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Low dose vs. high dose

19 Feb

I went to the Dr today to have a chat about my T levels since starting the upped dose of 200mg from my half dosage of 125mg. My last blood tests from Dec ’14 show that my testosterone levels are higher (12?) than my previous tests where the were at a 9. He informed me that they like T levels to be around 14(?) as these are within the ‘normal’ male range. Of course this range is to continue masculinizing effects…so what about me?

I upped my dose a few months ago to see if it would change my energy levels and libido. Since the end of last year I have taken some time off over Christmas so feel rested – is it the T or the break that helped me feel less tired? In-between all of this my libido hasn’t changed, I’ve never felt that urge that other trans* guys talk about. One worry is my hairy back and how much hair I am loosing in the shower! To add to this list is whether my voice will change if I stop T all together, as in will it get a little higher? A big reason I don’t want to stop T completely at the moment is not wanting to deal with having a period again.

For now I am staying on the same 200mg dose for another three six shots and then have a blood test.

 

 

30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 20

17 Jan

How has your relationship with the cisgender people in your life changed?

I am not sure that my relationship with the cisgender people in my life has changed that much, then again now I think about it I think it actually has.

Before I started T cisgender people who aren’t queer in my life saw me as a lesbian/dyke, while those who were part of the LGBTI/queer community too saw me as androgynous/tomboy, female.  Now, I feel queer cisgender people see me as trans* or ‘different’ because they hear my voice has changed or that I have facial hair.  Non-queer cisgender people, such as family and work colleagues, see me still as possibly as a lesbian but I don’t really know because I dare not think or ask what they see in me. So in a way I’ve pulled away from some people because they don’t understand and in a way I don’t know what to say or how to explain.

I feel I can’t be genderqueer around my queer cisgender friends or acquaintances because they don’t ‘get’ what it means. I can’t be trans* because in their eyes it means transition from one gender to another. With non-queer cisgender people I feel like a freak. I cannot explain who I am or who I want to be. I shave before I go to work just so they don’t notice my facial hair too much.

I’ve always had a small group of friends, however I feel starting T and changing has caused me to pull away from people who don’t understand. Yet I ask how can other understand when I don’t make a point to stop and explain?

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 18

25 Nov

What is your sexual and romantic orientations? Are they affected by your gender?

Pre-genderqueer and T I identified as a lesbian/dyke and found myself sexually and romantically oriented to cis-women mostly, and the few trans* guys I happened to glimpse upon.

Pre-testosterone I identified as queer and was sexually and romantically oriented to other genderqueers, trans* and non-binary folk.

Currently my sexual orientation is non-existant, however it has returned back to lesbians, as well as encompassing ‘guys’, genderqueers, trans* and non-binary folk. Romantically however I am not quite sure…

I don’t think my gender affected my sexual and/or romantic orientations – apart from confusing how I identify and what it would make me if I liked ‘a’, ‘b’ or ‘c’. I feel T has affected my sexual orientation, or who I am sexually attracted to, with the most obvious change being cis-guys.

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

30 Day Genderqueer Challenge Day 17

6 Nov

How has your relationship with yourself been affected since you realized you were Genderqueer?

I was actually just thinking about this before I started work today. A few months ago I verbally removed myself from the lesbian community, saying I didn’t consider myself a lesbian or wanting anything to do with this part of the community. I think in part I felt abandoned by some of my dyke friends and also felt myself becoming neither one thing or the other, so how could I fit it. In hidsight I wish I hadn’t jumped to conclusions and sat with what had been going on for me internally.

Since realizing I was genderqueer I’ve felt a sense of relief, like it was ok to feel like this and want to start homones but not necessarily have surgery or want to be seen an exclusively male. This however is a difficult path and one I am still exploring and battling against.

