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12 Reasons I Don’t Want Testosterone

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I hate listicles, but I thought that actually, this was the best format for putting this across. I know I don’t have to defend my position, but I think it can be frightening to say “even though I don’t take T, I’m just as trans as anyone else.”

So, here are my reasons.

1.  I don’t want to be hairy

I just don’t. I shave my legs, my pubis, my crack, my armpits and my face on a weekly basis because I cannot abide having body hair. It’s my body and that’s just the way I like it. I do not want to make life even more difficult for myself, start having to shave my bumcheeks or even worse, endure the dreaded stubbly crack. No thanks.

2. I like the way I smell

I’m autistic. Sometimes, when I’m feeling sad, I don’t shower, and wallow in my own smell. It’s safe and familiar. If I take T, I’ll lose that. The smell will change, become overpowering. It’d be upsetting for me.

3. I don’t want to sweat more

Even if I take T, I wouldn’t be able to have top surgery for at least 6 months afterwards (and I don’t want to do that either just yet). So I’d be stuck- binding and sweaty. Yum. I’m also crap at doing my laundry, so I kind of rely on the fact I can wear clothes really quite a lot without them needing a spin in the washing machine. I struggled to adjust to puberty first time around, and I’d struggle again.

4. I like to cry

Crying is my way of dealing with my emotions. I cry a lot. Then I feel better. People who take testosterone report being unable to cry, and I think I’d really struggle without that ability.

5. I don’t want “T dick”

Now, I don’t know if reports of “T dick” are typical macho posturing and exaggeration, but I do know this- I don’t want it. I’m sure there are plenty of guys who are dead chuffed with their little fella, but I’ve never had that desire. When I’ve fantasised about having a dick, it’s always been at 2am on the way home from some nightclub, my bladder threatening to burst. If I can’t piss through it, I don’t want it.

I’ve never looked up pictures because stuff like that squicks me out. My genitals are completely unobtrusive and that’s how I like them. I enjoy packing, and I’m really looking forward to using a strapon for sex. Some guys report pain during sex due to growth, and I really don’t want that.

6. Puberty is bloody traumatic

I hated it the first time, and not just because it gave me features I didn’t want. It was just generally stressful, getting used to new things all the time, and feeling generally ashamed of every last thing (like being a spotty oik) while it was going on. I’m sure it wouldn’t be that bad second time around but it’s a stressor I could do without.

7. It won’t fix me

I’m short. It’s one of the things I hate about myself. As in, crying-as-I-write-this levels of hate. And I regret beyond belief not taking testosterone at 16, back when it might have done me some good. But I will never be tall, or even average. Even among trans guys, I feel like crap because of my height- and it upsets me all the time that I missed the boat on that one. T will never make me feel any better about that.

8. I don’t know who I’m going to be on T

My dad is not someone I like. I am someone I like. It frightens me that T might push me away from being like me, and towards being like my dad.

Hormones do change a person. But I don’t want to change. I think I’m loyal and considerate and creative and all kinds of wonderful things. If I take T, I start fucking with that winning formula.

9. I have a history of disordered eating

Putting fat on my belly could be fucking lethal for me. Loads of people put on weight when they start T, and I 100% do not want to. Being overweight terrifies me. There are so many reasons on this point why going on T could be absolutely disastrous for me.

What if I go the other way? Make use of a higher metabolism to lose weight quickly? Neither outcome ends well for me.

10. I don’t want to lose my hair

A lot of trans guys go bald. My mum’s side of the family are all pretty sparse up top, and I think that would be the ultimate indignity- no dick, 5’4” and a head like the bleeding moon.

11. There is no way of taking T that suits me

I’d rather have gel than shots, because I hate interacting with other people, and that puts it at a minimum. It keeps my levels nice and even. Lovely.

Except, there are all sorts of recommendations like doing at night after a shower, which would completely blow my daily routine (not to mention my sex life) to hell in a handbasket. I don’t want to be fucking someone, and frightened that I’m going to transfer testosterone off my skin. It’s just not sexy.

