Monday, January 28, 2008

reversible difference

When I first started taking testosterone I was constantly on the lookout; watching the bodies of the men around me, wondering what might happen, how my body may look after these hormones did their job. Now, less than a year down that path I find myself looking around at the androgynes around me. I wonder how my hips might change and if the shape of face might become too much to handle. I soften those fears with knowing that at least my face will be hairy, and yes, maybe my jaw will recede a little and my shoulders soften up again, but my vocal cords will never return to their previous state. I doubt that I will ever pass as a woman again, despite putting a hold on my hormone treatments. Which the exact reason I feel comfortable doing so. I had my last shot a month ago. I technically should've had another 2 weeks ago, and another tonight. I have a vial of T on my bathroom counter and I have a box of needles in my room. I could grab a swab, syringe, an 18 g. and a 22 g. and put this whole questioning to rest . There is a "prescribed path" which many doctors, transfolks and community resources and old school ideas portray:
  1. Undergo analysis
  2. Undergo hormone therapy indefinitely
  3. Undergo chest surger(ies/y)
  4. Undergo bottom surger(ies/y)
  5. Live invisibly as a straight man and NEVER SPEAK OF ANY OF THIS! unless you absolutely must and the you are allowed to use variations the following terminology to describe yourself:
  • born in the wrong body
  • used to think I was gay
  • I knew this was exactly since I was 2- Never a doubt
  • I am 100% man
  • etc.
I have always had difficulty doing things the way people would like me to, and have never been a huge fan of the medical establishment. So here I am, a queer transperson who doesn't fit the binary genders of male or female. I feel comfortable living my life as male, but want that to be more on my terms.
It seems similar to when I had braces as a young teen. I fought my parents for years, I hated kids with braces, and more than anything I hated the smile that kids who used to have braces were left with. It was "perfect" and exactly the same as every other kid in my grade 7 class. I kicked and screamed in a way only 13 year old girls know how to do right, that , "I DON'T WANT A DR. LAMONT SMILE." I warded it off for 2 years, and then my eye teeth grew in approximately an inch above my gum line and the pain impeded my ability to eat. I had teeth growing into my lips. I finally gave in, had the molds done. I made my way out of class for 2 years as they week by week pulled my eye teeth down into line with the rest. When finally the whole procedure had given a satisfactory result, the ortho removed the wires and handed me my plastic retainer. He warned me that if I didn't wear it my front teeth would overlap again, and my teeth could go back to the way they were 2 years of pain ago. I knew that there was no way my teeth were going to cut an inch back up into my gums, so I never wore that retainer. The reversible effects didn't bother me, because the primary concern was that with permanent effects. The reversible effects of testosterone are
  • body fat and muscle may take on a more typically estrogen inspired configuration on the body- less muscle mass, fat moving from the the belly back into the tits and ass.
  • may re-start menstruation.
  • body and facial hair may become more fine, but will not disappear.
  • moods will probably shift.
  • energy levels may change.
  • voice will not change back- once the vocal chords have stretched, it sticks.
I haven't had an oophectomy (ovarian removal) so monitoring hormone levels that could put me at a risk of osteoporosis is not a huge concern. (If you have be sure to keep in touch with your docs and on top of your levels.)

An androgynous gender is something that I have lived with my entire life, up until recently. And I realize, that although technically living within the binary of gender of male is possible and feels pretty great most of the time, these days gender queers are taking back choices in their lives all over the place. Gender neutral bathrooms are on the rise, an awareness of folks who are neither M or F is getting recognized. In some countries they have created an O (other category for gender designation on legal identification.) I am inspired by the gender queers and androgynes around me who are forging the roads through gender in a way that works for them. I am also renewing my thoughts on passing, transitioning, living in the space in between and making male what I need it to be for me.

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