I thought after starting T  I would begin to feel more comfortable with myself. In a way I have and a lot of it is about positive changes I was wanting – not having a menstrual cycle, my voice dropping, facial hair and an increase in libido. On the other hand I’ve had moments where I panicked about my voice changing/having changed, being turned off by body hair increasing, seeing my libido turning me away from sex with others, and feeling at times confused with where I am going with all of this (T). I guess you could say that my relationship with myself since strating hormones has been a rollercoaster.

Adapted from the 30 day Trans challenge and the 30 day [GSM] challenge

Started 200mg of T

16 Oct

I’m at work and I’ve just consumed a 375ml of Coke Zero and a snack pack of Barbecue Shapes. I started my 200mg of T today with the thought of trialing this dose for the next nine weeks. My expectations aren’t high, but I am expecting an increase in energy and libido, the energy being my main goal. However I realise there may be some unwanted side effects too and for that I am going to have to wait and see. At the moment however, five-hours after my shot, I feel exhausted and a little spacey. I have another three hours of work and then I am done for the day.

My anxiety levels have increased again, however I have no idea if this is due to the T or other factors in my life. Thankfully I am seeing my counsellor again in a few weeks and go through my thoughts with her. I’ve been a little disconnected from other genderqueer peeps because it’s been one thing after another – first a cold, then facilitating training workshops, another bug/virus, being busy and work. I did however manage a few quick catch-ups and I am hoping to see a few other friends at dinner this Friday.

I’m however struggling a little keeping afloat in what feels like to me a mostly trans* world. Despite people’s best attempts to introduce the topic of gender-neutral pronouns, mine were quickly forgotten, in several circumstances, when I was referred to as ‘she’. There were two events where this happened:

  • I’ve been facilitating a training course for newbie counsellors within the LGBTIQ community where I am amongst two gay men, two lesbians and a trans* guy. At the begining of the course we all stated our preferred pronoun when introducing ourselves. Despite being the only person preferring gender-neutral pronouns (e.g. they, them etc.) I didn’t hear or find anyone slipping up. The next two weeks however was very different. First I heard a member of the training team slip up, so I made an effort to try and speak up. I normally let these kind of things go, so imagine when I gathered the guts and calmed my anxiety by casually saying what my pronoun preferences were. By the end of the day I felt bad because the poor person felt I could have perhaps told them in private (instead of with one person close by), which caused them to be quite upset. Anyhow without going on and on about the situation, I soon found several people started referring to me as ‘she’ and wondered why the trans* guy got to have their pronouns respected?
  • Second occurance was at a social afternoon with friends where I was very aware of being referred to as ‘she’. Now while I don’t mind being called ‘she’ when someone has made the effort to ask me of my preferred pronouns (I really don’t mind but prefer the use of ‘they’) I was suprised that these friends went for the ‘greater of two evils’. Another friend mentioned it at the end of the day as we were doing the dishes and asked if I had noticed and what my thoughts were. It was my own fault for not enforcing it and it’s made me a little more determined to speak up for myself.

Anyhow this weekend we have our second-last training session and I will be co-facilitating with Genderqueer Australia to present about counselling trans* clients. I initially wanted to give my personal story to make people aware about assumptions, perhaps even to stand up and say ‘hey I am not invisable!’. However as soon as I mentioned it to the rest of the training team the trans* guy offered to tell his (not sure who knows and it may also be a bit of a ‘coming out’). I think both stories would be very powerful, actually I think anyone’s story would be, but I am not sure this is the place to do that – at least not while I am presenting to a training team I am continuining to work with. It does however remind me of the incident in NZ, and my heart just sinks a little at how invisable I sometimes feel.

No tears genderqueer

24 Sep

I’ve just finished writing to someone on Livejournal who I’ve been corresponding with for a couple of months. I am so thankful for the few people who I am able to talk openly about taking T and being genderqueer, because in my day-to-day life I don’t talk much about it unless it’s for a workshop or as a guest speaker. It is funny that I am quite open with strangers but don’t really sit down with friends and talk about this kind of stuff. I don’t even know if some of my trans* friends know – or at least it may be known but I have never spoken about it.

