All Rights reserved
9 Trans, Gender-Nonconforming Folks on Starting (or Skipping) Hormones
9 trans and gender non-conforming people on why they started—or chose not to start—hormones
Somaya Gupta writes: "I recently came out as gender-fluid. To me, this means that the way I feel about my gender changes depending on the day: my gender is not 'fixed' in one defined category. This may seem like a complicated concept to some people, which I can understand since I find myself still discovering and exploring gender. But one thing I know is true is that gender fluidity is as valid as any other way of identifying.
One area where it's especially complex to me as a gender-fluid person is the use of hormones, or hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I've been going back and forth on whether or not I want to start microdosing testosterone -- a hormone commonly utilized in HRT -- for a bit now and I'm sure there are other people in a similar position. So for Transgender Awareness Week, I decided to ask fellow trans and gender non-conforming people why they have or have not taken hormones. Here's what they had to say":
"It took me years to realize that there was no right way to be nonbinary. My body didn't have to look a certain way, I didn't have to dress in a particular style, my voice didn't have to have a type of sound. There are plenty of reasons why a nonbinary person might not want to take hormones. For me, a huge part of it was that I really, really, REALLY did not want any more hair than I already have. More importantly, though, I just didn't want to. It didn't change the fact that my gender was correct, despite what strangers might think based on the two pockets of fat on my chest, or the sound of my voice. I'm still learning to love my body as it is. Some days, I still think having surgery or taking hormones might make me more 'authentic' as a non-binary person. But most days, I know that's bullshit."
"I initially chose to start taking testosterone because, put simply, I knew I would feel more comfortable with more masculine features. When I thought about the parts of myself I struggled with the most, I thought of my feminine features: my hips, my voice, and especially my chest. Since I was a kid I had always admired the masculine parts of my body, I remember appreciating compliments about my muscles. When I thought about the last few years, I realized that every step I had taken to present more masculinely had made me infinitely more comfortable (ie., cutting my hair short, replacing all female clothing, changing my pronouns). Of course, masculinity can look like many different things but for me these were the things that mattered. While I had fears about the implications of being coded as a man (socially, emotionally, etc), I ultimately knew that physically I would feel better. Really, I knew I would never stop considering taking hormones unless I tried it, and so I did. I'm still working on self love, still struggle with dysphoria at times, and constantly worry about balding... BUT I feel more confident and more whole in myself."
Marley (They/Them and occasionally She/Her)
"When I was in the fifth grade, I wrote my first novel. Somewhere in that lined notebook, between the elmers glue and run on sentences, was the first step towards understanding my gender identity. The novel followed female assigned identical triplets, one of whom was mascluine presenting, another was feminine, and the last was me. Back then I didn't have the language to articulate how these characters represented the identities I felt in my head. I feel like my most authentic self when I am both masculine, feminine, and neither. At this point in my life, my body is curved and bottom heavy. My shoulders are broad and muscular. I stand tall, still slightly slouched, at six feet. In my head, I feel fluid as well as in my outer expression. Going on hormones would make me feel like I am choosing one side of myself over the other."
"I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and recognize myself. Say, that's a person, I'm that person. Not some strange figure who I don't understand or like. Hormones gave me that. They smoothed the contours of my face, and while the difference is subtle, it's enough for me to be happy. It doesn't feel like I'm adding something to my body; it feels like my body started with a recipe that wasn't right for me and I'm just correcting that. I'm not transitioning from male to female, I am a nonbinary person transitioning into the body that's right for her. I know it's gonna take some adjustment, and I'll probably go too far and have to dial it back a bit. But we'll see what's to come. And once I get my pussy surgery, which entails yeeting out those testo-makers, I'll have to find the right balance all over again. But it will be worth it.
My dose was recently doubled, and I'm honestly curious about how I'll feel about that. I'm not a woman, I'm nonbinary and butch. So what's right for me [is] going to look different from, say, a transfeminine person who is a woman. A month or two ago I looked at my face and thought, This is it, this is my gender. Stop here please. And yet, my doctor noticed that my hormone levels were closer to 'typical cis male' than 'typical cis woman,' and so I'm just going along with her recommendation to see what happens. After I get my blood drawn in December I'll go back to something that's closer to my previous dose."
"I've always known I was queer and not exactly a girl since I was a small child. It wasn't until my mid 20s and living in New York City until I decided to act on those feelings. I've been on testosterone for five or six years now. Initially, I chose to start hormones because I felt I absolutely needed my period to cease, I needed facial hair and despite my anxiety about being a singer, I needed a deeper voice. Hours and hours of therapy, self work and hormones helped me step into the skin of the person I was meant to be. I finally feel at home here."
Syd (They/Them | GLAAD Campus Ambassador)
"I am nonbinary and gender-fluid and while I do experience some gender dysphoria, I have no desire to go on hormones. For awhile, I considered going on testosterone because I felt like I had to. There were so many people who made me feel that I didn't belong in the trans community if I didn't change my body. Eventually, I realized that I did not have to make any changes to my body to be transgender. I realized that I was valid and a part of the community no matter what my body looks like and no matter what anyone said. There is no one way to look nonbinary and there is no written requirement that I have to be vaguely masculine. I'm proud to be nonbinary and I'm proud of the way I look."
"For me, hormones was never a definitive yes or no. As a trans guy, I felt a lot of pressure to start testosterone because it could guarantee my passing. But I was also torn as a singer who loves belting high tenor 1 notes. However, what sparked my recent decision to start testosterone was that I felt complete in my own self-acceptance. I didn't want to start hormones as a reason to 'cure' my dysphoria and fix my self-image, because hormones don't do that. For me, I had to accept myself as I am first, accept that I can still sing well even if I'm not belting, and accept that hormones were there to evolve myself because I was ready to evolve, not as a [problem-solver] or a cure. Whether or not one wants to go through HRT is a tough decision to make, but it is ultimately yours, and I found the answer through a long fight of self-acceptance and confidence building. By starting testosterone, I am beginning a similar but newfound journey to gender congruence."
"Being trans doesn't mean conforming to a certain binary, regardless of how you identify. What's important is that you're comfortable and happy in your own skin. I've heard the saying 'your body is a temple, decorate it how you want.'"
Pallas (They/Them | GLAAD Campus Ambassador)
"I chose not to take hormones because my gender identity is sometimes out of my own understanding. Are there days I wish I was on T and looked way more masc? Yes. But there are also days I know that if I were on T, I would miss the body I have now. Being nonbinary and trans is complicated, and the questions of hormones is a big one. I support other nonbinary people in their decision to take hormones, but it wasn't the right one for me."