It is not my intention to turn this blog into a T journal, in which I document each physical change, but I do think you should know that I have started T. I requested to be on a quarter of a dose, but my doctor accidentally prescribed me a half dose, and I now think that I may remain on a half dose. It was fear and a desire to feel absolutely in control of the changes that would occur that made me request a quarter dose initially. I didn’t want to be disoriented by a rapidly changing body and voice, and I wanted to be able to stop before I went “too far” if need be.
As these hesitations reveal, as much as I want to transition, I’m also a bit fearful of it. For me, the strange part is knowing that I want to look more male in certain very specific ways, yet not having a clear sense of what that will actually look and feel like. The void in front of me makes me want to proceed with caution. And yet, when I surf the internet, video after video, photo after photo of FTMs in transition elicit a response of wonder, desire, and identification. Yes, this is what I want for myself, this is who I am.
This past week, I’ve had to admit to myself that the truth is I want to pass %100 of the time.
It feels big to say this, because I’ve been holding onto the idea that a partial hormonal transition would be all I needed and that I would be happy continuing to look a little androgynous. The idea of moving very slowly was that somewhere along the way, I would feel happy and know to stop (or switch to a lower maintenance dose). And maybe this will still happen. But the fact is, that after the first week passed, I could not stop myself from giving myself another shot (of .5 ml of 100mg/ml) thereby maintaining myself on a half dose instead of waiting another week, which would have made my levels average at a quarter of a dose.
I was having PMS and wanted it to stop, and I was feeling that I could just no longer handle being misgendered and seen as female. I took a full day to think about before giving myself the second shot and concluded that I really did want to start seeing some pretty visible changes and I really did want folks to read me as male. Since I have a ways to go before this will happen, I see no reason to be on a quarter of a dose.
This decision may not seem that significant, but it is. It marks a distinct switch – I’ve been trying to not see going on T as a big deal, to view it as a continuation of my process of masculinization rather than the start of a definitive transition from female to male. But the truth is that looking more masculine is not my goal. My goal is to transition; that is, to step over the threshold such that people see me as male.
Sitting at home by myself, I can be vague about what I want or how far I want to go. But, as soon as I step out of the door, it’s a different story. It defies all rationality, how elated I am and how good I feel when I pass (especially in instances like today, when a cute gay Latino at the grocery store was convinced that he’d danced with me the other night and couldn’t believe that it was just a guy who looked like me), and how saddened, alienated, and just plain weird I feel when people read me as female.
I know some people transition primarily because they want to have a certain body. The fact that others will see them as male is a sort of bonus. I’m transitioning so that others will see me as male. It is the male body that is the enjoyable bonus effect. I want the male body, but I need the male recognition.
I’m excited and awed by this medically-facilitated project of self-transformation, a project that I have set into motion by accessing T and selecting my dosage, but that ultimately will be the work of my cells, genes, and tissue. I’m filled with a sense of the sacred as I await the changes that will come. Downplaying this process did not work; the sense that something wondrous is happening to me is too strong.
More than anything else, I think I am electrified by the idea gradually seeing my male face emerge.
At the same time, I know that this is essentially an artificial process, made possible by science and by my own repeated self-injections. That’s why cyborgmanifesto’s youtube videos, which acknowledge and embrace the cyborgean nature of transition, have proved so compelling to me. For me, it is necessary to accept and embrace the freakish and not fully natural character of the change I’m embarking on; better, to celebrate it. So I close with two more of cyborgmanifesto’s videos.
The first, which envisions the genderqueer transperson as a cyborg visiting a world of organics really resonated with me during a moment of melancholy alienation with the cis world. The second is an interesting intervention into the genre of the transition photomontage. Many transmen set their photomontages to a dude rock soundtrack in order to create a sonic narrative of manly struggle and triumph centered on a heroic individual. Cyborgmanifesto’s foray into this genre, however, is contemplative, eerie, dreamlike, and slightly alienated, thanks to a fairy tale technological soundscape evocative of dubbing, radiowaves, and multidirectional temporality. The two-dimensional image we see layered in this soundscape is less a volitional protagonist than someone dreamed up by the soundscape, whose eyes hauntingly reflect that dream back to us. More than any I’ve seen, this video captures the way I feel about transition as a process at once alienating and wondrous, the stuff of science fiction and the stuff of fairy tales, not the project of a sovereign individual, but rather an eerie, decentering siren call.
Becoming a cyborg is certainly more meaningful than becoming a man.