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Two Years on Testosterone

It’s been two years on testosterone now.

Last year, I wrote a blog about what being on testosterone was like after the one year mark. Wow have a lot of things changed since then, and re-reading that blog post is kind of sad and funny at the same time.

There was a slightly hopeful tone in that post, as I gladly exclaimed that trans people have had unprecedented visibility in media, despite the depressing numbers of trans people murdered that year.

Since then, things have gotten worse, not better, for trans people. With the election of Cheetolini (something I had never even considered last year), we have taken steps backwards towards being able to fully participate in public life, specifically due to the repeal of the Title IX guidance that President Obama had issued.

The murder rate is just as bad (perhaps worse) for trans people (specifically trans women of color). In Chechnya, gay and bisexual men are being taken to camps and tortured and murdered. While the reporting has been only about gay men, I wonder how many trans women mistaken for gay men have also been dragged away and murdered. As I write this post, it was reported that a flyer was discovered at a Houston bus stop that encourages trans people to kill themselves.

HB2 is still around, and what’s worse is that North Carolina lied about a repeal and then passed a non-repeal that unfortunately placated the businesses that were boycotting the state. Other bills similar to HB2 have cropped up all over the US.

To top it all off, we’re teetering on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea, and a Constitutional crisis all due to a blowhard “president” who is completely incompetent and utterly unprepared to run a successful business, let alone a nuclear superpower. There are days where I wonder if anything I do even matters anymore, because this time next year we might all be living in rubble, if we’re alive at all.

As for myself, there have been definite improvements (the Hyperbole and a Half cartoon “Maybe everything isn’t hopeless bullshit”… is scarily accurate here right now).

Being off of birth control pills and soy has rapidly changed my body, but not without some hard work. I laughed a little when I re-read last year’s post where I complained a bit about weight gain. Wow was I deluded. I had gained quite a bit of weight, hoping that it was muscle. It was not. About a week after that post, I had top surgery and nearly busted out of all my pants because of the weight I gained recovering afterwards. I felt like I couldn’t celebrate my freedom because I still looked like a woman, just one with no breasts and big scars. It was horrifying, and there were times I felt like a freak (I’m going to take a moment to say that this is my own experience with dysphoria and is not a judgement on women. I am not a woman, so looking like one is traumatic for me).

So I joined a weight-loss study and got serious about changing my diet and my exercise habits. Since then, I’ve lost about 32 pounds, and now actually have muscles that kinda-sorta look like a man’s. There’s still a ways to go to quiet all the dysphoria demons, but I’ve made huge strides.

My voice hasn’t changed much since last year. I still get misgendered on the phone, and had one particularly traumatic phone call about two weeks ago. And because of that, I have recently starting using the Eva M app, which helps train trans masculine people to deepen their voice. I’m still in the early stages (expect some videos about it!), but we’ll see how it goes. I am hopeful.

While I would say that I’m generally happier being on testosterone, it’s hard to definitely say I’m happier all around. Existential dread and anger at the daily embarrassment that is our “presidency” makes it difficult to be “happy.” This winter was depressing only because Cheetolini was president.

This year was good for other reasons, though. I stood up in front of several hundred people and spoke about being trans masculine, overcoming a phobia of speaking in public. I performed at the Transgender Day of Visibility event in Chicago and got to meet Buck Angel (link may be considered NSFW). I’ve gotten to meet a bunch of other trans guys, which has been great. I’ve managed to overcome a tiny bit of my discomfort of going into the men’s room (easy in places I’m familiar with, harder out in general public or when I’m someplace I haven’t been before). I even showered (naked!) in the men’s locker room at my gym, though that was slightly traumatic (a security guard got a little suspicious, and then I had a guy stand right outside my shower stall and talk loudly on the phone for a long, long time, preventing me from feeling okay with leaving the shower stall).

I’ve also been mostly accepted by the dance community, which has been a relief. I had concerns that I was ending my dance career by coming out and transitioning; so far, it’s been the opposite. I’ve been stunned at the support I get every day.

An essay about my transition has been published in an anthology, and a (very dark) short story about coming out has been accepted (forthcoming) to another one. It’s possible another one of my short stories (very queer, about a trans man) may have also gotten accepted (still waiting official word). I’ve figured out that writing my truth, as a trans masculine person, has gotten me so much further than anything else I could have done for my writing and dancing career.

As for my identity, I don’t struggle with it as much as I did a year ago. I’m still not 100% comfortable with being called a man, but masculine pronouns and forms of address don’t bother me (I still prefer “they” but “he” is fine). So I don’t call myself a trans man, though I have occasionally tried out that hashtag on Instagram. I still think genderqueer and trans masculine fit me the best, and I’m more comfortable with those labels.

I’m looking ahead to further surgeries and changes, but I’m taking that one day at a time. I’m still figuring out whether that’s what I really want, and what it would mean if I did not get those surgeries. Here’s to hoping that I can update on my third anniversary, with more hope in my heart.

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