This month, I tried something that I had tried once before. Something that hadn’t worked out well for me the last time, but I felt it was a necessity to try it again. What was this thing you may ask? Birth control.
Wait. Birth control? But you’re a transgender man, what do you need that for?
I at nineteen years old have had sex. I have had sex with one person consensually, and that person was assigned male at birth After that, I had a pregnancy scare. I decided it was time to go on birth control again.
I have been on birth control once before. I was sixteen and just recently out of the closet as trans*. My periods were triggering severe dysphoria, and as I couldn’t convince my parents to let me go on testosterone, I tried the only other thing I knew. I took the pills that are supposedly only make you have your period four times a year. That part worked. What didn’t was the side effects, specifically my breasts gaining two cup sizes.
After a few months, I discovered that the pills increased my dysphoria more than they assuaged it. Even the act of taking the pills made me felt like a female. I couldn’t handle the side effects anymore, so I stopped.
In the three years since this took place, I have grown a significant amount. My breasts never went back to their original size, making them harder to bind, but I dealt with that. I have lost my father, graduated high school, and made it through a grueling first year of college. I have also gained majority status.
If you’re over eighteen why aren’t you on testosterone?
This is the question that I have been asked countless times over the years. It’s a complicated situation, but I will explain it the best I can. The people who take care of me, the ones that I call my parents, they took me in when no one else would or could. My mom had passed away, my dad or uncle wasn’t capable of taking care of me and my grandmother is the most emotionally abusive person I know. These people had no obligation to me. I wasn’t part of their family, I didn’t have any direct ties, and they already had a child. However, they did it anyway. When my biological father came out to me as a cross dresser (clarification: He identified cis and straight, just sometimes preferred to wear women’s clothing) and I subsequently came out as trans* I shattered their expectations of what my life would be like.
I was always a feminine child, playing with barbies, dressing up in dresses and putting on makeup. This continued until weeks before I came out. In early may, just two weeks before I officially started identifying as male, I wore a beautiful blue Betsy Johnson dress with professionally done makeup to my sister’s bat mitzvah party. I remember feeling so good about myself that night, thinking that I looked like a fifties pin up girl.
When I came out, it was the last thing that anyone saw coming. At first, my parents were furious at me. They told me that I should have told them sooner, that they could have helped me sort out my feelings before I came to a conclusion. They told me that this was my dad’s fault, and that I was just copying him.
Over time, I have not gotten more masculine. I wear my hair long and curly, I buy clothes in the women’s department, and I talk in a really high voice evocative of a thirteen-year-old girl. Sometimes I still wear dresses and put on makeup, just for fun. This doesn’t make me any less of a man,.
My parents weren’t taught that gender is so fluid. That you can identify as male, have female genitalia, and wear a dress. Over the years they have been to constant trans* events, met many friends of mine who are trans* and their parents, and read everything that I have given them.
It is not because they don’t support trans* people, they treat every person who I have introduced them with dignity, respect and sometimes even love. This isn’t about concepts, or gender identity, it’s about me. They can’t see me as a guy no matter how hard they try, they can’t envision my life as a male, and they certainty cant see me with male attributes. They have told me countless times that they don’t want me to do anything permanent to change my body. They are afraid I’ll change my mind. Unlike most people, I have come to accept this about them. I know that this is something that will never change, that this is the way they are.
However, because of this, I know that I will never physically transition. My family, the ones who saved me, are the most important thing in my life. They are more important than anyone in the whole wide world. I love them more than I have ever loved anything else, sometimes even my biological parents. I know that if I did something that they didn’t approve of our relationship would never be the same. In fact, I don’t see that there would be a relationship.
So, in this respect, I will always put the value of our relationship over myself. I will always tell myself that I am doing the right thing. I know I am. I know it will be better for me in the long run.
When I went to Planned Parenthood to get my birth control, I explained to them that I was transgender and looking for medicine that didn’t have estrogen or any feminizing side effects. They asked me the question. I didn’t give them this long answer, I just said because I wasn’t. But the birth control they gave me isn’t working out, and im afraid that no birth control ever will because of my dysphoria. I just wonder how I am supposed to balance being a feminine male person who is not on testosterone, while being someone that also has sex with people who were assigned male at birth. How do I avoid getting pregnant, while also retaining the few ounces of sanity that I have left?
I am ok with not being on testosterone, or having chest surgery. I just wonder how it will impact my life when I grow older and potentially have a MAAB partner. Or how it will affect the way that people on the street, and in the transgender community look at me. I don’t want people to judge me for the way I choose to live my life.