A Trans Advice Column
This addition to the About Trans section is designed to aid in the spread of information about transgender-related topics. All questions are welcome from all walks of life. This includes cisgender, transgender, and non-conforming people. Questions may be edited for content, and all names are changed to protect anonymity.
Please submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a friend who is a trans man. I have known this guy since he was a girl. I mean, he looked like a girl and lived as one. I never knew that he would transition over to male, but because I’ve known him a long time, it’s very hard for me to call him by his male name and use the correct pronouns. I keep slipping up and calling him his birth name; and I know it bothers him but he’s been very understanding so far. I love him with all of my heart and want to respect him. How can I make the switch in my head so that we can both come to terms with his transition and move forward?
Congratulations, my friend! You’re already most of the way there! It can be hard to make the switch, and I’m glad he is giving you time and patience. In the meantime, I would sit down to have a talk with him about how he feels, and maybe seek some understanding about what it means to be trans. Even more than that, discuss how he wants to be referred to when speaking about his past.
The most important thing you can remember is that when you make a mistake, and you will, apologize quickly, correct yourself, and move on. Don’t make a big deal out of it, because that can be much more upsetting. In the end, you’ll find that you make these mistakes less and less, until you see him as he is now, not how he was.
So, I started taking hormones about a month ago, and things are great! I swear that everything is changing really fast. When I talk to my friends and family, they say nothing is different yet, and it’s all in my head. Who is right? I don’t think I’m crazy, but I really do think things are different already!
I know exactly how you feel! When I started testosterone, I felt like everyone should recognize the changes right away!
To start, let’s just say right off the bat that you aren’t crazy. The changes you feel are absolutely there, even if they aren’t visible. Cross-sex hormones will start to work on your brain first, and will begin to rewire the way you think and feel. As far as changes on the outside, they will take some time to become apparent. It can be hard to explain the differences in how you feel; but trust that, with time, other people will see the changes, too. Having patience with your transition is the hardest part in my opinion!
I’m transgender, and I’m not able to start hormones yet. I’ve been thinking about trying some of those testosterone boosters you see in stores. Will it work?
Great question, and I’m glad you asked before trying something like this.
The supplements that you find over the counter are not meant for transgender men. They do not work on the type of testosterone we have naturally in our bodies, so any changes you see will be very minor, if any at all. These boosters can cause some serious side effects, namely liver damage. The cost is much too high, with little-to-no payoff. I do not advise taking anything over the counter. The only proven, safe method of transition is cross-sex hormone therapy overseen by a licensed physician.
I have a friend who started to take hormones, and she’s so emotional! I don’t know how to tell her that the hormones are making her crazy, but I don’t think they’re good for her. Any advice?
The first thing to remember is that your friend is going through some major changes, and that can be hard on anyone. It’s vital that you be as understanding as possible, and recognize that what she’s going through is necessary in order for her to become the person she is.
Please remember that when you talk to her, don’t say that you think her hormones are hurting her. They aren’t, they’re doing a lot to help her become the person she was always meant to be. Sit down with your friend and ask her how you can help. Let her know that you notice she’s much more emotional lately, and see if there is anything she wants to share with you. Transition can be a difficult time for most of us, and if she knows you have her best interests at heart, it will go a long way to helping her adjust. Support systems are our most important resource!