I felt colder, for sure.  My mood plummeted, but it was still within a range I could tolerate…  I might do another practice run at some point to feel more confident about it; I do not like the idea of being off T in order to have surgery, but I know it’s important.

Here are some past posts in this series.  In earlier posts, I talked a lot more about the effects of testosterone.  I guess it’s starting to get a bit redundant!

2.25 years
1.5 years
1 year
8 months
5 months

And, as always, some pictures of my face:

2.75 years

2.75 years (I need to cut my hair!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 years

2 years

1.75 years on testosterone

1.75 years

1 year

1 year

 

 

 

 

 


Moving forward with the process of getting top surgery

I have two consultations within the next two weeks with surgeons.  I can’t believe I made it this far – I didn’t always know I would get top surgery.  Even now, I’d say I’m about 99% certain, but I’m still hesitant to talk about it or write about it.  I’ve never written about it here other than just quick, vague mentions.

There were some hang-ups I had to work to get past (and I’m still working through) in order to allow myself to feel like I can do this:

It is a want, not a need.  I don’t need this – I’d say it’s been a persistent nagging feeling for years and years and years, but never an intolerable feeling of disgust or revulsion.  If my chest is not a source of gender dysphoria in a way I can’t live with, can I still get top surgery?  Yeah, why not?  It will definitely improve my quality of life.  Throughout adulthood, I have fantasized about wearing t-shirts or tank tops in the summer, without a binder.  I avoid binders when I can, which leads me to another hang-up…

My chest is small.  My chest is so small that it seems like I could just live with it how it is.  Can’t I just live with it?  It’s not cumbersome; I don’t have to do much to hide what I have.  In the winter, it’s not much of a problem.  I can just layer and I don’t have to bind.  In the summer, I think about it all too much.  Sometimes I bind; other times I just attempt to layer and be hot.

Ultimately, my chest doesn’t look how I think it should look, and if I have the means to change that, I don’t see why I shouldn’t.  Urgency (and my lack thereof) plays a role in whether I think I get to do this, but I can get over that.  I think.  I have a lot of shirts I’d like to wear, but don’t.  Because they don’t look right.  I spend a lot of time thinking about how my body could look different.

For a very long time, I thought I would get top surgery one day, but I had no idea how to make a first step.  Which just tells me I probably wasn’t ready yet.  It seemed so daunting as to be impossible.  Finally, this summer, I was corresponding with a trans-guy I know locally, and he said he got surgery in our city.  That blew my mind – I didn’t know there was anyone here.

I started looking at a Facebook group where others had written about their experiences with her, and I could suddenly wrap my head around moving ahead.  I called and booked a consultation for a month away.  As soon as I did that, more doors opened up.  I could suddenly envision traveling, meeting with other surgeons, all the stuff involved in getting top surgery, usually.  I did minimal amounts of research (I already know a bunch of surgeons by name – I’m sure I will do more research.  It’s going to be a long process) and called Dr. Rumer’s office, about 5 hours away.  I’ll be traveling just to meet with her.  That seems huge.  She waived the consultation fee because I have been to the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, one of the many places she presents at.  That’s pretty cool.

These consultations happen to be only 3 days apart – it’s going to be a busy week, coming up.


Do I ever feel like I’m “not trans enough”?

Yep.

In some specific ways, and not at all in other ways.  No one has ever told me that I’m not trans enough, but if they did, that just wouldn’t resonate at all.  No one should be policing others’ lived experiences in any way.  Being trans doesn’t mean you have to fulfill A, B, and C.  If you identify as trans, you get to identify as trans!

The first time I really seriously considered that I was trans was in January of 2002.  I went to an event at my college, and wrote in my journal afterward,

“Tonight I went to a presentation on transgender rights, mainly because I barely know what transgender means let alone the politics of the subject.

This would be the entry where I write about how I liked being called Tough Guy by drunk people, and how I liked it when this drunk guy mumbled that I look like a boy.

I guess … I am trans.

Apparently, transgender is much broader than I thought, and there are many cases of discrimination that I was not aware of. I’d like to learn more about this.”

After that, I never really looked back, re-evaluated my identity, or hesitated to call myself trans.  Even when some friends around me started to shift from identifying as “genderqueer,” to identifying as “FTM” and started transitioning.  Even when I was the only one in this support group who was not actively transitioning or planning to ASAP.  Even when I attended a social group called “Guys’ Night Out” despite not being sure I was “one of the guys.”  They were all trans, and I also was (am) trans.

I’ve gone to a handful of local trans-related events, some political, some social, and some creative.  I haven’t walked away feeling an affinity with the people in the space, but that really has nothing to do with gender identity.  My inability to connect with other trans people in real life is not because I’m not trans enough.  It’s because I’m not social enough.  I wish I could connect more, but I’m not pushing myself right now.

