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Posts Tagged ‘testosterone’

Question MarkA reader writes: “I am a 59-year-old African American lesbian giving serious consideration to transitioning to a male. Are you aware of any females beginning their transition who are my age?

“I do realize there will be generational, cultural, and racial considerations. My questions largely have to do with being post menopausal and beginning T. Are there challenges that younger trans men don’t have to deal with? Will T be more effective since I am post menopausal? Are there any health considerations or concerns?

“As I begin my transition, I will bind my chest. I’ll see how it goes prior to deciding to (or not) having a double mastectomy. Is there an ‘older’ community of trans men support group? Any other suggestions would greatly be appreciated.”

There are definitely cultural and racial considerations that I am not qualified to address. I’ll have some suggestions with regard to those in a minute, and readers will have others, I’m sure.

As far as female-designated people who being transition later in life – yes, there are many, and some are older than you. Your age should not stop you from doing what you need to do. The oldest female-to-male transitioner that I am aware of was in his mid to late 60s. The oldest male-to-female transitioner that I am aware of was in her 80s. It can be – and has been – done.

An older trans guy named Jay, who has posted a video on YouTube, started T at age 65. And here is one from Dr. Jay, who started transition at 56, and here is a video from a guy who is transitioning at age 60. If you check out these videos, you will also find others from older trans guys who are transitioning (related videos appear down the right-hand side of the page). Dr. Jay has several videos, and he does talk about health issues related to starting T at an older age.

I’m not a doctor, and you should definitely talk to one, but testosterone in low doses is prescribed to some post-menopausal women to increase libido and to help maintain bone density and muscle mass. You would be taking a much higher dose, because you desire physical changes, but this just suggests that testosterone is not contraindicated for female-designated persons after menopause. (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I’m an FTM, 18, and I came out to my mum about two years ago. She didn’t take it very well.

“She told me that she didn’t believe that I was transgender because I feel uncomfortable talking to her about sex (I’ve tried telling her multiple times this is normal and that my friends feel the same way with their parents, to no avail), and that I’m stuck in a phase that I just haven’t grown out of.

“Since I came out to her in 2011, thing have slowly gotten better and I’ve put in a lot of effort so that we could reach common ground. She is a lot less hostile about it, she’s fine with me wearing a binder, she tries to use gender neutral pronouns when she can, and I had a talk with her earlier on in the year about changing my name when I finished high school later in the year and she seemed all right with it.

“A few days ago, however, I was talking to her about my name change again, and she told me she thought changing my name would be a mistake, but that I’m an adult and she won’t try to stop me. As we continued talking I also discovered that she still thinks that I’m not transgender, and for the same reasons she told me when I first came out to her.

“While I do appreciate that she won’t try to stop me, my relationship with my mum is very important to me. I love her very much, and I just wish she would be supportive. I don’t want to try to move out, and when we’re not arguing about me being transgender, we get on very well. But I’m not coping well with the realisation that she still doesn’t think I’m transgender.

“I have a psychiatrist (so I can start medical transition) who is willing to approve me for testosterone. I asked my mum if she would be interested in meeting my psych, and she refused and was very negative about the whole thing. Not having her on board makes everything so much harder for me. There aren’t many things that I want more in my life at the moment than for my mum to see me as her son.

“So essentially, what I’m asking is do you know what else I can do to try to make my mum realise that I am transgender, and that the emotions and feelings I have because I’m transgender are real?”

I had to edit your letter a great deal for length, but from the entire letter, it sounds to me as if you’ve done just about everything you can to convince your mother that you are trans, including asking her to talk to your therapist and providing articles and information that she won’t read. She has chosen not to believe this and to dismiss any evidence to the contrary. This is a classic defense mechanism called denial, and she has decided to use this so she doesn’t have to deal with information that she doesn’t want to deal with. (more…)

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Question MarkI’m getting a little backed up again, and this week is my “holiday” week, so I put some short questions together with some short answers. For my many question-writers, thank you for your patience. I’m getting there!

I am also working on trying to make the blog a little easier to navigate (I hope) by adding some specific categories so that readers can more easily find old information and posts that might apply to their circumstances. I am trying to redo my Categories, and it’s taking some time, so again, thanks for your patience.

Here are this week’s questions:

A reader writes: “I’m an FTM transgender person. I’ve already picked out a first and a middle name, and I chose to stick with my last name. The problem is I like the first and middle names that I picked, but I also like the first name given to me at birth. I just can’t seem to find a way to add my birth name in there. I need a bit of help or advice.”

I answered a very similar question recently, so I am going to link to that post, Choosing a Middle Name, because I think it could be helpful. I would also recommend reading the comments. A reader suggested something that I didn’t even think of when I was answering the question, which is that the writer could have two middle names.

If you have a first and middle name picked out that you really like, but your birth name is special to you, use it as another middle name. You can even decide to go by one name in a professional setting and another in a personal setting. So don’t feel limited. Changing your name is an opportunity to have exactly the name that you want, so go for it!

A reader writes: “Do you know anything about the connection (or lack thereof) between testosterone and cancer? And any thoughts on how this might affect one’s decision to go on T?

“My second issue is, I am thinking about going on T to transition from female to male, but I have a really bad needle phobia. If I don’t miraculously overcome it, I won’t transition. The thought of giving myself shots for the rest of my life is too overwhelming. Do you have any advice or know anyone who has been in a similar situation?” (more…)

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MirrorThis particular blog post, published on June 30, 2010, has received the most views of any post on my blog:

Everyone’s sex drive is different, and everyone responds differently to this particular biological force (except the boys in my 8th grade language arts class when I was teaching, who morphed en masse into beings from another planet as soon as puberty hit).

