Ask Gabriel: Doing What’s Right For You

Hi Gabriel,

How has Testosterone affected your life (positively). Did T make you more aggressive? (Asking because I want to start taking T but my parents believe that it will damage my physical and mental/emotional health) – Anonymous

Despite no longer identifying as a transgender man, I don’t regret taking testosterone.  Outside of the physical changes it brought on my body, taking it had a positive effect on my life. It lead to me going out more rather than being stuck on a computer. I actually want to do things in life. I made friends with other people. Started to do things I never thought I could do, such as weightlifting and making YouTube videos. See, I used to be a VERY aggressive person before I started taking testosterone actually and after a brief initial period of mood swings, which is perfectly normal because your body is adjusting to it, I have calmed down considerably. I’m not looking for fights or even engaging with nasty people like I used to.

People who say testosterone will automatically make you more aggressive are sadly misinformed – those who are aggressive on T are either taking too much testosterone (in which case, they should be lowering their dose) or that is just a part of who they are as a person. It is very important that your T levels are monitored regularly by your PCP or endocrinologist.

I’m not saying taking hormones will solve all your problems but it will improve your mental health considerably if your dysphoria (whatever that may be) is the root cause of why you are struggling. And if you have any other problems that don’t relate to your gender dysphoria, taking hormones and being more comfortable with yourself will definitely make it easier to overcome them.

As for your parents, their concerns are quite valid and I would highly suggest they look through the following links:

http://www.hrc.org/explore/topic/transgender-children-youth
http://www.transequality.org/about-transgender
http://www.transyouthequality.org/for-parents/

If nothing else, you can have them contact me if they have any further questions. I  would totally be happy to answer them!

Hi Gabriel,

What advice would you give to a transguy who is not out to his parents? How to look more masculine, bind safely, etc. –  Cooper Alex

This would highly depend how open your parents are to people that fall under the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and how much leeway they give you. I say this because as someone who came from a Latino household, I was not allowed many of the freedoms my American peers generally were given. I was not allowed to cut my hair short, dye my hair a different color or get tattoos, for example. Are you allowed to do any of those things? If so, getting your haircut short would be a good start. Pick out some clothes that are considered unisex, if not allowed to get anything masculine, when going out to shop with your parents. I assume that you are underage and filed as a dependent; in which case, coming out may be inevitable because transitioning is EXPENSIVE.

Binding is a different matter because it depends on how big your chest area is. Some use KT Tape (I would not recommend but it is an option) if you are small enough to begin with. Some use sport bras to help flatten their chest. Most who have larger chest sizes are going to need a binder – popular brands that transmasculine people use are Underworks or GC2B. Wearing darker colored shirts can also help visually minimize your chest area!

Hope this helps, good luck friend! 😀

Hi Gabriel,

So, I’ve known I was transgender since I was in 2nd grade. I lived in a super small town in the middle of Iowa, but the people there didn’t really say much to me when I came out. They accepted it and just didn’t talk about it. I moved around a lot throughout high school and just recently graduated. That was when I met a lot more trans people in my community. There was a boy named Alex who started T over the summer and he looks so confident now. I want to be that confident as well. I’ve researched all sorts of trans related topics such as top surgery, insurance, hormone replacement therapy and binding. I just turned 18 on august 10th and I’m thinking I should start T. I’m beyond nervous to make an appointment to start T because I’m afraid I won’t be able to start it for money reasons. My family isn’t exactly good financially but I really need to start T soon or I think my depression will kick in overdrive. Do have any advice for a young ftm dude that just became an adult? How do I go about navigating my way through hospital visits, and insurance? Thank you so much for any advice!! – Dakota

Well, have you searched for places that offer transgender services? Do you have insurance? If so, it would be wise to call them (yes, you’ll have to potentially out yourself to the person over the phone) and ask if your plan covers trans-related care, what your deductible is, etc. If the insurance will cover it, then you’ll have to find an endocrinologist or a clinic that takes said insurance to pay for bloodwork and then a pharmacy that accepts it.

While people do still have therapy sessions with a gender therapist, informed consent clinics are also an option because it’ll cut through the months you may be spending in therapy before you even get a referral. I would look into informed consent clinics where you live such as Planned Parenthood who offer transgender services on a sliding scale (meaning your copay will depend on your income). Not all of their clinics offer these services though so I would find a Planned Parenthood near you, call the number and ask ahead if they do. Maybe a nearby LGBTQIA+ center or a transgender support group (if available) near you could help point you to the right direction where you can start hormones on a low income.

I hope you will be able to start hormones as soon as possible!

Got a question for Gabriel? Submit them here and they will be answered in a future post!

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