Testosterone: The next chapter of my journey

One of my wonderful genderqueer friends is starting out on their HRT adventure. Please go read their posts since they are far more eloquent than I am and explain the non binary reality so very well.

life writ large

So I’m going to take testosterone in the next step of my journey. My soul knows that this is the right thing – it feels like a puzzle piece finally fitting into place, so I am not writing this post to justify this to anyone, ask permission or to demandyour acceptance or support. I am writing this so that it’s out there and I can begin to live my truth. I’m frankly exhausted at having to come out to everyone over the last three weeks and just want to get on with actually just living my truth instead of having to explain it… I am also writing this for those of you who are vested in my journey as close friends who have questions, for those of you who are interested, but mostly for those of you who are on similar journeys. Because there is so very desperately little out…

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2 months on T – a rambling update

My 2 months on HRT milestone has come and gone without much fanfare. Reflecting back on the last couple months there have been some big changes and some subtle changes, all of the changes have been comfortable and affirming so far.

The physical changes have been quite noticeable:

Facial hair – both peach fuzz and longer, darker hairs on my chin. I love the facial hair. I love playing with my chin whiskers. I find myself playing with and tugging on my hairs constantly. Today I had a weird moment of frustration with my facial hair, I feel caught in between having facial hair that warrants starting to shave and not really wanting to get rid of my fluffy cheeks. I plucked a couple of the longer, darker hairs out and now feel like I can get away with postponing shaving for a bit. It is a weird place to be where I feel internalised social pressure to be “cleanly groomed” while not being sure what that means for me as a gender bending person. I stopped shaving my body hair years ago and found myself contemplating shaving myself top to toe in the shower a couple days back. I am not sure what this means for me or where it suddenly comes from. I think it has to do with a newly awakened awkwardness with how I fit in the world and with the fact that the constructed space of femininity is the easiest place to default to. With having so many discussions about coping the world see me as more masculine, I am acutely aware of how my presentation affects how I am read. I am at war with wanting to follow the path of least resistance and just fit in versus my natural inclination to stand out and be very eccentric in my presentation. I have even considered dyeing my hair black and cutting it shorter again. I want to know if I can comfortably inhabit a more masculine space without the quirky self defence mechanisms that I have developed. My blue (currently green) hair has been a way of othering myself and giving people a focus for their reaction to the undefinable weirdness of my non binary gender. As long as people can read me as weird because of my hair colour then they aren’t all too perturbed by my non conformity in other areas. How will people react if I remove that element?

Muscle bulking and strength – I am much stronger than I was. I have noticed that I am developing shoulder and arm definition without doing much exercise, well no more than the usual running around and carrying 20kg toddlers that comprises my daily life. This makes me want to go to gym and work out to see how much of an effect exercise and T will have together in reshaping my body.

Fat redistribution – I have dropped a pants size and developed a paunch. Well gee, I was expecting it but another reason to get to the gym for sure.

I think my feet are getting bigger… is that a thing?

Deeper voice – it seems to have slowed in progress. I’m a bit frustrated by that. I want my voice to break already. Yes I know I have only been on T for 2 months, I’m impatient alright? I am actually contemplating increasing my dose to 50mg weekly to see if I can’t hurry the process along a little and then will drop back down to the lower dose once my voice has settled. It doesn’t help that the trans guys who started T at the same time as I did (on a much higher dose obviously) are sporting their gorgeous deep voices already. I catch myself being acutely aware of my voice and how high pitched it can still be. The biggest culprit for my voice dysphoria is my laugh, it leaves me feeling very self conscious. Can I have my deep voice already please?

Perspiration and body odour – Yup, it’d definitely more noticeable and I think summer is going to be interesting. Wearing a binder on a hot day is less than ideal and by mid afternoon I am hatching a million escape plans in my head because I feel so hot and sweaty. With sweaty comes an acute awareness of just how noticeable my body odour is

Emotionally:

Less emotional –  I cry less, I blush less, emotions generally have less of an effect on me. It isn’t that I feel less emotions, I just don’t feel compelled to react to every little thing. It has been a bit tricky to navigate as I find myself being dismissive of my spouse’s feelings when we argue or disagree. The reoccurring thought in my head is “why are we even arguing about this? It isn’t even that big of a deal!” Yeah yeah, I can hear the collective cyber community cringe and think “dude I hope you didn’t say that out loud,” don’t worry I do have some sense of self preservation. I am finding that is engage with my emotions and the emotions of other people in a more cerebral fashion. As a person who has dealt with mental illness most of my life, this new way of processing feelings is actually a welcome relief. I’ve been trying to learn the technique of ‘feel, stop, react’ for decades and now on T it is much easier to get right.