I am very secure in my transhood.

However, when you throw societal views into the mix, it gets tricky (sticky, icky).  The biggest example of this for me is work.  If I were trans enough, I would be out at work, and I would transition.  It would be difficult, but it’d be relatively straightforward.  Since I’m in this in-between land (which I strongly feel is where I fit), I’m in this limbo at work (and out in public as well).  I have come out to the principal of my school (workplace), but have made no further efforts.  Because I do not feel trans enough to ask for changes.

I just feel like typing that again – I do not feel trans enough to ask for changes, at work or in public.  No one at work uses my preferred name or pronouns.  I haven’t asked them to.  My friends and community are behind me 100% – everyone has been amazing with my recent social name change.  Family is trickier, but they all do know.  What do I do about work though?  Maybe I wait till I have legally changed my name.  Maybe I talk further with the principal to figure out a plan.  I do feel she would support me.  As of now, I’m doing nothing, indefinitely…

Every day at work, I talk in a relatively high pitch (for me).  Then I get in my car and talk to myself or sing in my (newer) lower register.  Why don’t I talk that way at work?  I can’t really answer that.

Not everyone is as supportive or knowledgeable as my friends and community.  I went to a meeting recently, and we all went around and introduced ourselves.  I included my preferred pronouns in my introduction.  The person across from me scoffed.  I felt not trans enough.  Not trans enough for mainstream society, at this time.

I wonder will this change in my lifetime?  And if not really, can I at least contribute in some really small ways to small changes around me?  Can I at least get everyone in all the bubbles I occupy (this means work and out and about in public) on board?  I think that I can, but it’s going to take me a lot longer than I’d like.

 

 

 


“It’s all about ME, Not You,” and MOTHA

My partner and I met up with friends in Pittsburgh last week.  We did a bunch of fun stuff – Andy Warhol Museum (on his birthday!), ate at a church converted into a brewery, saw an outdoor concert at an art gallery…

But I was most impressed by a contemporary art museum called The Mattress Factory.  It was housed in 3 buildings on the same block.  There were some permanent art installations that took up whole rooms and kinda blew me away.  One in particular was called, “It’s all about ME, Not You,” by Greer Lankton.  I’d never heard of her before, so I did a little bit of research (both at the gift shop and later, online).

it's about ME not you

partial shot of “It’s all about ME, Not You”

The room was a fantasy version of her actual bedroom in Chicago.  It had an astroturf carpet and was filled with hand-made dolls and shrines.  Shrines for Jesus, Patti Smith, Candy Darling…  There were Raggedy Ann dolls and Troll dolls.  It’s hard to see, but the bedspread and floor next to the bed is overflowing with prescription bottles (all hers).

Greer Lankton was born in 1958.  She transitioned in 1979, which was so long ago that it’s still simply stated that she had “sexual reassignment surgery,” or “a sex change,” as if that’s all that transition entails, as if that’s an appropriate way to sum it up.  I wonder what it would have been like to transition in that era.  She went to Pratt Institute and lived in NYC for years before moving to Chicago.  She made a name for herself in the art world by making realistic dolls of friends and celebrities.

Wikipedia says she transitioned while she was a student at Pratt, and it states, “She had previously been the subject of a local newspaper article about people transitioning to a new gender.”  I tried to search for this newspaper article online with no luck.  I am so curious about what it would have said!

a photo by friend Nan Goldin, at the shop Greer's husband owned

a photo by friend Nan Goldin, at the shop Greer’s husband owned

She struggled with drug addiction and an eating disorder and passed away in 1996, shortly after finishing this installation at The Mattress Factory.  It became a permanent room in 2009.

At the gift shop, we saw a poster that featured Greer Lankton and many other famous transgender people.  My partner ended up buying one and so did our friends.  The posters were made as a way to raise funds for MOTHA (Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art.)  This is a museum that is not physically in existence yet, but it will be once enough money is raised.  It’ll be in San Francisco (of course!)  Even though it’s not yet built, the MOTHA is already doing all kinds of stuff – just check out their website.

MOTHA poster of notable trans-people

MOTHA poster of notable trans-people

If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, make sure to check out The Mattress Factory, and especially this one particular room on the third floor of the main building!  And if you’re ever in San Francisco at an unspecified date in the future, be sure to go to MOTHA!


What to ask, and what NOT to ask, a trans-person

A reader asked,

What are the do’s and don’t’s when asking a trans*person about their experience?
What are 2-3 questions (or as many as you like) that one should NOT be asking a transgender person?
What are 2-3 questions (or as many as you like) that one SHOULD be asking a transgender person?

