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I grew up in a small southern town that was not very accepting of me being transgender. I first moved to Michigan at the end of 2014 in an attempt to free myself of the resentment I faced as a trans man from my family. It was here that I met my now wife, who has helped me greatly throughout my transition, and I was actually able to begin my journey as James.
I wasn’t sure of the exact process of how to start hormones, and it does differ by state, so I decided to use Google in an attempt to find an HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) specialist. I found a primary care clinic in Berkley. I immediately called to make an appointment and switched my primary care provider. My first impression when I stepped into this clinic was shock honestly. As I filled out my paperwork I paused at a little section I had never seen on a medical history form. It was asking for my preferred name, and pronouns. I was so impressed that I had the silliest grin on my face as I informed my wife of my little discovery. I was impressed with the mannerisms of the staff and how I was treated as an equal and addressed by my preferred name and pronouns.
After I was called back my new PCP came in to greet me, and I immediately started asking questions about HRT. Mainly, when could I start? What letters did I need? Was gender therapy required? To my surprise, I didn’t need any of those things. He wrote my prescription, and I started my injections that week. I was amazed. It had all happened so quickly that I had trouble processing it at first. I only did a couple of office visits for them to give me the shot, then they coached me through how to safely do at home injections, and I was set!
In the first few weeks, I had no noticeable changes occur. After the first month, I noticed my libido was indeed higher than normal, and I was developing the worst acne. The next thing I noticed was a scratch in my throat, almost as if I were getting sick. That scratch developed into an ache for a short period of time, a little less than a month, and my voice settled into the “puberty” phase. As my voice started to level out and grow deeper with each shot, I would also get insane hot flashes. I’m talking middle of December, driving my wife insane, having our bedroom window open right next to the bed, hanging my feet out in the snow as I slept. These were probably my least favorite effect of testosterone.
During my hot flash phase, I started to grow the tiniest of mustaches. I wore it with pride. Just six months after starting hormones I felt as if I were on a roller coaster that could only go up, and it did for quite a while. The acne went away, the hot flashes stopped, and my voice settled down and decided it was masculine enough. My mustache came in a little thicker, though not by much. I am one of the unlucky ones who was not blessed with a beautiful beard, but I grow some pretty nice sideburns!
Now it has been almost four years since beginning this journey, and every day I am grateful that I was able to begin. Now I patiently wait to start my surgical transition into my true self. I remind myself every day that I will get there, and everything I have gone through will be well worth it.