I am due to increase my dose tomorrow but I am hesitant because I’ve already found it hard to cry in the last couple of weeks and I don’t feel 100% jumping from 125mg to 200mg – is it me or is that a HUGE jump. Can’t the Dr find a middle ground, like 175mg??? So maybe no increase for now. My main reasons (to increase my dose) were to see if it helped with my energy levels and sex drive – no I am not one of those people who suddenly has to hump everything in sight (thank goodness). As for the crying it isn’t something I am overly stressed about but I am glad I noticed it now. I’ve been fine up until a few months ago when I would find myself crying when upset, scared or watching a soppy movie. A few weeks ago however I bottled up my tears at a friend’s funeral and found myself unable to let the tears out afterwards. I think in general I am bottling a lot of emotions up so it may not be completely T related.

Genderqueer is my lived experience

27 Aug

Interrupt me if you’ve already heard me saying this… I saw my psychiatrist a few weeks to a month ago. It was a catch-up from seix-months ago when I last saw him and not much was said really. I feel pretty much the same about being on T and have no current desire to undergo any surgery. I did however learn that I had spoken to him six-months ago about this ‘tiredness’ that I have been feeling. His suggestion was to take two of my Vitamin D tablets in the morning, which I have done. I also mentioned that I wanted to increase my dose of T slightly to see if it helped with my energy levels at all. I checked with my Dr and should my results from tomorrow’s blood test go well I will be increasing to 200mg. I was going to start tomorrow but I have a busy day and an appointment at the dentist – too much for one day.

I bought myself a beard trimmer, thanks to help of my partner who has had some experience with these things. The electrical item is however still in its package and will probably remain so until I absolutley have to use it. I don’t mind being slightly scruffy and I really dislike having to shave/trim, however I do so I don’t stand out too much as so it’s not too noticable and other people freak out over not knowing what to say.  My shoulder hair however is something I would like to remove completely but again I lack the energy or enthusiasm to do so. In winter it is fine to just let it go, but my remedial massage appointments have created some anxiety for me in not knowing what the other person thinks.

What other people see and think about me is both important and unimportant. I used to desperately need to be seen as trans*/queer/genderqueer in order to feel I ‘fit’ or received some kind of acknowledgement. In a way I still need that, or at least I find myself wanting it when I feel invisable next to someone who is trans*. What I mean by that is sometimes I feel that being genderueer/me, choosing not to bind and keeping my name, my pronouns aren’t respected and I am overlooked when someone might be asking for a trans* opinion. Take for example recently being asked to be involved in a project where the organisation was wanting a trans* perspective. A trans* peer was asked and consulted with one other person, that other person wasn’t me. I admit I find it hard to stand up for myself at times and I do not discount that this plays a part. I knew choosing to take T wasn’t going to be easy and I think in a way it shows how hormones can help, but won’t suddenly change everything and make it better.

Something else that came up for me in the last month is how much I miss friends from overseas and the worry of how they will react to some of my changes. I’ve not spoken or seen some of my friends in more than three years. While we exchange the odd photo now and again they are completely unaware , toether with my family, about my decision to start T and identify as genderqueer. One of these friends is more of a brother and I love him to bits. I was always his little sister and he was my big brother. I still feel the same and still want to be what we are to one another, but I have no idea how he would feel about me being genderqueer. That sense of loss is unimaginable for me.

As I reflect on how my gender identity is part of my everyday life I am sad to be loosing another GLBTIQ ally at work. This person has been of such great support while I suggested changes to our policies and procedures relating to sex and/or gender identity, as well as my own personal disclosures to staff and team leaders about my pronoun and name preference. I feel like I am the only genderqueer in the village/at work, and in a way I think I am.

