I’ve been injecting testosterone into alternating thighs every two weeks for the past 3 years or so. Sometimes I wonder if it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing because my dose is too low. Sometimes I wonder what’s it’s supposed to be doing in the first place.
I like that it’s made me more masculine. My voice isn’t embarrassingly high pitched. I am still of the opinion that my body shape is slightly more neutral. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about my period anymore. Yet the facial hair… it’s there.
Even on a freshly shaven silhouette, it’s hard to miss the thick dark hairs that grow against my pale face when you’re close enough. My friends notice it. My dad notices it. I notice it. In a way, I’ve accepted it because I can’t ignore it — it’s a part of me now, a part of my body and my gender. It doesn’t bother me in the way other parts of my body used to bother me. I’m just not sure if it’s really me.
I shave every 2-3 days, or whenever I’m going out. I stare and obsess in the mirror. It’s too patchy to grow out. Potential is based on genetics; my outlook holds no great promises, since my 25 year-old brother, despite being very hairy in other places, cannot grow a proper beard. My brother protests I tend to one-up him, so perhaps I could sprout a better facial hair than him.
Despite the shadow, I can’t imagine myself with a beard. I’m happy without one.
Most people who meet me are shocked, flabbergasted I say, to hear that anyone would see me as anything but a boy. Perhaps a trans boy, but definitely not a girl, much less a lady. Yet it happens. Even with a revealing tank top and visible scruff. Even topless — as in, I don’t have breasts anymore and it could not be more obvious that I don’t — I’ve gotten called ma’am. Which leads me to think testosterone is not doing what it should.
But increasing the dose is not going to make me grow taller, and I believe height is my biggest (or should I say, smallest?) disadvantage. And increasing the dose is not going to take me anywhere I particularly want to go, regardless of whether I would mind or not. So perhaps testosterone is not really having an effect on me anymore. Or perhaps it is, it’s just too gradual for me to notice.
The one thing I’m sure of is that I’m pretty comfortable where I am.
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16 thoughts on “Testosterone, Are You There? It’s Me, Micah.”
I’m not sure how you get mistaken for a woman either especially with a little scruff as you call it. I’m pretty sure if I saw you out and didn’t know you I’d think you were a guy. You’re on half the dose I’m on and I don’t have the beard growth you have but I do have lighter hair too so maybe that’s it. I find that when my hair is shorter and I wear dark shirts I get called sir more often. Still I never can tell what people well see.
As an agender person designated male at birth I identify with the beard/shaving issue. The issue is no one ever sees me as female, just a “guy in a skirt.” I guess my role is to constantly challenge gender norms and expectations. I am not on hormones and don’t see much of an upside as I don’t want to be female, just neutral, (and I have several health conditions to deal with already). Sadly estrogen doesn’t seem to raise your voice or stop beard growth. So I look for non-medical ways of presenting myself as genderless.
I’ve been through that, so maybe I can make a few comments.
Yes indeed I think that the hair issue is extremely important for how people will perceive you. I had (head) a hair transplant around the same time as I had the facial hair removed by laser so I can’t actually say which of those two made the biggest difference. I think they were both hugely important. In particular, the hair transplant surgeon was a very skilled and experienced expert who knew exactly how to draw my new forehead hair line contour to get the right effect. He said that laypeople don’t know consciously what constitutes a male versus female forehead hair line (except of course when there’s typical male hair loss), but they do know subconsciously. The facial hair, on the other hand, doesn’t require any skill or artistry: it’s just zap the laser everywhere hair is present.
The good news is that you can achieve all of this without hormones, if hormones are something you don’t want. Laser-burnt facial hair is normally gone for good. I have been told that changes in hormone levels can sometimes cause a little bit of new facial hair growth (I think that this is something that some cis-women deal with at menopause). So in the worst case, you’ll have to go back for touch-up laser once every several years. That’s not very expensive and takes only 20 minutes.
Just like Micah said, breasts hardly make any difference. This is surprising, but matches my own experience. I am on estrogen and progesterone now and have breasts, but for quite a long time that wasn’t true. People saw me as female anyway. Go figure. Just like right now some people aren’t clueing in to Micah’s lack of breasts and concluding male. Again, this is good news for you if you don’t want hormones: you don’t need the breasts that they would give you.
