My aunt asked me if I had a cold, referencing my more-gravelly-than-she-was-used-to voice. I took that moment to make the choice to share with her and my mom that I have been taking testosterone since January. This is only sort of true, as since I started I’ve raised and lowered my dose, paused in my taking it, started again, and am currently playing with the dosage/levels in order to find the right fit for me.
This was the first time I told any of my family about taking T. I was asked if I had a goal, an end result that I was shooting for. I said I’m not trying to go to male (whatever that means anyway), and I’m pretty close to where I want to be. And I realized this is true. Mostly femme-presenting, but not always. A little confusing in the right lights. Genderqueer femme. Pangender genderfucker. Genderfabulous. In the sometimes-called “middle,” though gender is not actually a line like that, but T levels are (or, at least, we talk about them that way).
I’ve gained so much of myself over the last a bit over nine months since I started, and I feel simultaneously more visible and more invisible for various reasons. When I started I didn’t know if or how long I would stay on. I had confidence that my body would know, that I would be able to feel if it was right for me, and I did. And I’ve thought a lot about what I’m getting from T, what I’m not getting from T, what it “means” to be on T, all of that. And I “altered” my “natural” hormones plenty before T through ten years of various types of hormonal-based birth control, so I also figure: how is this any different? It’s really not. And yet it also is.
Both my mom and my aunt were accepting. Not phased much outwardly by it, but clearly a little shaken up by it and the casual way that I shared this information. I was also shaken up by the casual way that I shared this experience I have hid from many people in my life for the last three quarters of a year. My therapist assures me that it’s my choice who I tell and who I don’t, that I don’t have to tell everyone, and I know that is true. And it has become an integrated part of my experience already, and it’s mostly the people who haven’t seen me or heard me for a while that would notice anything different anyway.
I’m not always likely to volunteer information about myself, in fact I rarely do, but I don’t like to intentionally dodge or lie when asked directly about myself. I strive to be genuine in all that I do, so it felt good to share, even if it was jarring and a bit disorienting and if I had been planning it I could have fortified myself a bit more. I didn’t expect any other reaction than what I got, my family is pretty accepting, and also pretty stoic, and that combination is the reaction I received.
More than anything, though, this experience made me realize I’m closer to where I want to be than I thought, and I know more about where I want to be than I have before. It’s still amorphous, liminal, and difficult to describe, and I know it will change as I change. However, I’m no longer trying to grasp it so tightly, define it, dissect it, or understand it out of confusion and desperation. And that’s a big difference.