A friend recently asked me how I will cope with being read as mostly male as a genderqueer person now that I am on HRT.
I have been churning this question over in my head. I don’t know if I will ever get to that point. I have features that are read by society as very feminine. I crave being seen as more masculine, I crave being sir’ed out in public, I want the world to be confused by me. I don’t know if that will ever happen.
I am on a very low dose of testosterone, 50mg (0.5cc of 100mg/ml depo testosterone cypionate) every 2 weeks, which means that the changes I am experiencing will happen relatively slowly. Even if I was on a higher dose of T, I think my features would still be read as female and nothing will change that short of me growing a full beard.
Physically I want ambiguity, though I think at most I can expect to be read as butch rather than male. I have had to make peace with the fact that the world will try to label me based on my appearance and that none of the labels that will be used for me will ever fit, or feel anything less than constrictive. The society we live in is not accommodating towards non binary people and as such we are the ones who are forced to make concessions in order to survive.
I get frustrated that my masculinity is invisible to society because people are hardwired to prioritise certain physical cues as male or female. Frustration leads to anger, anger leads to dysphoria, dysphoria leads to more frustration over the limitations of my physical form and how little control I have over how the world sees me. Every day is a fight to break the cycle of self-loathing caused by toxic gender roles and a binary-centric society.
Something I have realised through my journey is that hoping for external validation from society for your identity as a non binary trans person will harm you. You can not expect people to understand what is so massively outside of their frame of reference, at most you can expect that people will respect your choices. I am not taking testosterone for anyone other than myself. I am not changing my physical appearance for anyone other than myself. If I never get read as anything other than female by a binary obsessed society, that’s okay. If the changes that T bring on are so extreme as to have me being read as male, that will also be okay. If I look male my femininity will be invisible, if I am look female my masculinity will be invisible. Either extreme brings with it a certain amount of invisibility of my identity because of the society we live in. That is an indictment on society and not an invalidation of my identity. No matter how society reads me, my identity as a genderfluid genderqueer person is still valid and complete. The changes happening to my body as a result of me taking testosterone are an attempt to align my physical body with the image of myself in my head. That said, even if I have no further physical changes, I doubt that I would ever stop taking T as the psychological/emotional changes are necessary for me. I am a much calmer, happier person on T.
When I started T my focus was on the physical changes and what I hoped would happen and how that would allow me to move through the world, however in the last 2 months my feelings about physical changes have changed and I feel like the physical effects of T are far more incidental in the landscape of my gender identity. I am experiencing a greater sense of security about who I am, how I understand my gender beyond the binary, and how I
don’t fit within society and my own trans community.