Thanks for the advice and comment. I am okay with my life on balance. I guess I could explore laser hair removal but I am on a fixed budget on disability benefits so money is tight. On the upside I have a wonderful trans family here and we all support each other whether we’re non-binary or trans men or trans women.
Really interesting post as I want to take low-dose testosterone, but I don’t know how long I’d like to take it for, and if I would stop if i noticed facial hair. If you don’t mind me asking, is it the testosterone that stopped your periods, or something else? Because I’m considering endometrial ablation (removing the lining in the womb) but I haven’t made a final decision on that. thanks!
The facial hair has taken years to grow in, it is definitely very gradual.
At this low dose you would probably still get a period. I had a hysterectomy in 2013 so that hasn’t been an issue for me.
I went the ablation route, because after over six months of T I was still spotting. This is only a good idea if you are 100% sure you would never even maybe possibly want to use your uterus for its intended purpose. If I’d had the time at the time I’d have had a hysterectomy but I was in school and able to recover from ablation over spring break.
Micah, you could always have laser facial hair removal. I’m at the point that I am pretty confident of being able to grow my hair long again without getting ma’amed, even though the facial hair is nowhere near beard level yet. Age could be a factor for you, too. Teenagers these days tend to be more androgynous in how they look day to day, and you look younger than you are –as do I, but as I’m approaching 40, it doesn’t work against me as much.
Yeah, I could get it removed. The point is, while I don’t like it, it doesn’t particularly brother me either.
First up, I’m sorry for the invasive question, you don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to. I just can find anything on the internet about clitoral growth on low dose. I’m considering low dose T however for me it’s the big thing that i really don’t want and I was wondering how fast growth starts on low dose?
Thank you. Sorry, Oliver
I would love to know this, too. Thanks!
I’ve been on very low dose T for two months now and my clit is two to three times bigger than before. It was the first change that I noticed, it started to be noticable about two weeks after starting.
Hi! First let me say I love your site and It’s been really helpful for me!
I was just wondering..On low dose, how long does it take for the effects of T to be noticeable? I’m meeting up with the psych to get prescribed soon (hopefully) but right now I’m not living with supportive parents..Im moving to UK in july so that’s 7 months
Well, I didn’t start with such a low dose, but even then it was a few months to almost a year before anyone really noticed (other than myself). It really depends though.
can you remember when your peach fluff turned into dark hair? Also to the scruff, I know some women with pcos which kinda gives you more test or less estrogens and they end up with beard hairs here and there.
I think you may just have the same sort of hair as another person I know, who has only very fine translucent hairs on his arms, and transparent hair on his leg and one or 2 chest hairs.. all while having brown hair and hazel eyes. the beard is light and sparse over the cheeks but dark in the upper lip and chin/neck area. I only had 6m but I have only got some blonde thin hairs so far around my lips maybe a tad longer but not much different than hair on ( peri)menopausal women. (and sideburns very interesting, so long i got a few long hairs sticking straight out (square to skin) but thinnish and light blonde. interesting though is that they stick out like that xD. I actually got slightly more than a snail trail though, the pyramidal pattern under the belly, at least that still hangs so it is hardly visible to anyone. I was travelling so i didnt want to take my t tools with me and it was interesting for those who were asking about periods. mine in the 6m i was on T never went away so far only got a bit weaker and shifted a couple of days back, but the cycle I wasnt on T they stayed back a couple of days longer and then came back with a vengeance so stronger than previously. It was interesting to see how going off T was, I have lost some muscle mass I can feel it, but it hasnt gone back to pre T levels. The facial features have gone a little softer but not totally yet. My voice that has already dropped from previously insanely high pitched voice to now more neutral sounding voice hasn’t changed too much back I think(I know it wont change back any way but people have been telling about the voice snapping back a bit ) I am still evaluating how much more T I want but I think seeing it tends to last a good while I may space it out more than I did before. (go from weekly to every fortnight or 3 weeks or similar)