12. I don’t want to medicalise my life

If I take T, I take it for the rest of my life. It becomes my routine. Blood tests, shots, rinse and repeat. It will never end. I will never get a normal life. Not ever. And I can’t help but feel that every time I try and engage with someone over this, I’m going to be reminded that there are so many amab guys who will never have to suffer this shit.

Faced with that, I’m pretty content that T is not the right decision for me for the foreseeable future. That doesn’t make me any less trans. Hell, I suffered physical dysphoria (the Gold Standard of truscum gatekeeping) just writing this post. I know who I am, and I know how difficult my life is going to be as a result of not taking T. And I’m going to hear the words “when you start transitioning” long after I’m 10 years into the process. But I’m happy that I’m doing the right thing.

On Paths

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Sometimes, walking across the countryside, people don’t stick to the paths. Instead, they forge their own route, and over time, as more and more people tread the same path, it gets worn down. It starts to become a path in its own right.

That’s how I feel about gender.

I live in the UK, which like most Western societies, has these two paths, male and female. And anyone who doesn’t feel like those paths are right for them has to stomp down brambles and stinging nettles to get where they need to go.

I am nonbinary. I don’t feel female or male. “Male” might be a better fit- but it’s still not right.

But I’m too tired to have to be surmounting obstacles all the time. I have a temporary job in a crap economy and while I would love to fuck the system and dance to my own tune, I have rent to pay. I don’t have the spoons or the financial fallback to be a full-time gender outlaw.

I really want to make a video. But I’m afraid of success. I’m afraid of the video circulating, my employer finding out and then terminating me.

Because that’s legal. In the UK. In 2016.

While binary trans people have protection from all types of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, the law explicitly states that nonbinary people receive no such protection.

That makes me very afraid, and rightly so.

So, forgive people if they don’t “look” nonbinary. We’re just tired of scraping ourselves on thorns and we’ve decided to walk on a path for a little bit. It’s incredibly stressful to find your identity invalidated at every turn, and then to have the added indignity of being entirely vulnerable to the cruel whims of others.

But bit by bit, enough of us are going to walk that path for long enough that we clear the way. We will stamp down the obstacles one by one. And in our near future, someone will walk down that path, never once realising that there was a time when it wasn’t there at all.

Change of direction

So, it seems to me that although I am still writing, what I don’t enjoy doing is writing about writing. I don’t enjoy blogging for the attention. And I don’t like using social media like it’s a tool for my own self-promotion.

Instead, I’ve come to realise that there are a lot of ways to be transgender, and that in the past I’ve felt incredibly lonely because I don’t seem to fit with the ideal of what a trans person should be, either from a cis or a trans standpoint.

I need to reach out in order to not feel that way. I’ve always refrained from making this a “trans blog” because firstly, what have I got to say that hasn’t already been said? And also, shouldn’t I be concentrating on being a “better writer”, whatever that means?

Maybe I’m not the first. So what? I still have a standpoint that not everybody has, a particular lens through which I view the world around me. And the way that distorts things- that’s a curiosity.

So no, not everything in my life is to do with being trans- but it’s a part of me that I am not ashamed of, and not afraid to explore creatively. Over the coming weeks I have a lot to share, and I’m also going to be experimenting with publishing it in different ways.

So, if that interests you, stay tuned. If not… sorry, not sorry.

Back on Track: Human Now

So, in my working life, nobody knows I’m trans.

I’ve never been one of those people who came out easily. Every time I’ve done it (because it’s a never-ending process), it’s come out arse-backwards in one way or another.

It might not come as a surprise that trans people don’t exactly get treated well in a professional setting. When I asked to change my name at university a few years ago, my request was treated with ignorance, hostility and, most cuttingly of all, the assumption that I would come to regret my decision.

So, I’ve been more than a little reluctant to unveil the real me.

In my personal life, things haven’t been smooth sailing either.

I first came out as trans to a small group of friends when I was sixteen. Their responses ranged from “I knew there was something different about you” to “I have an aunt who used to be a man”. This was briefly reassuring. But then there was a lack of response.

