My left hands gripped steady on my thigh muscles as I carefully insert the tip of the sharp needle through my skin while grasping the bottom end of the syringe with my left fingers. I let out a quick breath, exhaling, and inhaling, then began to glide the rest of the oil into my thigh muscles using my right fingers. I’ve been injecting myself between .3/4cc to .5cc for the past year as instructed by my doctor. When it comes to doing my shots, I just don’t think about it anymore, the pain is just a slight pinch on the first sight of injection, while the rest of it is just anxiety of getting it over and done with. This is the regular routine for most transmen on testosterone hormone replacement therapy. No one really tells you the side effects or the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual changes that will take place as months go by being on T(HRT), the short abbreviation for the word.
It’s been a whole full year since I’ve been on testosterone and I’ve gone through what most transmen have gone through, some experiences are slightly different than others, however, not all changes are the same depending on your DNA, but similar in transitioning. I’ve slowly seen my facial structure go from heart-shaped smooth hairless delicate feminine face to a more raunchy higher cheekbone structured with fine lines and facial hair growth. I have a mustache, lip, and chin beard now. Granted within the next year, I expect to have full sideburns, mustache, and beard, enough to rock a goatee. My voice went from a very feminine high pitch girly tone to a raspy grumble guy of a voice as it drops month after month. For some of us, the symptoms of a voice drop is as if you swallowed something that just stayed there and tickled your throat for days.
I remembered shopping for men’s clothes a few months earlier in my transition was a bit difficult as I’ve seen my entire wardrobe transition along with me. My waist use to be so much wider and I had an ass. Yes, I had a woman’s butt. I had curves but my shoulders were always broad even when I was in a woman’s body. I’ve seen my waist go from wide to thin as all the fat moved up to my back and I gained more muscle mass on my pecs, abs, shoulders, neck, back, arms, and forearms. I even have throat muscles, a small adam’s apple, and veins that pop every now and then when I get too hot or after a hard body building workout. Since I am petite and always will be small in my stature, everything about me is short and lean. I prefer my transexual male body to be healthy crossfit if I stay away from the binge drinking or smoking now and then.
I remembered the day when I could no longer utilize the women’s public restroom anymore because other cisgender women thought or assumed that I was this small Asian boy going through puberty. During that time, I was about 3 months on testosterone where my voice was dropping. I remembered when I first went into the men’s restroom and got a couple stares at first but I didn’t care because I went in there like a thug. It was around the same time that I decided to cut my hair short and the couple more times I went into the men’s restroom, my first encounter of anyone saying anything to me was a cisgender gay man telling me that he thought I was cute. I met my first cisgender gay male partner through Skype by a friend of a friend, it was he who in some ways I guess taught me to find my own men’s style and helped me discover the masculine parts of me that I had been oppressing all these years. Now I’ve never been in a gay relationship, by this, I mean, I’ve never been with a gay man so this was very new to me. It wouldn’t make sense for it to be a straight relationship. I didn’t like it being labeled or seen as a queer relationship. Simply because we were both seen as men. Cis and trans. Gay sex was amazing! Definitely different than when I was in the body or mind set of a woman. Not to mention, testosterone boost sex drive. Yay for that!
My parts that I was born with, well, I’m not comfortable with my boobies but thankfully I was born with rather very small breasts so I have two options as a pre-op, one, I can choose not to undergo top surgery (be non-op for top) and just let my pec muscles blend with my breast tissue and save me the medical expense, or, get the loan or funding to receive top surgery, most doctors have said that I would be estimated to have keyhole surgery (be post-op for top). My bottom? Well, I’ve always been comfortable with them because I enjoy penetration but I’m dysphoric about the bleeding days because having to deal with that as a transman can be very uncomfortable. I know for sure that I do want to have biological children of my own before I get my eggs completely removed and undergo a full hysterectomy. Other parts of playing in on the dysphoria was having to go to a OBGYN clinic to get my annual checkup and my partner went with me for support.
Well, you could imagine the reactions or comments, the misgendering, etc. Someone should write a short TV skit about that because my partner was mansplaining to most of the doctors and nurses at that facility clinic about the whole reason why we were there was because we were in a gay relationship, and oh, all of the dynamics of that were like, “...yes, he’s taking a pregnancy test and wants to get on birth control as preventative measures because testosterone doesn’t....oh btw, he’s transgender, female-to-male...” Yeah, that type of stuff...I don’t get bleedings anymore as being boosted on a .5cc dose every week has stopped it, thank goodness!
Anyway, not sure if anyone mentions this but there is growth done there too. The clitoris grows and becomes a mini micro-p. It’s sensitive at first but eventually it doesn’t really bother me. Before I went on hormones though, I did learn about binders, packers, and STP devices and already equipped myself with the proper gear. Luckily for me since I am super small, getting myself a binder from Japan or Taiwan was not that hard as it fits my chest just fine. I never felt comfortable using an STP device so I never packed an STP device in public. I didn’t bother to train myself because the STP product that I have is really cheap and low end. I don’t trust it enough to use it at all, not even to train myself to pee in it so I go to the bathroom the old school way and “pee like a girl”. What choice do I have? Just don’t ever say that to me though.
Along with being on hormones, everything else about you changes. Things you thought you knew about yourself changes too. For a long while, I came out as bisexual and I still am in some ways bisexual but being on testosterone, seeing myself transition into the handsome rare Asian transexual man I’ve become, I’ve learned that I am more sexually attracted to men so therefore I had been more gay than I thought but I still enjoy spending time with woman, however, the thoughts are more mutually intimate. At this point, after being a full year on testosterone, I am revisiting my sexuality and questioning myself all over again.
I counted the needles in my hazardous waste bin. For one full year, I have injected myself 40 times! I could say, “I have shot myself 40 times...” Just to live my life the way I want now as the man I always knew, envisioned, and felt myself to be. I look beyond the timeline photos and voice captures from when I was pre-T to post-T, one year, and my oh my, I have changed so much. There are more changes to come for me as I’m starting the next chapter of my transitioning. For my first year, I have accomplished goals as, starting testosterone, transitioning my mind, body, soul, my clothes, my appearance, my behavior, my environment, my family, my friends, my workplace, and got my gender marker legally changed in due time all by myself. I’ve accomplished quite a lot in a year. I want to stick around and see what more I can accomplish in my second year and the years to come with the changes that comes along with it.