FTM vs FTN
Most FTM’s eagerly anticipate changing their appearance in one basic way: facial hair. But I’m not FTM, I’m FTN, meaning hair in places other than my head does not fly with me. The thought of purposefully growing facial hair is terrifying, and the thought of any sort of body hair is disgusting. Just one of the many perks of being agender.
However, being a human adult, I do happen to have sprouted hair in unwanted locations. To remedy this, I was lucky enough to have encountered two Groupon discounts at 75% off for laser hair removal (I’m Jewish, so I have to stress the discount part, since this stuff is expensive). Finalizing treatment, most of my body hair will have been permanently removed. Permanently. As in irreversibly. Sound familiar?
The two features of testosterone that transitioning FTMs look forward to are hair and voice, as those are the two most salient changes one undergoes. Now, the usual procedure to obtain testosterone is to see a psychologist for a few weeks, at least, and to get some sort of letter certifying that the person in question has gender issues and such, and thus needs to undergo hormone therapy. All this might seem a bit much for a bit of chest hair (among other things), but the truth is that facial and body hair are prominent genderfying markers. Most importantly, this is permanent and irreversible, and the person in question must understand that these permanent changes will have a significant impact on their outward gendered appearance, irreversibly.
No Questions Asked
You’d think, given the similarity between these two situations – adding hair or removing hair in gender-distinct locations – that somebody would have asked me for some sort of letter. Or asked me if I was sure I wanted laser hair removal. Or checked in with me on whether I understand that this is a permanent and irreversible change, with visible effects on my outward gender. Or at least flinched in some way. Alas, none of this. The receptionists, attendants, nurses, and other random staff never even questioned that a person would want to remove their hair. Because nobody wants hair, right? (Especially not women, gasp!) So why, then, all the fuss about adding it?
I do see the value in consulting a therapist before drastically changing one’s body, especially with something so volatile and with such long-lasting effects as testosterone or other hormones. Consequently, I would see the same value in at the very least asking something of the client wishing to remove their hair permanently. On the other hand, I do wonder what would happen if I were to pass as male in this situation (say, by having a legal male name, or actually being taller) and walking into the place asking to have my body hair permanently removed. Would anyone say a word?