The magic of gender affirming hormone therapy (GAHT)
You can read as much as you like about what it feels like to take hormones as part of gender transition, but it doesn’t seem to capture direct experience. As you can imagine, well before making such a life-changing step, I read pretty much everything I could get my hands on. In fact, my first conscious memory of doing so was when I was 8 and found a book in the library about male to female sex change operations. Go figure. Surprised I ended up here? Nope. Relieved. Yup.
Is this a case of your mileage may vary (YMMV)? Or is it that it is so abstract relative to our daily consciousness? Or are the feelings, whether physical or otherwise, so subtle at first, that it is difficult to put them into a structure as harsh as words?
And I am not talking about something simple like breasts/no breasts…and any way, those kinds of changes, as dramatic as they are, come on very slowly.
When one rattles down the list of likely and expected changes there are a whole bunch of undesirables and just as many desirables. For instance. Breast cancer. Mood swings. Physical weakness. Greater ease of weight gain. Most people would classify all of those things as negatives, but one is appealing to me—physical weakness. I am not saying that in absolute terms, but in relative terms. And what do you do about it? Become more clever? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Is it possibly the same with the male and female of our species—the trade of strength for brains, for beauty, for power of another kind? Necessity as the mother of invention?
Most trans-femme people want breasts, the bigger the better. Breasts were the thing that held me back the most. There is something incontrovertible about breasts. And I am not sure how they will look on my lanky frame. I understand why so many trans folks want them to be as big as possible—it is a question of proportion, and validation.
I pray mine are as small as possible. One of my therapists was instrumental in helping me come to terms with this. She offered the possibility of breast reduction, sharing that she had done it herself. She is a truly gorgeous woman, and her openness was instrumental to me letting go of that fear.
Although I feel as if I look the same when I look in the mirror something is happening. My estranged brother and I have made peace with one another. I said to him, “I look exactly the same.”
“No you don’t,” he said. “Of course, it’s still you, but the energy you’re putting out is totally different,” and he showed with his own hands the shape of an aura. I wrote about how I feel smaller, and I’ve read other trans women noting that on oestrogen they feel they occupy less spiritual space. And yet, I am far more visible, and I feel stronger most of the time. Strange and beautiful. I savour every minute, and know that I am a step closer to my dream of being able to live the final chapter of my life in the body I’ve always felt inside me.