 

Questioning T

24 Jun

I missed the first FTM Shed gathering yesterday because I am still trying to get over my cold and was exhausted after attempting to walk around South Yarra, Prahan and Windsor. There was also a part of me that wasn’t too sure about going as I don’t identify as FTM or masculine identified. I wanted to go because I wanted to find someone else like me, but as I scrolled through the Facebook event list I saw ‘guys’ and ‘men’. I still don’t feel like one of the group and I think I never will be. I didn’t sign-up for hormones because I wanted to belong to a community, but I guess it would have been nice. Well there is always the next one…

Two-weeks ago I took a week off work, which meant I had three days off. What was supposed to be a relaxing week turned out to reveal that I was in fact burning out and was feeling a little low. I needed to withdraw from everything and everyone in order to feel stable again. I don’t feel I am quite there yet but the time off, plus last week when I had a cold, has given me enough energy to battle on. The reason why I mention this here is that it affected how I see my genderqueerness and how I related to it as well.

Over the past two months, where a lot happened, I gradually felt myself decline. I complained that I was constantly tired, couldn’t sleep well and found it hard to concentrate. During that time I also didn’t feel like I was ‘me’, meaning that my gender/genderqueerness was of no importance when needed to survive seemed to overwhelm me. I was a little confused when I realized this – was my identity and taking T even important anymore? I missed T shots, was overdue for others and thought “why do I both?” when I did. I am still struggling a little and still have the questions of “why is this so important?” when it is so easy to put it on the back burner?

Before going to bed last night I noticed that two-weeks of facial hair growth was obvious enough to me to have to do something about it. Annoyance mixed with disgust battled for attention as I took my hair clippers to my chin and sideburns. I was worried what people at work would think of a ‘chick’ with tits having facial hair. In my mind I was worried that facial hair wasn’t for me – unwanted side effects of T. I knew I would get facial hair, I got excited about it, I didn’t mind it, but now that I am getting a beard I am wondering if this is it? There is a lot more I could explore, like do I have an stopping point or what other changes am I wanting, what would I do if I continue and grow a beard? All questions asked of me pre-T, but I couldn’t answer because I had no experience. I wonder how many other people ask these questions of themselves…

I can say what I am happy with and what I want: deeper voice, some facial hair, no menstruation, being seen as more masculine, increased sex drive… I wonder if I can cope with the hair growth stuff? I mean, that seems to be the only thing really making me question taking T at the moment, but what is a bit of facial hair!?

T update

22 May

I am still on half a dose of Primoteston Depot 250 (injection) every 2-3 weeks.

Please note some of the content may not be suitable for individuals under 18 years of age.

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Coming-out Interstate

17 Apr

I’m just back from five days interstate where I visited a good friend and his partner. While I had apprehensions about going up I’ve returned home calm, happy and relieved. I finally had the opportunity to tell him face-to-face that I started T 10-months ago and how I felt about my genderqueer journey. All my fears about him not getting it and not understanding vanished when he asked me, 5mins after he picked me up from the YHA , about my voice and facial hair – his smiling face told me he was OK with it. I knew he would be, he’s been through this too, but there was a part of me that loved him so much and couldn’t imagine what it would be like if he didn’t get my genderqueerness. Anyhow I am now back home and miss him terribly.

After it all I realized how much I missed him during the beginning of this journey of mine. In-between all these months of T, changes, dysphoria and life he was missing, because I hadn’t told him – I went though some of this alone but am forever thankful to the handful of Melbourne friends that have always been there (on Facebook, GQA catch-ups and over chai and coffee).

In-between our catch-ups we also went to see Antony Hegarty and Charles Atlas’  screening of ‘Turning‘ which inspired me, together with Midwest GenderQueer, to really think about who I am, want to be and how I want to be seen. I am so open within GQA and my working within the sex and/or gender diverse community yet hide at work and at netball – what if people knew the ‘real me’ – and who is the ‘real’ me anyhow? This will be something of a mini-project for me over the coming months.