My preferred name and pronouns were ignored completely. I began to realise that the people I had surrounded myself with had seen my tortured admission as nothing more than a passing whim. When I left school, I lost touch.

If someone comes out to you, never ignore it. Sure, it might not matter to you. But bloody hell, it mattered to them. They probably replayed every single way that conversation could have gone wrong in their head. They’ve probably spent weeks building up to it. And after they finish telling you, they’ve got to go and tell someone else. Then someone else. Then someone else. And on it goes- for the rest of their lives.

So, I saw what little value I had to my friends.

I had no intention of coming out to my family. My mother believes sex outside marriage is a sin, being gay is a choice and that “transgender” is a noun. My father was more easy-going, but would have insisted that my mother needed to know, and that I couldn’t upset her.

I upset her when I cut my hair. I upset her when I mentioned changing my name, let alone doing it. I upset her by deflecting even slightly from what she wanted.

I couldn’t let her know I wasn’t a girl.

So I moved away from my family, tried to be more like myself. I was closeted still, but I felt, this time, like I had surrounded myself with the right sort of people.

Admitting my queerness came easily at first. Some knew what I meant, had always wondered, and were willing to buy me a drink, talk over it. They were good friends: they were there when I needed them.

Others outed me to other people, stopped inviting me to things. They were bad friends: I’m glad I had the chance to find out when I did.

I had a partner of a year and a half. I told him.

It was bad. It got worse, stagnated and never got better again. To him, my life would be easier if I just sucked it up and pretended to be a woman.

I was a decorative object for his arm, and that was an end of it. I had upset him by telling him how I felt, and although he couldn’t forgive me, he would at least accept me as long as I made more of an effort to grow my hair and wear makeup.

It sickens me now to think I put up with that for two more years. But being “other” has a funny way of screwing with your self-worth.

It wasn’t the only relationship my being trans had buggered up. My dysphoria with my first girlfriend was so bad I couldn’t have sex with her. My emotional difficulties made it impossible to handle being in a relationship with someone else when I first started college.

All the trans people I knew were in relationships with other trans people, or were poly, or ase. I had no idea how to approach relationships from a trans perspective.

I tried the internet. I declared myself non-binary transgender on my OKC profile, and was subjected to daily microaggressions. People opened a conversation by asking what genitals I had, whether it was just a “cool” way of saying bisexual, or by expecting an in-depth political discussion.

I nearly managed to make connections with people. But it either ended with me realising that they were taking everything too seriously and were no fun, or were having too much fun and weren’t taking me seriously.

Then, without wanting to, I met someone.

I was trying to get a girlfriend. Pretending to be a woman and trying to get a girlfriend, in the hope that a queer woman was more likely to “get” it than anyone else.

But then when I started on my PGCE course, I met a really nice arse.

The really nice arse was pleasant enough. I like a good arse. The person it was attached to was a bit of a busybody, mind. Kept turning up and asking if I was going to be doing Sociable Things. The owner of the nice arse became irritating in that his constantly being about made it kind of hard not to think about the nice arse.

Things came to a head when the owner of the really nice arse tried to buy me coffee. I insisted on paying for it, but the damage was already done. I spent the next hour and a half desperately trying not to think about not only the nice arse, but its owner. Also, the fact I didn’t drink coffee, but had still accepted one from this arse-owning moron was slightly bothersome.

The owner of the really nice arse captained a sports team. I joined the sports team. I went on a social with other members of the sports team. Consumed beverages. Ended up consuming a few too many things with bubbles in, and said I was going home. He offered to take me back to his for whisky and conversation.

Of course I went. And we had the whisky, and the conversation, and things got shared. He has AS. He’s been watching me and cataloging my stims (repetitive actions that people use to calm themselves down or otherwise feel good). Talking to him was exposing and frightening and honest, and told me that he wasn’t just the owner of a really nice arse. He was a person worth speaking to. Let’s call him J.

It got late, and I got tired, and he ordered me a taxi. As we said goodbye, he stood on the doorstep.