This reader happens to be the marketing coordinator of Simmons College, the third US women’s college to accept students who identify as transgender.  She was wondering if I’d like to add to the conversation in the form of a blog post.  Sure!  So, officially:

I am participating in Trans*forming the Dialogue, Simmons College’s online MSW program‘s campaign to promote an educational conversation about the transgender community.  By participating in this campaign, I will be offering my perspective on what TO ask and what to NOT ask trans*people.

Transforming the Dialogue Logo

The first thing to think about:  it totally depends on how well you know the person!  So, let’s break it down:

If this is someone who is a stranger, and they just introduced themselves to you, saying their name back to them is a great way to start out affirming who they are.  Also asking, “What are your preferred pronouns,” is important so that you can address them to other people in the way they want/need.  This is a little tricky because we’re specifically talking about visibly trans-people here.  You could be meeting many trans-people throughout your life and not even know it!

Then, personally, I would steer the conversation away from trans-related topics, unless they bring it up.  Oftentimes, trans-people don’t want to talk about more personal aspects upon meeting someone new.  So any other great questions fall into the general getting-to-know-you category.  “What brings you here?”  Or, “How do you know so-and-so?”  Or, “How’s your day been so far?”

If you are talking to an acquaintance and want to get to know them better, instead of asking direct questions about their experience, you could share some of your own – what was your childhood like, what was puberty like?  Chances are your new acquaintance has a lot to say about growing up and will feel more comfortable sharing if you share first.  Do NOT ask, “do you feel like you are trapped in the wrong body?”  This is a trope perpetuated by the media that not all trans-people relate to.  It’s kind of a sensationalized way of putting it.  It is a sound bite.  Asking about their experience is a great way to get a better understanding about how broad and different “trans-narratives” really are.

If you are a friend / ally of a trans-person, there is a lot you can do and ask!  You can specifically ask, “What can I do to support you?”  It might mean correcting pronouns in the moment in social situations for your trans-friend.  (I know I have a hard time with this, and if someone does it for me, it feels affirming.)  It might mean exploring gender expressions together – maybe going out and trying on different clothes or trying out makeup together.  If you are a trusted friend, more personal questions to help you understand would probably be appropriate.  “What does gender dysphoria feel like?”  “How would you define your gender?”  “Where are you in your coming-out process?”  These questions can spark great conversations that let your trans-friend know you are engaged and interested and want to help if possible.

If you are in an intimate relationship with a trans-person, asking a lot of questions is essential!  Transition related decisions will affect both of you, emotionally, financially, and energy-wise.  It’s important not to press for a timeline or throw in your two cents about what your partner should be doing.  You will need to adjust to the natural pace (it is a long process) and understand that there is going to be a lot of uncertainty.  “What can I do to support you?” works well, but your partner might not really know in the moment.  There will probably be times when gender dysphoria and frustrations are acute – during those times, just being physically present and not asking any questions might be best.  In the bedroom, asking what is OK is a must.  The way trans-people feel about their bodies and about sex can be wildly in flux and change from day to day.  Asking, “Is this OK?” or “what if I did this?” or “What feels good right now?” is going to be better than phrasing things in the negative, such as, “What is off limits right now?” or “Where can I touch you?”  These kinds of questions might lead to shut-down mode.

Questions that are never appropriate are, “Have you had any surgeries yet?”  “What are you going to do about your beard?”  “Do you think you will be able to pass?”  Or anything else related to their bodies and their appearance.  This is personal and could be triggering.  Not all trans-people have the same goals or timeline.  Also, some people are non-binary, and their transition goals might look very different.

If you don’t know the trans-person very well yet, and you are not sure what is OK and what is not OK to ask, just use this rule of thumb:  Is this something you would ask a cisgender person?  Other than the preferred pronouns question (important question you might not ask a cisgender person) this will get you far in a social situation.


Do you want to be on TV?

A couple of days ago, I got an email from someone named Rachel, a casting associate with Magilla Entertainment, a New York-based television production company that specializes in non scripted programming.  Which I’m guessing is synonymous with reality TV shows?

Here’s a link to their website and current programs:  Magilla TV

They are developing a new show that will follow different people changing their lives in various ways, and one episode will focus on multiple trans-people and varying stages in their transition.  They will be pairing people up with a mentor or coach to help them through aspects such as coming out, starting to wear clothes they identify with, and contemplating surgery.

Rachel asked me if I’d consider becoming a coach for the show, and although I’m flattered, there’d be NO WAY I would do this!  For one thing, I’m an introvert and although I can envision contributing to an anthology or being a part of a magazine story, this is way way way too BIG.  Also, the premise is intriguing, but I fear the tone could become exploitative (as is the nature of reality shows, usually).