So, although I am posting this in response to a new reader’s question from yesterday, I need to make it clear that my experience with testosterone is my experience with testosterone. I have heard similar stories from other trans men, but they will have to speak for themselves, and are invited to do so in the comments section.

One of the most interesting things about the effects of testosterone and trans men is that we have something else to compare it to. Non-trans men do not. And non-trans women do not, which is why I wrote the post “It’s the Testosterone: What Straight Women Should Know.”

When I started testosterone a dozen years ago, I expected my sex drive to increase. The “horror” stories are a part of trans man lore, passed down from generation to generation as we all gear up for male adolescence, no matter how old we are, and take out a line of credit at the adult toy store.

And it did increase, within about four days of my first shot, and I basically squirmed a lot for two years before I got used to it. But I was planning for that. Here are the things that took me by surprise: (more…)

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Question MarkA reader writes: “I am wanting to start T (testosterone), and I am wondering if I need to go through a therapist even though I am legally male.”

That depends on the doctor you choose. Many (probably most) doctors in the United States still require a therapist’s letter in order to prescribe hormones. It covers their rear if the patient is unhappy later, particularly because hormones cause irreversible physical changes and there can be health risks involved.

But some doctors are becoming more relaxed about this, and if you walk into a doctor’s office presenting your male ID, there are probably quite a few who would go ahead and prescribe testosterone for you.

Depending on where you live, there are also informed consent clinics springing up. My understanding of these clinics is that you go in and talk to a counselor or other professional in order to get information about hormones, what they will do, and so on, and once you understand and agree, you can be prescribed hormones on the spot (if I’m wrong, someone please let me know).

However, there might not be this type of clinic near you, so I would advise you to talk to some other trans guys in your city and find out which doctors they are seeing to get their hormones. Then approach these doctors with your male ID and explain to them that you have been living as male and are legally male, and now all you need is the testosterone. Hopefully, you will find one who will give you the prescription. (more…)

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Question MarkToday we have a couple of letter related to “male” appearance and expression. I now turn it over to the writers.

A reader writes: “I was looking back on an old post where you stated trans guys all ‘pass’ after x amount of time on testosterone.

“I have now been on T seven years. I have changed my documentation. I have a baritone voice. I still occasionally get read as female. This seems to occur more when I am in queer-friendly spaces, and if it happens where I can respond, I simply correct people and say, ‘It’s sir, actually’ or something similar.

“I think it’s important that trans men realize that sometimes you can do things ‘right’ (have a deep voice, act masculine, etc.) and your transition might still take a long, long time.”

It’s true. I have said in the past that, in general, trans guys will not be mistaken for female within a year or two of starting testosterone. And I think this is true for most trans guys – but there will always be exceptions. Transition is a process, not a product, and hormones are going to affect everyone differently.

Some people’s bodies just don’t process hormones in a “typical” or expected way. For some, the genetics just aren’t there for the physical changes that allow for complete assimilation as a “traditional” male (or female).

For me, I have had to accept the fact that I will be “ma’amed” at least 50 percent of the time on the telephone and at drive-thrus. I hate it, but I don’t think that it will ever change. I don’t have a super-deep voice, but it’s not the deepness that is the problem – it’s the inflection or modulation. My voice is all over the place – up, down, and very expressive.

That is a “female” trait in our culture. I’ve tried the monotone thing, but I have to concentrate too hard, and if I’m not thinking about it, I revert right back. So that’s my annoyance, but it is minor. (more…)

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Question MarkToday we have two letters from trans guys, one seeking social advice and another seeking medical advice. As always, reader thoughts, experiences, and advice are welcome and encouraged. Here we go:

A reader writes: “I’m a 32-year-old transguy who began transition two years ago. Prior to that, I lived as a lesbian for 15 years. Transition was a painful decision for me. There was no joy in it – it was a step I had to take because there was no other option. I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever thought possible – but, oh, what a price I have paid.

“I lost all of my lesbian friends in transition. In one fleeting moment, I lost my entire community. Once it became apparent that these fences would not/could not be mended, I began to seek new community. From my years of lesbian activism I thought getting involved with Trans activism would be a good way to meet like-minded Trans folks. But I’m have found (at least in my area) Trans* equals transwomen – transmen need not apply.

“I am allowed to volunteer my time to the cause, but there is a pervasive feeling that, at best, transmen are a novelty, and at worst, our experience is being dictated to us. The arguments that my lesbian friends used against me (you now have male privilege, blah blah blah) are the very same arguments being hurled at me from the trans feminine community.

“I find this very frustrating and isolating. I was socialized female. I lived as a gender non-conforming woman for three decades. In my heart of hearts, I don’t identify as a man but rather a transman. And yet my experiences are constantly being thrown away, as if being Trans could be distilled down into some sort of sick oppression Olympics.

“How do I find a place in this world where I fit in when everyone seems so hostile?”

This is a tough one. When I first transitioned over fifteen years ago, the trans community that I entered was also primarily trans women. Although I got no hostility there (the community here in Denver was actively trying to promote inclusion of trans men), I still didn’t quite “fit,” and I was the only guy at many functions.

That changed as time went on. More trans guys became visible and started interacting in the community. But there always seemed to be a separation, and I think that’s because trans men and trans women have very different experiences on many levels. (more…)

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