Anger – So many guys talk about getting more angry on T, I can’t say that I feel more anger in general however I think I am more likely to express my anger than I was previously. (I would like to preface the following with the disclaimer that this is based entirely on my own experience and that I certainly don’t assume that the same is true for all people nor is it anything more than my own musings as I relate expected effects of T to my own experience.) I have a theory about anger and transition. People who are socialised as female in childhood are taught that anger is a negative or undesirable emotion, as a result we become adept at suppressing reactions to anger or find passive aggressive means to express it. People who are socialised as male in childhood have far more outlets for anger whether it be through sports or actually expressing the emotion. When people transition later in life they are finally given permission by society to express anger instead of suppressing it, I think this is especially true of binary trans men who suddenly find themselves given free rein to redefine how they express their emotions and interact with the world. I wonder if the anger they feel is T or just the fact that inhabiting a masculine space give people permission to finally act on their emotions in a different way. With this comes the difficulty of dealing with emotions that you have never been really taught to deal with in a constructive manner. I think the correlation between increased awareness of anger as an emotion when guys begin presenting male and start taking T isn’t entirely due to T as a causation of increased aggression.

Depression – So here is some real talk. I have struggled with depression pretty much constantly throughout my life. T has helped lot. There have been the bonus effects of having more energy, drive and motivation, as well as the less global emotions that I described earlier. Together it means that I am far better equipped to deal with my depression in general. Furthermore, the fact that I am actively dealing with my gender dysphoria and that I feel more in control of how I exist in the world means that there are less factors contributing to my depressive state. Last week everything fell apart. We had 3 really hard weeks, crisis after crisis broke on the shores of our little family, illness, work stress, more illness, instability and generally excrement hitting the fan from every quarter. And then, I missed my shot. I ran out of needles and just didn’t get to the store to go buy more. My shot was delayed by almost a week. One morning I found myself in bed, tearful at the idea of even getting up, of course having kids meant I had to get up and take them to school but afterwards I just went home and climbed back into bed and spent the entire day there. Depression is still a very real factor in my life. My mental health is a very careful juggling act. If I miss just a couple balls (get enough sleep, eat properly, get down time, have my T shot) things fall apart. T has be a big contributor in me feeling as good as what I have been, though I am not fooled into thinking it is a magic silver bullet for all my problems. Not by a long shot. It is easy to be blasé about self care when you’re feeling good but I was taught a hard lesson in not taking my mental health for granted.

So far being on T has been an immensely affirming and positive experience. I am loving how I feel, and how I see a truer reflection of myself in the mirror and in photos. The alignment within myself is a welcome relief after a lifetime of chafing on all the jagged edges that society said didn’t fit. Two months in is barely a start in this exciting journey and I can’t wait to see where I end up.

Genderqueer on HRT

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.

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My facial hair is coming along nicely and is definitely more prominent, though it still requires fancy lighting to photograph.

What is ‘transgender’?

life writ large

I’ve been asked by a friend to ‘explain’ transgender for when she has to stand up against transphobic assholes online. It’s testament to how complex, and diverse, trans* experience and identity is that I as a trans* and gender activist, and a trans* person myself, took two days to formulate a response, which will always be a draft and never a final version. But it may help clarify some things that I know my non-trans* friends struggle with.
I’ve taken a while to respond because this is not an easy question. I’ve also taken a while because the responses so far perpetuate misperceptions that hurt the trans* community.
Trans people don’t change their gender, they make changes to affirm the gender they are and always have been.
There is no such thing as a verifiable biological sex: when last did you have your sex scientifically verified? And if we all…

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I deadname myself all the time

Transitioning over to using my chosen name in daily life is so difficult. I still deadname myself when I answer the phone and it is a number I don’t recognise. I am feeling immensely annoyed with myself.