If you’re not scared off by these types of things though, this might be the right fit for you.  Here is the casting call and contact information:

ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH YOUR GENDER IDENTITY?

Are you struggling with who you are? Do you feel like you were born into the wrong body? Are you living life as the opposite gender you were given at birth? Magilla Entertainment and a major cable network are now casting men and women who identify as the opposite gender and who are considering going through a transition for a new docu-series. If you have been struggling with your gender identity and want the support of a coach or mentor as you transition, we want to hear your story. If you think you are ready to embark on this journey, please contact us ASAP at castingdirector@magilla.tv with your name, age, location, occupation, contact phone number, a recent photo and a few sentences about yourself.

I’m glad for the increase in media representations lately and really hope they aim to showcase a diverse group of trans-people.  Demonstrate that not all narratives are the same.  (For example, point out that not every trans-person identifies with having been “born into the wrong body.”  Another example: a non-binary person!)  And, most importantly, to convey these struggles with the deserved respect!


I came out to the principal of my school (workplace)

This blog is largely about working as a janitor and about living as a non-binary person.  I’ve struggled with the chronicling-of-my-job side of it, and with melding the two aspects of my identity.  Largely this is because I am not out at work.  It’s hard to write about work if I feel a block.  Also I’m not always sure what to share about work…  I feel tentative about it.

I am out in other areas of my life – friends all use male pronouns; relatives at least know I prefer male pronouns.  In new situations, I plan to let people know about male pronouns whenever I feel like I comfortably can.  But work has been a challenge, in my mind.

A big part of that is, what would I be asking for, exactly?  Male pronouns, and a name change down the road.  What about bathrooms?  What about my appearance?  I won’t be looking any different, as opposed to other trans-people who transition from one gender to the other.  Is this too much to ask for?  And what about kids and parents?  Where do they fit in?  I see teachers getting on board (Maybe?  One day?), but how much can I hope for it to trickle down to students and their parents?  Does it matter to me that much?

Right now, this is hurting my head.  BUT, a couple of weeks ago, I took a first step!  I had been wanting to fill the principal in about my recent hospitalization and absence.  At the time it happened, I was vague and just left it at I was hospitalized.  I did want to let her know the nature of the occurrence and just touch base about where I’m at.  I figured it would be a good time to also give her a heads up about my trans-identity.  I didn’t plan to ask for any accommodations or change-overs at this time – just wanted to let her know.

So I waited for a good time after school when she was still in the building.  I’d been psyching myself up for a few days, so the day I decided I could do it, it was definitely going to happen.  It wasn’t perfect – I knew she was getting ready for a kindergarten registration event that evening, but it kinda had to be NOW!  I kept it short, knowing she had other things.

I just popped in her office, said I’d like to touch base about where I’m at – she asked me how I was doing and I said, “Much better.”  Which was kinda true in the moment, but not true later on.  I’ve been on a roller coaster with new med adjustments and things, but I didn’t get into all of that.  I just told her that the reason I went out was that due to personal stress and work stress, I could sense my thoughts getting extremely confused and disorganized.  I sought out help from my therapist, and she’s the one who brought me to the hospital.  I’m on new meds, for now at least (the principal asked about side effects) and seeing my therapist more often for the time being.  The principal was open and supportive.

She started to wrap things up by talking about cleaning for tonight (with the event), so I knew I had to jump in with my other purpose before the moment passed.  I said, “I do have another thing to bring up, about where I’m at.  I wanted to let you know that I identify as transgender.”  I went on to specify that most people who ID this way transition from one gender to the other, and I don’t feel that – I feel like I am in the middle.  That I’ve been in this process for years, and work is the last place.  That I’m on testosterone but such a low dose that my appearance won’t be changing.  That I prefer male pronouns and plan to change my name at some point.  She listened intently and asked what I needed.  I said nothing right now, just time to maybe talk to other people within the school and come out on my own terms.  Maybe at some point an email but nothing right now.  Just eventually a name and pronoun change.  I asked her if she had any context for knowing about trans-people, and she said yes.  And that was about it.  I wrapped it up really quickly and told her thank you.  She said thank you to me too.

I don’t know what this means other than one tiny step.  Right now everything has felt so hard, this feels like nothing.  I think in time, it may feel like I opened doors up to take further steps, but as of now, it just feels like something I got out of the way.

Here’s to happier days ahead.  I should be happy about this, and hopefully it will sink in later…


From whimsical musings to invasive ruminations on transitioning, Pt. 2

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!
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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.
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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.