I don’t feel like she’s oppressing me but…

How do you counter someone who has doubts about your want to go on HRT?

I have doubts myself, and my therapist, whom I trust and like as a person (she has the bestest laugh!) thinks that I should think about whether I’m imposing unattainable male images onto myself.  Or was when I was skinny.

It’s something to think about.

I remember wanting to look more like a guy when I was in Portland, but too scared of all of the other changes that would happen.  So I didn’t go on T.

I’m still afraid of the changes that might happen, even if I go on a low dose of Androgel – I don’t know if I want to think more like a guy.

At the same time, I feel like I need a change.

Is this the change that I want?  It scares me.

I don’t know how to explore if I’ve internalized gay male images.  I said I wanted to look like a young gay boy, which is only partially true, but it was a red flag for her.  She’s done work, I take it, on male and female body image and pointed out that a lot of women want to look either like a 12-year-old girl (androgynous, no hips at all, angular face) or a young gay man.  she pointed out that most modes – male and female – have eating disorders to acheive that no-curves look.  She’s new to the whole trans* thing and I can teach her stuff.

But the thing is, it’s my face that I want to change.  I know that I have some shitty body image issues that are related to being fat / being too curvy (in the past), but I don’t really regard my body with the same kind of ambivalence that I do my face.  

Like I said in an earlier post, I want to look like Mark from Rent.  I think that’s a healthy face aspiration to have.  He’s not overly skinny but still has a male jawline and cute hair like mine.  Same for Trey Anastasio.

I’m thinking, though, that I should wait and lose some weight before I make a final decision to go on T.  That’ll clear up a good portion of the body image issue that is just really intertwined with the wanting to look more like a boy issue.

It’s funny.  “Would losing weight clear this up?” “Would a more masculine haircut do it?” These are the questions that I regularly ask myself.  I haven’t done either, but since they’re so pervasive maybe I need to address them first.  How much is enough?

I know that I’m going to have to educate her on genderqueerness – that I can not want a male body but still want to be on T – in the long run. She said that I’ll have a few weeks before my next appointment to research. And I think I’m gonna do some research for _her_ – get and print out an article or two from my Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary book for her to read.

She’s open-minded, but needs to know a little bit more about where I’m coming from. What’s better than an article or two to supplement what I’ve already told her?

 

 

 

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17 Comments

  1. Sometimes being trans* is like playing whack-a-mole. You get one piece down and another pops up. I’ve always had short hair and worn butch/men’s clothing, but was overweight (160-190lbs, and I’m 5’4). When I started to lose weight I became much more aware of my breasts, to the point of getting very serious about top surgery (which I still want to do). On the other hand, men’s clothing fit me much better, and I definitely look more masculine (as long as I wear a binder).
    Probably what your therapist is after is for you to figure out what you will look like as a man (on T) and understand that you will still look like you, just more like your brother or cousin, than like your sister. For better or worse, you won’t turn into Anthony Rapp.

  2. I think is a swell idea to educate your therapist! I’m doing the same for mine! I’ve recently moved and never had a male therapist before but so far it’s working out really well! He has much to learn about me and genders in general but he can still really help me 🙂 I’m glad you’ve found someone who can help you aswell!

    • Thanks! I’m looking forward to educating her, and learning more what her take on genders are. She’s said before that there are so many genders out there on the male-female scale (I see it more as a circle, but oh well. 🙂 ), so I’d love to learn more from her as well!

      • I’ve always seen gender as a sort of 2D scale/spectrum, I’d love for you to explain the circle either here or in a post another day 🙂

  3. I’m lucky to work with a queer therapist who is familiar with trans* people. I also struggle with body image issues that go beyond trans* related body dysphoria, though I like to think that much of that dysphoria is related to my dislike for my curves (I’ve tried so damn hard to embrace them!). I brought this up with my therapist before starting T… my concern that some of my more deeply seeded issues will not magically clear up when I start to take on a more masculine physique. My therapist was very receptive and never doubted my intentions to transition, but we work together on the other issues that have to do with my body image issues. Obviously, we’re different and what’s right for me isn’t what’s right for you… I want to be read as male… transitioning is making me feel complete in that sense. But maybe think about the fact that T may very well make you gain weight… and muscle if you’re working out… that you’re not just going to magically take on the physique of a gay man or that only your face will restructure itself to have that perfectly chiseled manly jawline. I think if you’re having serious doubts that starting T may not be right just yet. Perhaps tackling more of the body image issues and how T will or won’t affect these should be further explored (which it sounds like you’re doing). Also… if you’re certain you want to transition and where you live you need mental health sign off for anything, there’s a serious power balance that should be considered by you and your therapist… like they have control over your happiness with your body and that they can take that away from you. You should be working together on this.

    • You know, I’ve thought about the power balance since that conversation too. I thought it would be an easy conversation to have, she’d be like, “Sure! Of course I can write you a letter!” When she didn’t, I even considered going to a therapist I know through the queer community (not sure about this either – she’s a little overbearing) to talk to her about transitioning so I can get a more balanced perspective. I know my current therapist has my best interests in mind, but I was expecting an informed consent approach and I’m getting something much more complicated and I’m not sure I like it. Thank you so much, by the way, for such a thoughtful response. You brought up a lot of food for thought that I’m gonna chew on. I know I won’t magically transform into a chiseled gay man, but, darn it, that’s what I’ve got in my head lol.! And yeah, I’m definitely working on losing weight before I begin anything, just to be sure.

      • I was mostly curious about state because I thought all of California did an informed consent policy. I’m down in Oakland. Though I’m also lucky that my surgeon doesn’t require mental health sign off unless my insurance carrier wants it… which as of now, that’s not looking necessary.

      • Wow, informed consent in California is definitely something to look into. I’ll have to research that. Yeah, it’s nice to not have a mental health requirement, and I’m glad that’s becoming more and more common. Trust people to be responsible for themselves when they say they want something. Who’s your surgeon, just out of curiosity? Are you happy with them so far?

      • Dr. Crane. I am happy with him… He specializes in ftm and mtf related surgeries. Everyone there is super nice, friendly and helpful. I am lucky that my insurance covers the surgery in full so I can seek private care. The doctor at the surgery center next door to his office, where he does the surgeries, is conducting a study about layering scars to make them fade faster and he’s getting me into the study. So, yes… very satisfied. I could have made up the informed consent in California, but it is definitely a more widespread accepted practice.

  4. In my experience (which is not the same as yours, I know) most of my body issues are being dealt with while I am/by my being on T. I was actively eating disordered for a decade, and after recovering from that and being recovered for about three years, I’m finally on T and YES there’s a hormone part that sucks and so I have some issues still, but there’s also a sense of “I’m fixing this. I’m taking care of it” that helps me get through the rougher patches.

    • I’m so glad you’re working through the rough patches and the sucky parts of body stuff, as well as recovered from an eating disorder. Way to go, you! Thank you so much for posting and sharing your story with me. I’ve decided to work on the hating my (fat) body part right now and then later on consider T. At this point. Can change any day, lol.

      • And that’s the best part of all this, in my experience, and from what I’m hearing from most non-binary folks I know– can change any day.

        So chin up 🙂

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