Does anyone have any tricks for making it easier?

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Dysphoria and body positivity

A flip of a coin on waking…

“Hello world, this is me in my non binary body, rocking my breasts and wide hips”

or

“Please don’t look at me, please stop calling me she/Ma’am/missus/mommy. Can’t you see that I am more than your preconceived idea of what my curves and shapes mean? Gaaaaah! Piss off!”

Since I started T the crushing weight of dysphoria has been much less. I have been able to relax a little and shrug off the strain of society’s expectations and assumptions of me. It is as if I’m holding a secret that gives me resilience, my inner voice can exclaim “HAH! You think I am female but inside things are changing and one day you’ll look at me and have no idea what I am, just you wait!”

In the last 2 weeks I haven’t felt compelled to wear my binder. This is usually when I know that gender stuff is getting overwhelming. My binder is my armour that I strap on to protect me against the world. Even more, I walked around topless all weekend and actually felt quite comfortable in the privacy of my own home. It is a complicated balancing act within myself while trying to foster a positive attitude about my body. Dysphoria for me is a cognitive dissonance between what I see when I look in a mirror and what I know I look like inside my head, it leaves me with a feeling of duality, wanting to feel accepting of my body but also having a niggling discomfort debilitating schism of self when I am confronted with those parts that don’t actually look how they should in my mind.

I often wonder how much of my dysphoria is a result of the limited the representation of transgender, gender fluid and non binary people in the world. So much of non binary representation in the mass media revolves around conventionally euro-centrically beautiful, skinny, androgynous people like Ruby Rose. Don’t get me wrong, I cried the first time I watched the Break Free video because the affirmation of my identity in it was intense, being able to see something similar to myself, in a video clip out there in the world, shook me.

I am no Ruby Rose, and beyond the fact that we both identify as gender fluid, the gender bending representation of the video is superficial at best. Representation matters, and frankly I am impatient with the limited representation of gender non conforming people. That said, every single person who puts themself out there is a step in the right direction and one that builds the visibility of a massively underrepresented community.

When faced with an onslaught of skinny androgyny, it is very difficult to find an internal acceptance of who you are when you don’t fit that stereotype. Yes I am somewhat androgynous, but not enough to pass as anything other than female. I am not skinny. The effects of pregnancy on my body has me looking like battlefield of scars and stretch marks, sagging and distorted in a way that will never compare to 20 something models. And you know what? That’s okay.

Part of me dealing with my dysphoria is practicing mindful acceptance of my body. There are some parts of my body that will always be dysphoria inducing however I will not hate on my body nor punish it for not being a societally prescribed ideal. Dammit, part of being non binary for me is exactly that rejection of gendered ideals in the first place and rejecting the idea that my body dictates how I should behave and exist. I am not going to reject one set of manipulative ideals for just to be forced into taking up another.

Sam Dylan Finch wrote a great article about trans body positivity – I’m Transgender And I Need Body Positivity, Too which sums up a lot of my own feelings.

“My body positivity does not hinge on the idea that all bodies are perfect as they are, because for some of us, this isn’t true to our experience. But all bodies are worthy — meaning we should treat them with love and care, whatever that care looks like so long as it’s good for us.”

Part of my journey in body positivity is detangling the negative messages that have been forced on me by a consumerism driven, media machine that thrives on promoting low self esteem and insecurity, from those parts of me that I struggle with because of the fact that I loathe with being seen as a gendered being.

The StyleLikeU video A Boy, A Girl, A Gender Revolutionary with iO Tillett Wright has me wondering if the influence of societal shaming isn’t greater than I realise.

My entire life was a series of messages telling me that I wasn’t enough: not feminine enough, not masculine enough, not trans enough, not skinny enough, not disabled enough, not talented enough, not worthy.

My self care, my body positivity is a rejection of that. I am standing up and saying; Fuck the impossible ideals that are designed to disempower me and make me doubt the value of my unique existence. I have the responsibility to myself to live and celebrate myself as a person that is worthy of love and respect.

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
Audre Lorde

Gender neutral parent titles

I am a non binary trans person, I am also a parent. Discovering my non binary identity after the birth of my kids has left me with a bit of a conundrum. My kids call me mommy and it is starting to cause me some discomfort.

