Ask Gabriel: Surgery and Labeling Yourself

Ask Gabriel is an advice column series where you can get your questions answered about being transgender, coming out, changing your name, hormones, sexuality, representation, dating, etc. These are questions that have been submitted to me by transgender and nonbinary people! You can read my last column here.

Hi Gabriel,

I’m 15 years old and I have been seeing my gender therapist for around eight months now (I have been out as FTM for around a year and a half now) and she refuses to let me begin my transition in fear that I’ll grow out of it. (By that, I mean she won’t let me begin testosterone). I am pre-everything and the way I look is starting make me pass less and less. I can’t change therapists because she’s the only one near me! (I live in a very conservative area) Any advice would be greatly appreciated! – Sebastian

Have you asked them what specifically makes them feel you will grow out of this? It might have been certain things you have disclosed to this therapist, which led them to believe that waiting would be best for the moment Also, you will more than likely need parental permission to go on testosterone (as you are underage) so that is most likely the reason than anything else. But this is just guesswork so please ask your therapist at your next session and then, depending on what they say, make a case for yourself that it is not temporary. Good luck!

Hi Gabriel,

I’m a transgender man and I’m really nervous about my future. How was your experience with top surgery? I’ve never had surgery in my life and it sounds so scary! And being on testosterone, I assume you are as you have facial hair, are the shots painful? Everything is so new to me and scary. – Adrienne

My top surgery experience itself was smooth sailing though there were times where it was annoying, having the tubes rubbing up against the compression vest when I had drains. Overall though, I am very happy with my results and I can relate to you feeling scared. I never had surgery (I don’t count teeth extraction as surgery, really) and I was really nervous about it myself but I blinked my eyes and next thing I knew I was in the recovery room. They really knocked me out even though I don’t remember it.

As for testosterone shots, they’re only painful if you don’t do them right. The nurse did my injections for me in the beginning while simultaneously trying to teach me how to do it myself. It gets easier and easier to do in the thigh, I promise!

Hi Gabriel,

First I have to say that you are a great person and I have been following you on YouTube for a while now. I really appreciate you honesty and hope you continue doing what makes you happy.

My question is: I have been trying to figure out my gender identity for a little over four years and this past year I found that trans women fits nicely, but I sometimes I don’t identify with any gender. I still prefer to use female pronouns and a more feminine name and dress more feminine (because anything masculine gives me dysphoria). So I guess I want to know, could I just be nonbinary? Please help. Thank you and will continue to watch as long as you stay honest. – Kate

You could be! I always tell people that there’s no rush in trying to find the right label, you are still you no matter what. There are nonbinary folks out there who look like any other binary trans person out there; the beauty of being nonbinary is that anyone can look like anything or nothing at all! I identify as nonbinary myself, even though most people would look at me and automatically say I am male.

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

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