I passed an important milestone this week. Yesterday marked six months on testosterone for me. It seems like a good time to reflect how far I’ve come, while also being aware of how far I still have to go.
Puberty is a slow process, whether it’s the naturally occurring type or a second one induced by hormone therapy. Most of the advice and information tells trans people to expect to see changes for up to five years at least, although most of the most noticeable changes often happen in the first two years. So, six months is still relatively early days.
The changes are subtle (gradual voice drop, acquisition of facial hair, fat redistribution etc) but are gradually adding up to me being read as male by strangers more often. The weird part for me, is that I never know what assumptions other people are making about my gender. Unless they happen to use a pronoun in my presence, or an obviously gendered term like sir or the dreaded madam I have no way of telling how I’m being categorised. But given that I can wander into the men’s toilets without causing a stir — and was getting some very odd looks in the ladies the last couple of times I tried to use them — I think that on balance the world is mostly seeing me as a bloke now.
My voice is the main thing that still lets me down. It’s a lot lower than it used to be, and now technically measures in the male range.
From pre-T to now, courtesy of an iOS app called Speech Test (where do I sign up for those muscles?):
Unfortunately the lack of resonance and years of ingrained feminine speech pattern still makes me sound rather androgynous. I don’t get challenged when I give my name to banks/insurance companies etc on the phone anymore though, so that’s progress.
My family and friends are getting used to talking about me using he/him pronouns, and it makes me happy when I hear them do it. I know it’s been really weird for people who have known me for a long time, so I appreciate how hard everyone is trying with this. The closer people are to me, the harder it is, but my ex/coparent/partner-in-crime and my kids are managing to get it right 90% of the time now, so if they can manage it then I figure anyone can.
The last six months have been a rollercoaster for a variety of reasons, and being on testosterone is the least of them.
- I’ve been busy with work, friends, and family, and dealing with the fallout of my transition. This has affected relationships in unexpected ways as well as predictable ones.
- I’ve been getting used to being free and single (although still cohabiting incredibly amicably), and have launched myself into the insanity of online dating as a gay man.
- I had chest surgery six weeks ago, so was busy preparing for that, and then dealing with recovery.
The most important part of this post — I feel good. I’m happy and at peace with myself in a way that is new. I’m finally starting to feel like I know who I am after years of being lost in a post female puberty wilderness of feeling fundamentally wrong. Being authentic and honest about who I am is a wonderful feeling, and I have no regrets about making that leap of faith.
So to sum up, life is crazy, and difficult at times, but it’s also pretty damn good being me.
Here’s to the next six months!