When we were looking at starting a family we had a lot of discussion about what our kids would call us. My spouse has always been masculine of centre and the question of an alternative to Mom/Dad was always more of an issue for them. We searched through various options for gender neutral parent titles but somehow the options never really worked.

Here are a couple options (found at Gender Queeries)

Family Titles – Mum/Dad

  • Parent; neutral, formal.
  • Per; neutral, short for parent.
  • Par; neutral, short for parent.
  • Dommy; queer, mixture of mommy and daddy (note: sounds like Dom/me, a BDSM term)
  • Maddy; queer, mixture of mummy/mommy and daddy.
  • Muddy; queer, mixture of mummy and daddy.
  • Moddy; queer, mixture of mommy and daddy.
  • Zaza; queer, based on mama and papa/dada.
  • Zither; queer, based on mother and father. (Note, zither is also the name of a musical instrument.)
  • Baba; neutral, based on mama and dada. (Note, baba means dad in some languages and grandmother in others.)
  • Nini; queer, based on the N in NB, similar to mama and papa/dada.
  • Bibi; queer, based on the B in NB, similar to mama and papa/dada.
  • Cennend; neutral, Old English (Anglo-Saxon) meaning parent.
  • Cenn; neutral, short for cennend.

Now my biggest issue with the current set of gender neutral titles is that society doesn’t understand and recognise alternative family structures. At the time we were having this discussion, neither of us had the language for describing ourselves in terms of genderqueer or non binary, which resulted in us framing our family in the most socially obvious framework. Lesbian parents. We chose to use mommy (me) and mama (spouse) as these words have a societally weighted meaning. The relationship of mommy or mama to child is obvious and doesn’t require explanation. Using those terms becomes shorthand for “we are a family, these are our kids” without having to educate people on our family structure.

In hindsight I am disappointed that I bought into the heteronormative structuring of family. I feel awkward that I put so much weighting on the opinion of society to give validity to our little family unit. Why do we have to be a mommy and a mama to ensure credibility in our roles as parents?

On my kids birth certificates I am listed as mother. For some reason my spouse is listed as parent on only one of our kids birth certificates. Four years down the line we still need to fight with Home Affairs to get this corrected (especially since the new regulations for travelling with kids requires you to have copy of their unabridged birth certificate). Binary society demands that I fulfil the role of mother as I carried my kids in my body. This idea of pregnancy = mother erases so many people, adoptive parents, parents via surrogacy, trans people. Now I find myself at a place where mommy has become my name to my kids and while I don’t feel uncomfortable with them calling me that, I do feel uncomfortable when anyone else uses the word. I introduce myself as the kids parent. So where does this leave me? Do I carry on using mommy? Should I get my kids to just call me by my first name? If so which first name? I have already had a conversation with the kids about the fact that mommy has a couple different names. Part of me says that if I want to change to a different parent title I should do it sooner rather than later and take advantage of my kids natural adaptability to change.

I have a lot of frustration in feeling like I am expected to have all the answers and that there is very little room for me to change my mind about things because my actions influence my kids. Surely by teaching my kids that identity is fluid is actually a good thing and that they will be less confused in the long run? Is this a way to buck against toxic cisnormativity and grow a new generation of understanding and compassionate people?

Parenting sure does bring up every complicate thought on normative societal standards, internalised transphobia, internalised homophobia, and internalised misogyny.

I don’t have all the answers but I do have questions that I never thought to ask before.

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I’m not brave… I’m just trying to exist

There is a compliment of sorts that I’ve been given a couple time since I started my non binary transition. “You’re so brave.” While I understand the sentiment behind the expression I still keep thinking that it isn’t true. I am not being brave, I’m just trying to be me.

I guess there is an inherent bravery that is required to “come out” in a society that is rather homophobic and transphobic but bravery certainly isn’t a quality that is the foundation of transition. What if I told you that I didn’t have any other option than to begin my transition and that not transitioning was slowly killing me?

