I’ve always a deep respect for women, and as a result as a teenager and even in my adult years I would get very angry (justifiably so) at teenage boys and men who viewed women as little more than a sex object to be used and thrown away. Did I contribute to misogynist culture? I am sure I did.
Now, as I am four months into my transition and my face has begun to soften and I am losing my ‘testosterone shield’ if you will that renders me virtually invisible as I walk down the street, I find myself feeling not the calm from the estrogen I am taking, but fear.
At what point will I be seen as someone who is transitioning? It is likely I will be semi-passable, so at what point will men stare? Or slap my bottom? I am beginning to lose my ‘while male privilege’ and what I am gaining is insight into the everyday life of women.
Alright, I will say that before starting estrogen I was pretty, I don’t know, boring for a guy. There have been many, many changes mentally for me. I no longer have this internal anger, this rage that was there during puberty (my parents said I entered my teenage years and was never happy again). That, and this mental fuzziness in the back of my brain were the primary issues I saw fade away when I started estrogen. I have also developed a deeper desire to grow closer to my wife, not because she is essentially losing her husband, but because, with the mental anguish from gender dysphoria quieted, I have begun to see her in a new light.
Hormones do some amazing things for transgender men and women. For me, it was a second lease on life, in essence, coupled with the ability to share my experiences with others. I actually have an article written about trans and visibility based on my experiences at Melrose-Wakefield hospital up here in Boston; this was the first experience I had where I realized people were beginning to stare.