Experiences on Low Dose Testosterone

As any trans person who has made the decision to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or ‘hormones’ for short, will tell you, the experience of taking hormones is that of going through a second puberty. The body changes, the experience of emotions change, reactions change, even thought processes can change. Taking a low dose of testosterone over a long period of time is just a slower transition that taking a higher dose. The changes happen, but slowly, slowly… sometimes too slowly!

I made the decision to take low dose testosterone because I don’t actually want to look like a man. Many trans people who take testosterone (and I’m talking about masculine of centre trans people, or non-binary people whose bodies started out being fueled by oestrogen) WANT to look, to ‘pass’ as, male. I, however, simply want to stop looking quite SO female.

To be fair, I’ve always been quite muscular and broad shouldered, but gender clues are so subtle that even I cannot tell what it is that makes people still gender me as female. I have been on testosterone for almost 11 months now. I started out on a quarter sachet of gel, which I took for 3 months. Then I move up to a half sachet of gel for 8 months. Now I’m on a full sachet of gel (10 days and counting) and I’m really hoping that something more starts to change so that people stop automatically gendering me as female.

I think, on the whole, it is my voice that ‘betrays’ me. I’ve discussed this with other friends, trans and cis, and we agree that the range that I use when I speak is the factor that genders me female. When I speak with a more monotonous voice, I sound less female (and, consequently, more male). However, I don’t want to stop speaking in a musical voice just so that people stop gendering me female. I like colourful clothes and I enjoy being expressive and ‘camp’ or effeminate in my gestures – I don’t want to change these things about me.

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My awesome queer Testogel jar!

It is for this reason that I’ve decided to up my dose to a full sachet. I’m hoping that doubling my testosterone dose will somehow push my voice over the edge and make it break. I’ve felt it twinging each time I’ve upped my dose, but although it has definitely deepened, it has not yet broken. It seems the best option, as a deeper voice will hopefully mean that I stop getting gendered female, regardless of how flamboyantly gay I come across as with my speech and gestures.

Of course, if my voice does break I am then faced with the issue of being gendered male constantly. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with – that no matter how I change my body, I will always be gendered as either male or female. In our society there is no language for non-binary people, no understanding of our identity and thus no acknowledgement of our existence in everyday speech. It is frustrating, a battle that I will fight continuously until something changes. I protect myself from burnout by surrounding myself with wonderful people who respect my pronouns and don’t question my gender identity. It’s with their support, along with the increased comfort in my own body post-top surgery, that helps me to deal with daily misgendering (and deadnaming – but that’s for another post!)

 

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It’s good to be back!

I haven’t written in this blog for quite a long time – 9 months to be exact. I wanted to take a break from sharing my life online, and I also wanted to reevaluate what I share and what I keep private. Personally, I am feeling much more settled in my life. I have a well-paid job, I am happy in my personal life and I want to keep that side of my life private now.

Previously I would have shared all aspects of my life on this blog, but recently I’ve been driven more by the desire to privatise many aspects of my life. This is partly because I have found a greater sense of inner peace, and partly because I have returned to full-time work after 2 years of working freelance and minding my mental health. I don’t want to share so many aspects of my personal life on a platform that my colleagues can easily access, so I needed to evaluate what I was willing to share, and what I wanted to keep private.

I’ve spent the past few months reducing the number of friends I have on my Facebook account. I’ve removed everyone who I previously had on there for work purposes, and specifically people from the LGBT community who aren’t close/regularly-in-contact friends. Anyone who knows my work professionally in the sphere of trans activism knows that I founded and run the Non-Binary+ Northern Ireland group and can contact me using that email address, so I decided to remove those people from Facebook. I also removed a lot of younger trans people who I’ve met over the years from various trans events that I’ve run. I don’t want my Facebook to be used for trans support anymore, rather I want it to be a space for me to keep in touch with people who live further away from me but whom I consider close friends, and to access Facebook events for things I’d like to attend locally.

To this end I have also been reconsidering what to share/not to share on my YouTube channel. I have decided to limit this to transition-specific information, particularly relating to non-binary medical and social transition.

On this blog, I’ve decided to talk about my mental health, trans activism and non-binary related discussions. I know that there is a lack of information about non-binary transition options, both socially and medically, so I’m going to go back over my transition-related choices and discuss these in greater depth in the hope that they might help someone else looking for this information. I’m also going to discuss how I manage my mental health in a constructive, hopefully helpful way, particularly managing it while working full time and doing trans activism voluntarily part-time.

My aim is to write as often as once a week to twice a month, depending on my schedule, and I’m happy to address topics brought up by readers. To this end, I have created a page on this website for anyone to submit their questions anonymously, to which I will endeavour to respond to in a blog post within a month (depending on my schedule).

It’s good to be back!

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Last video on the My Genderation YouTube Channel…

I posted my last video on the My Genderation YouTube Channel today. It’s sad saying goodbye to the channel, but I’m happy to be moving back onto my personal channel. I’ll continue to do videos there, and I’m going to track my experience of low-dose testosterone and my top surgery!

 

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What makes non-binary gender real? 

What makes non-binary gender real? Is it social acceptance? Is it a box on a form? Is it your decision to legally recognise it?

No! Non-binary gender is real because we feel it, we are it, we LIVE it. 

What is a man? What is a woman? What does YOUR gender mean to you? How can you explain it to me, describe to me exactly how it feels to you to be a man, a woman? Have you ever wondered why you accepted your gender as it was given to you?

Privilege! That’s why you accepted it without ever knowing what it feels like to be told that you are something that you are not.

Judith Butler tells us that gender is ‘performative’. Many people misunderstand the meaning of this word. Performative does not mean ‘to perform’. In this context it means that gender is believed to be static through the effect of reiterated acting, while obscuring the contradictions & instability of an individual’s gender act. 

In this way the narrative of binary gender, of male and female polarities, of what “true gender” is, is reinforced through the punishment of those individuals whose gender act refuses to believe in the lies, and by the concealment of individual variations.
Because my gender, by its very existence, refutes the idea of the gender binary, society decides that it’s easier for me not to exist than to coexist, and I am denied, by consensus, access to my truth.
Yet I cannot stop being me. To do so would destroy me from the inside out. Why do you think the incidence of suicide is so much drastically higher in the trans community than in the cisgender population? I have tried to hide myself, to push myself away by wearing other cloaks, putting on others’ masks. The problem with a mask is that it cannot conceal forever. Eventually the cloak falls away, the mask disintegrates, and we have to construct a new costume to conceal ourselves within.

The further down inside we push ourselves, the smaller our fire becomes until eventually it goes out completely. Without the fire, we have no energy, no light, no warmth. Life becomes dark, cold, tiring. Those around us do not know our truth, who we are. We feel like frauds in our own life. How can I know who my true friends are when they don’t know who I am? In the emptiness, it seems that there is only one way to escape.

Some people succumb to the darkness. Others manage fight back, often at the expense of losing EVERYTHING. 

How can our loved ones not love us? How can they have been so easily fooled by the masks, the cloaks, the costumes? Surely they must have known, really deep down, who I was? They were just playing along with the game. 

Truths cannot be denied. And we cannot hide from ourselves forever. Yet we only do so because you make it so. You douse our fires and shovel dirt over the smoke. No more!

I do not deny the existence of your gender simply because I don’t experience it. All I ask is that you pay me the same courtesy. Make good for your mistakes, it’s not too late…

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Amy does a Gender: 7 Months HRT

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Originally posted on Don't make me choose!:
After a while it’s barely worth thinking about anymore.  However, the thoughts will still persist.  Once trans hits, that’s it – you can forget at times, but it’s still going to bite,…

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Non-Binary Gender Recognition Challenge: How to Guide for Irish Gender Recognition Bill!

Today I received this letter from the Irish Client Identity Service, the governmental department that has been processing gender recognition applications in the Republic of Ireland since the Gender Recognition Bill was passed in September 2015.