I have been living with depression my entire life. It is a burden that has dogged me pretty much constantly since I was a small child. A large part of my depression has been due to gender issues. Puberty was a traumatic experience that left me depressed for years. I was a suicidal teen. I was a suicidal young adult. I hated inhabiting a gendered body. I hated trying to live up to society’s gender roles. I sucked at being a girl… I was even worse at being a woman. There were years where just surviving was enough of a struggle that I was so focussed on day to day feeding myself and getting to work that my gender dysphoria took a back seat to survival. Eventually I met my spouse and life got easier but with life getting easier, I wasn’t getting happier. Again the doldrums of depression became my resting normal. Initially I wrote it down to burn out and a very challenging degree but there was more to it that I didn’t have words for. A discontent that seeped through every pore of my being. I’ve mentioned before how pregnancy and postnatal depression left me broken, isolated and invisible. At the time I thought it was a case of me struggling with the loss of my queer identity in that the world was reading me as a cishet woman everytime I was out in public, what I didn’t realise was the cis and woman parts were far greater issues than being perceived as heterosexual. Just before my kids were born I shaved my head and started presenting far more butch than I had ever done previously but it was still not enough and I was already in crisis.

Through online community I found validation as a person with ambiguous gender. I found language to describe my existence. There were other people like me out in the world. That validation pulled me back from the brink of suicide in a way that no amount of therapy or psychiatric medication had ever been able to do. At the same time though, it was hard feeling like the only place I could be myself was in cyberspace with the people inside my phone. There is a weird type of dissociation that happens when your life is split in two, one place where you can explore your identity and get the personal validation that you’ve never experienced before and then the day to day world where you are still playing a character that is only a fraction of who you are. It is very easy to get lost in the fantasy of cyberspace and start living there more than in your own body. For about a year I spent more time in my cyber existence than in with my family and that half life did a massive amount of damage to all my relationships. Integrating the parts of me into one cohesive whole became necessary. Acknowledging my non binary identity in my “real” life was the only way I could continue to live.

Coming out is not a singular event. I have been coming out to myself, my friends and family for the better part of two years. Going public on social media and starting a blog is only the very tip of the iceberg. After much soul searching and processing I am finally at a place where I can accept myself for who I am and pursue the things I need to be myself in all my multi gendered glory. There is no bravery in survival. It is either survive or die. I am not brave for being non binary trans.

Where I will concede I have shown some bravery is in being public about my transition and adding my face and name to my story. Even then the bravery is only minimal as I have gone public with a very supportive family and community backing me up and ready to support me through any backlash.

The reason I chose to be public about my non binary transition is because I had no access to information when I was dealing with being non binary in the beginning. There aren’t enough stories of mine out there for other non binary people to read. Even within the trans community, non binary people are by far in the minority. We need voices and we need representation. It is awkward putting yourself out there at a time that is, by nature, scary and intensely vulnerable but we need our stories told.

So instead of calling me brave rather compliment me on my willingness to share my journey. I am here for you, I am here for non binary visibility, I am trying to survive.

Check out Assigned Male by Sophie Labelle.

Transphobia – shit gets real

I often tell people that being trans and visibly queer is no cake walk. It has been about 2 years since I started dressing more androgynous and masculine (deliberately) and about a year since I came out as non binary on platforms such as Twitter. In this time I have experienced far more bigotry that I ever did as a very out and loud femme presenting lesbian. I can count the number of overt homophobic experiences I’ve experienced on one hand. Mostly these experiences have been easy to laugh off and haven’t been overly aggressive. Truly the worst of which was a couple of drunk guys screaming “Dykes! Lesbians!” at myself and my girlfriend at the time, as we kissed each other good night outside a local hangout.

Since coming out at non binary trans the story has been very much different. I have been harassed and trolled online. People have been threatening on Twitter. I have had trans people tell me that I am not trans enough and that I am a “transtrender” because my non binary gender is just an attempt to co-opt the trans narrative. People have told me that me that my gender identity is just internalised misogyny that makes me reject being female.

Non binary erasure is real. Transphobia is real. The scariest part is that while homophobia exists it is relatively passive-aggressive, while transphobia is far more aggressive and leaves me feeling fearful at times. I am grateful that I live in South Africa where I can’t actually be doxxed by online trolls to the same extent that I would be in the US.

