So, I’ve been debating whether or not to get on testosterone.
It’s a really tough decision for me.
I know that for some dudes the decision is easy. They have intense dysphoria and just KNOW they need T.
But not me.
I don’t always have dysphoria. I have a complicated relationship with my body (don’t we all) and although there are many days where I think “ugh, I just want to look like a cis dude already”, there are other days when I’m thankful that I was born into a pretty androgynous body and can often pass without having had any medical intervention at all.
That said, I’ve debating the T question a lot more lately. I’ve sat down several times to make “pro” and “con” lists, and the pros have started to outweigh the cons.
Major factors in me wanting to get on T include:
- Never menstruating again. I HATE bleeding. Not only is it disgusting, but it forces me to deal with my most dysphoric body part, and more and more I get really really anxious when I have to insert a tampon (jsut writing that made me cringe). I also get migraines, major cramps, elevated pain levels, fatigue, and acne. Whenever I’m bleeding I think, “Yup, testosterone is definitely something I want. NOW.”
- Facial hair. I would love to be able to grow a bit of a beard. While I’m lucky in that I can fake it with a few drag king tips (and I’m good enough that it passes for real most of the time), this process is time consuming, and can flake off after a few hours.
- Muscle tone. I’ve lost a lot of muscle tone since my back injury, and the thought of being able to pump iron and get a lot of that back is massively appealing.
- Lower voice. Again, I’m blessed with a fairly androgynous voice, and can drop it as needed. But to be less self-conscious about sounding like a girl would be great.
- Being read as male in public. This is another big one. I used to get a kick out of people being unsure which box I fit in, but more and more this stresses me out. Some days I have a lot of anxiety about it. I’m sick and tired of getting weird looks all the time, of the “Sir… I mean ma’am..?” or people referring to me and my GF as “ladies”. I just want people to be able to see me, the real me I feel I am inside. Yes, it sucks that I’m the one that has to make the change rather than society, since society is the one with the gender problem, not me, but the sad fact is that society isn’t going to change any time soon, and I’m rapidly running out of patience with the constant misgendering.
- Increased sex drive. I’m not a very sexual person most of the time, and I know it can be frustrating for my GF. She would LOVE for me to have more sexual urges, and I admit it might be nice to be able to get my motor running more quickly than happens now.
- Being able to get a job and use the preferred name and pronouns. This is another big one as I’m currently job hunting and feel very self-conscious of the fact that my current gender markers clash with my name/pronouns, and pretty much outs me as trans right away.
These are the good things. But there’s also a lot of things I’m worried about if I start taking testosterone. While some of them aren’t anything that would keep me from doing what I have to do to be comfortable in my body, others are pretty serious.
- Health concerns. I’ve read a few studies that suggest trans-men on testosterone are at an elevated risk for heart disease. I’ve also read it can be hard on the liver. This is something I take very seriously. It’s a big deal.
- I don’t want to go bald!!! My dad is pretty bald. I like having a full head of hair. It would be really weird for me to lose my hair…
- Acne. Like, bad acne. On your back. On the ass. On the face. Big nasty painful pimples. Ew.
- Losing my singing voice. This would make me sad. 😦
- Weirdness with my landlord and my motorcycle mechanic. Would I get evicted? Would they fuck with my bike? Probably not, but the thought still occurs to me sometimes.
- Family weirdness. This, strangely, isn’t much of a concern for me anymore. My family has been pretty accepting of the trans thing since I came out, and I’m much more confident in their support than I was a year ago.
- Needles. Having to inject myself for the rest of my life? I’m sure I could get used to it, but it would be hard at first. And I know there’s newer delivery methods (patch, gel, etc), but I understand they’re more expensive and less effective.
There’s more stuff on both lists, but these are the main ones. Like I said before, at this point there’s more positives than negatives, and many of the negatives are things that might not actually happen. I won’t know until I do it. The biggest fear for me is long-term health effects. There just aren’t many studies out there, and as someone who already deals with chronic pain, I really don’t want to add another chronic illness to my roster. I know how life changes when you have to factor health into everything you do, and it SUCKS.
So yeah, the debate is ongoing. But I have an appointment to see a doctor in July, so I can ask questions and see what the deal is. I’m excited and kinda scared all at the same time. I’m sure this is normal, but it doesn’t make the decision any easier…