It seems unbelievable, but it’s true: as of today, I’ve been on low-dose testosterone (2.5 grams/day of 1% gel) for an entire year.
A year ago I was both excited and terrified about starting testosterone. I was very happy with the idea of becoming less feminine and regaining some of the androgyny I had as a child, but I was afraid of changes happening too quickly or too drastically; my goal is not to be read as a cis man. I was also only out in certain contexts and I was worried about being outed by HRT before I was ready to come out myself.
At this point, I can say that I’m very pleased with my transition so far. While there are clear changes between a year ago and now, the pace of those changes has been slow and gradual. Nothing has been a shock to the system.
I would say the biggest change has been my voice. It wasn’t until August or so that I consistently noticed it dropping, but it’s definitely gotten noticeably deeper.
In June, I started recording little voice clips every 10 days or so to get a better sense of the changes.
This is the first one I did: https://clyp.it/h3wlrtj1
This is the most recent one: https://clyp.it/wor2lna3
It makes the deeper pitch seem more real when I listen to the clips back to back.
The other most obvious changes are: more body hair – it’s gotten thicker on my thighs and forearms and has grown in a fair amount on my stomach; a very little bit of facial hair (not noticeable to anyone other than me); and more muscle definition. My face shape has also subtly changed and is less round and more angular.
Strangers are definitely gendering me as male more often, and that’s interesting because I like it a lot when I get referred to as he/him or called sir or young man, but I would never ask people to use those terms. If I’m asking, it’s going to be for they/them and neutral nouns. But I don’t mind at all when people use masculine terms. I’m not quite sure how to quantify it.
I’m definitely a lot happier than I was a year ago; my body feels more like “me” and less like a suit that doesn’t fit, and it seems like the world is starting to see me more like I see myself. I also feel like I have more confidence in my identity because it’s becoming clearer to other people; when people check my pronoun pin and get it right it feels more like they’re seeing my reality instead of just humoring me.
I think it also helps a lot that I’m out everywhere now. I don’t have to go back and forth anymore. When I started testosterone, I was out to my friends and at work; I’m now also out in my soccer league (which was probably the smoothest transition) and to my parents (which went about as well as I expected, which is to say, not very). I also filed the paperwork for a legal name change and now I’m just waiting on a court date.
So to sum up: it’s been an exciting, terrifying, wonderful year, and I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring!