Hormones

July 22, 2017

Hormones: My Transgender feminizing therapy

By Kayla Lozano

 

Transgender hormone therapy is like a “rite of passage” for many transgender people.

For many, hormone therapy (or “mone-ing”), can be the next step towards a physical transitional process.  As transgender children, our minds tell us that we are female.  This is not something that we can just switch “on” and “off,” or is just a phase.  Granted, there are many children that may model characteristics or behavior of the opposite sex, but that is nothing like being transgender.  We just know it.  It’s indescribable for us at such an early age, but all we know is that it is natural, and that our bodies do not match.

As a transgender female, I too experienced the natural feelings of femininity when I was a child.  The feelings were all-too-consuming, that they became almost obsessive for me.  I had mood swings, social anxiety, and was always uneasy around people.  My uneasiness around people stemmed from the complete shame and terror that I felt inside because my body did not match how I was feeling on the inside.  

This can be very hard on a young child because you feel as though you have done something very bad.  To add insult to injury, most of the time, parents can be aggressive in trying to enforce genders assigned at birth. 

In my case, it was always the “boy clothes” that I detested, and just hated wearing, with a passion!  So as a young transgender child, you learn how to “create” your female characteristics with random articles of dress.  At this early age, I already knew what I was on the inside, so naturally, I wanted to show that externally – but in a way, that would not be so visibly feminine to others (for fear of scolding, retaliation, or bullying).  And you sort of find your groove.  

I loved it because my voice sounded feminine, I had soft skin, and anytime I grew my hair JUST a little longer below the ear (before my mom would cut it off), in my head, I could see myself as a girl.  This was an innocent feeling, and not a shameful one.  It always brought me so much joy, and made me feel comfortable.

UNTIL – the unavoidable and dreaded stages of puberty hit.

For many cisgender (cis) children, this is their rite of passage.  Outwardly, Cis girls want to have breasts, start shaving their legs, tweeze their brows, and maybe get to wear makeup.  Cis boys want to be “macho,” grow facial and underarm hair, have deeper voices, and grow tall and muscular.

For many transgender children – this process is unbearable, horrifying, and can lead to depression or even thoughts of suicide, or beyond.

As a trans girl on the inside, I was devastated that my voice got deeper. People typically stereotype others by the sounds of their voices.  Softer voices are considered to be associated to girls and femininity; whereas, deeper – more baritone – voices are associated to boys and masculinity.  The deeper the voice, the more macho and manlier a boy is. 

(It should be noted that these are general stereotypes, and in no way 100% consistent with reality.)

For transgender children who identify as female, this process can be a scary thing.  For many trans female children, our voices are neither higher in pitch, nor lower – but rather, somewhere awkwardly in-between.  This is scary for us, because this is a time where much of the bullying begins from other children and adults.  As a young teen, I was picked on for my voice.  People ASSUMED that the tone of my voice meant that I was gay (some people can be so quick to judge). 

So then, if we are lucky enough to survive the terrifying stages of puberty (and again, sadly, many do not – because the pain and bullying can be so overwhelming), we then start to plan our GREATEST and possibly, the most-gratifying moment for us –  the “Transition.”

In my case, I learned in high school biology that males produced higher levels of the hormone – “testosterone,” and females produced higher levels of the hormone – “estrogen.”  So, as soon as I graduated, I moved out of my parent’s house, and I began my journey of transition.

 

This is what I know so far:

My doctor (primary healthcare physician, or PHP), prescribed two different medications, in pill-form.  Currently I take “estradiol” (17 beta estradiol)** and “spironolactone.”

Research tells me that estradiol is a “bioidentical hormone, in that it is engineered in a lab, and synthetically identical to a human female ovary.” **

Spironolactone is an androgen blocker and also responsible for lowering testosterone synthesis.” **

This medication is actually a diuretic, but if used in larger doses (as prescribed by your doctor) can also suppress facial hair growth. **

I have been on the prescribed “feminizing therapy” for almost 2 years.

I personally have experienced increases in appetite and subsequent weight gain, slight mood swings (my fiancé would say differently), and decreased libido, or sex drive (he has plenty to say about this).

I try to drink a lot of water, any and every chance I get.  I find that water is necessary to flush out your kidneys and promote good liver function.  Also, the water is essential in transforming my body composition (facial features, breasts, hips, and backside).

One great advantage that I personally noticed was that the hair on my scalp grew thicker and faster, while the hair on my body grew softer and almost nonexistent. I noticed a HUGE difference in the softness of my skin, as well as the growth in my breasts and hips.   I have also experienced some weight gain (to put it mildly).  My mood swings are not constant, and my mood is not aggressive, rather emotional.  I’m a BIG crier, and I’m NOT afraid to say it!

Transgender feminizing hormone therapy may not be for everyone.  I STRONGLY suggest that you consult your PHP for more information, as everyone’s biology is unique.

For some, this process is unnecessary since our true identities come from WITHIN.  Feminizing procedures of ANY kind should be FULLY researched, and done under the strict supervision of qualified medical personnel.  For me, this was a way of accentuating what I was feeling on the inside.   I hope this article is helpful, and that you find your true happiness.

 

** credit: Madeline B. Deutsch, M.D., M.P.H. for “Center of Excellence for Transgender Health” (2017)

 

 

About the Author:

Kayla Lozano (aka “blindbutterfly”) is a transgender vision-impaired female with an AA in Social Work, and is currently an undergraduate student of Social Work at the University of Houston Clear Lake.  Aside from being an advocate for the Transgender community, she also has her own blog site dedicated to celebrating transgender visibility at: www.blindbutterfly.com

For more information, email her at kayla@blindbutterfly.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.