Non-Binary Gender Recognition Certificate refusal letter

In my application for a Gender Recognition Certificate, I requested that my gender markers be amended to X and that my gender be recognised legally by the Irish state as non-binary. This letter states their refusal to do so. Although I knew this would happen, it is a necessary process on the road to a legal challenge of the Gender Recognition Bill to recognise non-binary gender.

The process by which I went about doing this is as follows:

  1. I changed my name by deed poll, which required the use of two forms available as templates on the High Courts Central Office website. The first form is a deed poll, which needs to be countersigned by a witness (i.e. someone other than the solicitor). You can also download the adult deed poll template here. The second form has to be signed by the solicitor and the person applying to have their name changed. It’s called the Affadavit of Attesting Witness form which you can download here. This HAS to be printed on deed paper (official yellow legal paper, which the solicitor had in their office). The cost of this was the solicitor’s fee, which was €40.
  2. I enrolled this deed poll in the Irish High Court using this form, submitted along with a copy of my birth certificate. I had to go in to the Irish High Courts in person as they required proof of identification, presented in person by the applicant. The cost of this was €60 stamp duty (along with transport to and from Dublin). This form can also be accessed on the High Courts Central Office website.
  3. I waited 1 month for my deed poll to be enrolled in the High Court, then I returned to the High Court to pick up my deed poll again, along with my birth certificate.
  4. I applied for a Gender Recognition Certificate using the GRC 1 Application Form, which I accessed from the Department of Social Protection’s website. Again, this form had to be witnessed by a solicitor. This time I went to a family friend so there was no cost involved, but otherwise it would have cost me the price of the solicitor’s fee (€40-€60).
    • This is the part that is pertinent to all non-binary applicants so READ ME!:
      • On the first half of Part One, they ask for Personal Details. For the preferred title, I put ‘Mx‘ under the ‘Other’ option. This is a personal choice, but it’s the most commonly used gender-neutral title in the English language.GRC Personal Details
      • Part Two is the Statutory Declaration. In order to request recognition of non-binary gender, I crossed out both ‘male/female’ options and hand wrote ‘non-binary with X gender marker‘ onto the form. This is the part that needs to be written in the presence of, and countersigned by, a solicitor (or peace commissioner/notary public/commissoner for oaths) so make sure to only fill this form out in the presence of the person witnessing your application!Statutory Declaration
  5. I sent this form to the Client Identity Services (CIS) at the following address along with a certified copy of my birth certificate and a certified copy of my deed poll (again, I got my deed polls ‘certified’ at the solicitor’s office at the same time as getting my GRC 1 form signed):
    • Client Identity Services
      Department of Social Protection
      Shannon Lodge
      Carrick-on-Shannon
      Co. Leitrim
      N41 KD81
  6. I received the above response from the CIS exactly 1 month after sending off my application. It’s important to state that the CIS did NOT return my copy of my deed poll, so it’s worth keeping this in mind when applying. However, they did return my birth certificate.

NOTES:

  • If you’re not actually changing your name, then you don’t need to go through steps 1-3.
  • If you are changing your name, the only reason why steps 1-3 are necessary is because the Gender Recognition Certificate process requires you to have your deed poll enrolled in the high court – yet more bureaucracy and more financial cost placed upon trans people by the Irish government.
  • If you weren’t born in Ireland but you are resident here, you will ALSO need to provide proof of residency with your GRC 1 form.
  • When showing ID, I just used my passport/driving licence which are still in my old name. As long as I had my deed poll with me, I didn’t have any trouble with this.
  • Don’t expect them to recognise non-binary gender through this process. This is a means to an end – the more of us who go through this and get the letters back from the CIS refusing to recognise non-binary gender legally, the better chance we have at winning a court case against the Irish government!

WANT TO HELP?

I am currently looking for other Irish enbies/enbies resident in Ireland who are interested in having their gender legally recognised as non-binary with an X marker to JOIN ME in this challenge to the Irish government! You can contact me in the following ways:

email: naomhanoc@gmail.com

twitter: @tirnanogender

facebook: Tirnanogender

I look forward to hearing from all you other enbies!

 

 

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Protected: A Recurrent Fantasy 

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