Feeling Hormonal

As I inch closer to the doctor’s appointment that will be my first step towards starting hormones, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection about why I want to take them.

The primary reason is to see how I respond to them. After reading many, many stories of other trans people, starting hormones appears to be a bit of a screening test in that it either seems to confirm or deny that it is the proper course of treatment for a subset of transgender people.

In my own case, I have serious ambivalence about a positive or a negative response, and further ambivalence about either reaction.

If I have a positive response that brings a measure of relief to the gender discomfort I have, I’ll be happy about that. But at the same time it would be sobering and downright scary, as it would seem to indicate that I might need to progress further in transition will all the attendant challenges to relationships and employment.

With a negative response, it might relieve the self-imposed pressure I feel to transition and it would remove a huge obstacle in the relationship with my wife. The scary bit here is then trying to find a priori basis for the gender bending feelings I do have and how to accommodate them.

I’m also trying to prepare myself that no clear answer may emerge after I start hormones, and that I’ll have to continue the hard work of blazing my own gender trail.

Mostly though, I yearn for hormones to bring some certainty and clarity to my gender experience, which often leaves me feeling uncertain and muddled. I remind myself that getting the prescription is one step, filling it is another, actually taking it is yet another, and that I get to decide which steps I take. I further remind myself that wondrous journeys of a lifetime can begin even with halting, hesitant, or uncertain steps, and that the journey is the reward if I’m pay attention.


About cistotrans

A Seattle-area trans woman seeking a happy spot to stay at along the path of transition.
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2 Responses to Feeling Hormonal

  1. Stacey Adams says:


    I look forward to reading how this turns out for you. Having just started hormones one month ago, I can't tell you about a lot of changes yet. There are very mild but definite physical changes, and I'm starting to get that sense of inner peace people talk about… just now as I've filled my 2nd month's worth of hormones.

    It's interesting that you're using the hormones as a litmus test. I think given the risks and the fact that, if you are on them for very long, some of their changes will be permanent, if you determine that this isn't the right direction for you, you'd do best to make that determination awfully quickly to prevent being potentially stuck with things like female breasts or possibly smaller and/or nonfunctional male genitalia. I'm sure you and your therapist have discussed it at length, though, as that's what they are there for.

    Keep us posted, dear! It's a pivotal, exciting time in your life.



  2. Jenn Ifer says:

    Thanks for writing, Stacey.

    With regards to permanent changes, I already have kids and a vasectomy, so sterilization is a non-issue. Since breast growth takes a couple of years and I'm seeking a very low dose of estrogen, I'm not expecting rapid growth there and hope to discover my mental/physical reaction prior to any big physical changes kicking in. Testicle and genitalia shrinkage as well as sexual function is a concern, but this is something I'm planning on covering with the doctor to get a clearer picture of how a low-does regime correlates with time to impact.

    I'm really trying to find a happy spot for my brain without having to undergo significant body modification. It might be impossible to achieve, but I feel I have to try. I'm following the adage and spirit of “don't transition unless you really have to” here as much as possible.


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