Transgender rights are in the news. Yay for the Trudeau government! It reminded me once again of my interest in having accurate information regarding trans issues out there and easily accessible. I often hear rather amusing comments and assumptions (some of which I used to believe myself) about the transitioning process, and I’d like to dispel a few of these myths. As someone who is transitioning from female to male, most of my comments will be on that and not so much on male to female transitioning, as I don’t feel qualified to make specific comments on that.
In case anyone wonders about testosterone and whether it will cause some ghastly form of cancer, it is unlikely. That head of lettuce claiming to be organic may well give you cancer. So might the exhaust fumes of your car. So might your genetic makeup. Our bodies are far more complex than any of us can fathom. Stress levels are more likely to trigger some of your cells into mad mutation cycles, and there is no shortage of reports from trans people that transitioning enormously reduces stress levels. The immense satisfaction at feeling recognized at last is immeasurable for many trans people.
Recognition from others is the social aspect — then there is the physical aspect. Hormones will actually change the body, which is a thrilling and magical process. And guess what? Transitioning need not come with costs to your sex life. I used to believe that it came with costs, and it is what some undoubtedly well-intentioned friends told me. Although experiences vary, it is more likely that transitioning will greatly improve your sex life. Getting a hysterectomy will not reduce your orgasm capability (this does not even happen for many post menopausal women who needed a hysterectomy), and it will not cause osteoporosis, nor will it suddenly make you age.
You are exchanging one hormonal system for another. Testosterone increases physical pleasure, increases bone density, gives you energy, causes muscle mass growth. And it will not suddenly make you fat and hairy (a comment I’ve heard several times!). These are largely determined by lifestyle and genetics. If you’re not into body hair there are easy solutions for that and as for weight issues, everyone needs exercise to keep in shape, and testosterone gives you more energy to go out and enjoy yourself. So, no matter how knowledgeable your friends or partners sound, get information from your doctor, your gynaecologist, from medical websites, or from the wonderful people at ANKORS here in Nelson.
And lastly, testosterone will not give a person roid rage. Steroid abuse may contribute to anger issues in some people, but steroid abuse is not remotely the same as someone taking testosterone at normal male levels. In fact, normal levels of testosterone contribute to feelings of well being and emotional stability (as do good friends!).
This is only the tip of the iceberg of an obviously big topic, so anyone wondering about or needing information on trans stuff should take the time to gather as much and as accurate information as possible. Question the things you believe. More than likely there is another possibility and another perspective out there!
Riel Schubert, Nelson