I spoke about my hesitation to give up my passing privilege for days where I am emotionally fragile and that is still a real concern. My spouse experienced it first hand the other day. We were at the mall with our kids and I had the one with me and they had the other with them, though they were walking a couple metres behind me. By the time they got to the store they were visibly upset. Later that night they admitted to me that the comment they heard as people walked past me had been brutal; “What is that?” “Did you see it?” “Oh my god! *laughter*” “Sies!* They asked me if this is a normal thing I experience and I could only say yes. I wish I was able to reassure them that this is some how the exception but it isn’t. Being openly non binary and queer means that I am far more of a target, more than I ever expected.

What do I do? How does one react against such negativity?

I square my shoulders, lift my chin, look people in the eye and challenge them to tell me that I don’t exist, that I don’t deserve to exist. I demand space. I take up space unapologetically. Sometimes though, when the spoons are low, I just don’t leave the house.

*sies – Afrikaans expression of disgust

Week 3 on T

What the WHAT! People I have peach-fuzz facial hair and I love it. I can see where the existing hairs are darkening at the roots and becoming more visible. Testosterone is a beast.

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Trying to capture the hairs with my phone is a bit difficult but they are pretty damn evident in person.

Other changes worth noting:

I remember laughing at trans guys starting on T and how in the first 6 months they go through teen boy puberty with the inappropriate sex talk and rampant libido. It is hilarious seeing it in myself. Yes I am a horny teenager and annoying everyone in my trans support group with my inappropriateness. #sorrynotsorry! I am loving the boost in libido. It is interesting adjusting to this weird sensation of sex being a physical need rather than an emotional one.

My voice is noticeably lower. I love it! It creaks every now and then leaving my stumbling over my words and having to clear my throat and try again. Voice dysphoria is a big issue for me. Hearing myself in recordings makes me feel so self conscious. A friend pointed out that since I had my ear op (I have hearing loss which was correcting in one ear with a prosthesis) that I’ve been speaking lower. I can attribute it to the fact that I can hear the base of my own voice and am intentionally speaking lower and no longer speaking higher to coincide with the range I could hear at. Now added to that I can actually hear my voice deepen and it thrills me. I sent a voice clip to an American friend for them to hear my home language and hearing my own voice pleased me so much. YES PLEASE, more of this!

Sleep is still scarce. I get between 4.5 – 6 hours a night. I wake in the mornings far earlier than I normally would and struggle to get back to sleep, or struggle to get to sleep at night. it is worse for the 2 – 3 days after my shot. The only thing that helps is a supplement with l-theanine, glycine and magnesium which has really improved the quality of my sleep.

Great energy levels. Despite the lack of sleep I am feeling great! There is so much I can accomplish in the average day. I feel motivated and happy.

Emotionally. I had a slight dip 3 days before my next shot and wanted my T top up. Even with the dip I still felt way better than I ever did pre-T. I am astounded how good I feel on T. I really didn’t expect it to have this pronounced effect on my emotional landscape.

Still have an increased appetite which I am carefully trying to keep in check. I’ve had to go from eating 2 meals a day to 3 small meals otherwise I end up ravenous. I haven’t put any weight on which is a relief. I have noticed a slight slimming of my hips and have dropped a pants size which makes me feel confident and happy. My weight has been a life long struggle. Initially I tried losing weight to help with my body dysphoria and while it helped a bit I still had days of feeling viciously dysphoric.

That leads me on to dysphoria in general. I don’t know if it is the fact that I am actively pursuing transition, or that I got a new binder that is super comfy, or the that I am seeing body changes after just 3 weeks on T but in general my dysphoria is much, much less. I am feeling far less awkward. I am less clumsy. I feel more present in my body. What I find interesting is that I am also more comfortable in my femme presentation as well. Being a gender fluid person I like to dress femme on femme days but still had a resentment towards society’s reaction to my femininity as it made me feel invisible in the rest of my identity. Now, I have a devil-may-care attitude as a rock a skirt, heels and make-up while being T fuelled. It is liberating. Is this confidence from the T or from the authenticity of being a more realised version of myself? I am not sure, both maybe, but either way I feel confident, powerful and at peace with my body and my identity in a way that I hadn’t been able to be previously.