“I don’t really know, but were you wanting a kiss?” he asked.

“I don’t know. Sort of, yeah, but it’s not that important. It’d be nice, but if you don’t want to, that’s fine.”

“Okay. You should know that I don’t really do one-night-stands or anything.”

He said something else. It was one in the morning and I’d had quite a lot of things with fermented sugars in. I wasn’t, if I’m honest, listening. I looked as attentive as I could and came to the conclusion that I would not be getting my kiss.

“Okay,” I nodded.

I got my kiss, which was a surprise. Again, I wasn’t paying attention to begin with, but I got there. Then I went home.

It suddenly occurred to me that I should have been listening to him before I (unknowingly) accepted that kiss. It was somehow contractual, and I hadn’t read the Terms and Conditions.

I spent the next few days trying to figure out what they were. There was always the possibility that he didn’t remember the fact we’d kissed. So, I invited him over on Saturday, and we talked it through.

There was someone else. Not in a meaningful way, but in a he’d got stupidly drunk and it was before he even thought I might like him so they shagged kind of a way. I was like, “But it’s me, though, isn’t it?” and gave him the option to go for a beer and let things take their inevitable course.

They did.

So then, almost out of nowhere, I had a boyfriend. Which was good, because J is awesome and a nerd, but bad because he may have been under the impression that I was his girlfriend.

Three weeks later, walking through a shopping centre, we were talking about a friend of mine, who J had assumed to be female. I just tended to avoid pronouns when talking about him, because at that time I wasn’t sure how he identified, as his presentation was very fluid.

J went on a rant about how people shouldn’t get upset when you use the wrong pronouns if they haven’t told you. I felt, as you might understand, like this was particularly relevant. So I grabbed him by the shirt-front and turned him to face me.

“What’s the mattter?” he asked.

“I’m not female,” I replied, desperate. “I’m not male either, but I’m not female.”

That was the moment. That was the moment I would look back on as the one where everything fell apart. I knew, because I’d been there before.

“Okay. I sort of knew. I like it, in a way, that you’re not female.”

No refusal, no condemnation, no stupid questions, no denial. Just accepting my gender identity like it’s the most average thing in the world.

He doesn’t know other trans people. He never identified as queer. He’s just a decent human being who accepts he can never empathise, but isn’t going to treat me as something I’m not.

I’m not saying J is special. It’s early days. But he helped me realise that I am worth something, not dressed up to look like something else, not as an accessory, but as who I am. He treats me like a human being.

I don’t want to be treated differently. I understand why NBs get called “special snowflakes” but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to torch the morons alive for saying it. Because I’m not special. I’m ordinary, just like everyone else. And I’ve finally found someone who makes me feel ordinary.

If J feels like that, he can’t be the only one. Good people who don’t expect a cookie every time they’re nice to a queer person.

Trans people don’t have to choose between being authentic and being loved. I know this now.

SItrep: Writing day 96

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I tried to write about why I had a terrible wordcount yesterday- just 199. However, it quickly degenerated into an unashamed and unapologetic expression of feeling. This is why.

I am not a political person. When I vote, I vote for the candidate who will do me the most good. I am not altruistic. However, as a direct result of being a “minority”, some things sting. In writing my novel, I hope to express non-binary transgenderism in a way that means something to people with no personal experience of such, so that those little accidental stings go away.

My point is not political. It is a self-serving demand to be recognised. Yes, there is a part of me who hopes that a child might read my blog or my Tumblr and find in it solace, or answers. But mostly it is a response to the injustice I have witnessed and lived.

A few things happened yesterday which bothered me as a person. This made it impossible for me to write my novel coherently. I was not upset, merely disappointed in the world. It made me realise that there is something radical and unpleasant about me which angers people.

It made me question the point of my novel.

Charlie, my main character, is, like me, non-binary transgender. If I am hated, and I am real, then what hope is there for Charlie?

I’ll recover. I technically don’t need to start until Wednesday. But that doesn’t mean I’m not world-weary.

It’ll be better tomorrow. It has to be.