Two years ago, I started putting testosterone into my body. Well, first I started with a gel that I rubbed onto my stomach and shoulders, but that got annoying quickly, so I faced my fear of needles and starting giving myself a shot once a week. So far, I have not passed out or given myself an embolism, so things are going smoothly.
I am on what is considered a low dose of the hormone, and physical changes have been slow and subtle. And that’s what I was going for. I started off unsure if I wanted to be on the hormone, so the low dose was a perfect way to test it out. Two years later, and I’m mostly content with how it’s going which is all an indecisive person can really hope for.
Some people who take hormones are very public about their experiences. They document their “shot day” frequently, they post pictures of physical changes, maybe even videos of their voices deepening (if they’re on testosterone, as estrogen won’t change a person’s vocal cords). But I felt very private about my decision to start taking hormones, and only told a handful of people.
Though I have been openly non-binary for years, I worried about what people would think about me if I started taking hormones. To be fair, I worried about what people were thinking about my non-binary identity. Hell, I’m worrying about what people will think of me after publishing this post.
“Am I a trans man if I start taking testosterone?” Does this mean I want to be a man? Why do I want this hormone if I’m non-binary? What will people think about my voice? My potential facial hair and definite increase in body hair? My potential mood swings and anger? My body after fat redistribution? Do I even want all of this stuff?”
These were some of the many questions I had and still think about sometimes. The reality is, I have been taking testosterone for two years and have been enjoying it for the most part. There are some days when I wonder if this is what I want for my body, but I think everyone wonders if what they’re doing for their body is what’s best, regardless of gender identity. And the bottom line is, any problem someone has with what I am doing for myself, causing no harm to anyone else, is their problem and not mine.
I have been on testosterone for two years now. This fact doesn’t make me a man, it doesn’t make me any less non-binary – it doesn’t make me anything except a person who is taking hormones. I am “coming out” about this because (at the time of writing this) it’s an anniversary which is always a nice neat time to talk about something important, and also to be visible for anyone else who might need to read something like this.
My desire to be open and proud of my ever-evolving identity is often in conflict with my desire for privacy, as well as my feelings of shame for being so “different”. So, I have spent more than ten years since coming out as gay worrying about what other people will think of me based on how I look and sound and present myself on a daily basis. I have worried about how people at work will react, from bosses to co-workers to customers. I have worried about family members and friends and strangers. But I cannot control other people. I cannot make myself “perfect” for everyone else. I have carried around people’s discomfort for way, way, way too long. And that discomfort has been heavy and exhausting and I am throwing all of it back at anyone who has a problem with me and my body and identity.