Written by Aaron Beaumont.
I’ve now been off T (testosterone) for as long as I was on it: 2.5 years. 30 months. 120 self injections of T.
When I decided to go off and while I was going through withdrawals, I had wished someone would talk about it. I searched online and asked my trans siblings but came up empty. I wished I could connect with someone over changing my medical transition. I wasn’t de-transitioning but changing my transition – re-transitioning.
Even now, I’ve only found a handful of folks who are talking about this. And then it hit me, why don’t I?
I stopped T because I was happy with the changes I had gotten, and after being told they were irreversible by my doctor, I thought I didn’t need it anymore.
I stopped T because I was happy with the changes I had gotten, and after being told they were irreversible by my doctor, I thought I didn’t need it anymore. I stopped taking T abruptly without my doctor’s guidance or approval. I had stopped going to the doctor due to medical fatphobia and a lack of supportive care. I did this all on my own. I don’t recommend this, but if it is your only option, do it with support. My biggest surprise was that all the things I had gained from 2.5 years on T, were in fact reversible. It took almost a year and a half, but I lost most of my body hair, my voice became higher, my clit shrank, my sex drive lowered, my body shape changed, and I felt an influx of intense emotions. It was as if going off T, made me realize the full extent of the changes that I had gone through, as they were leaving my body and I was saying goodbye to them.
I remember feeling like I was going backwards, like my transition had been turned upside down. I felt like I didn’t know myself or what I really wanted because I didn’t have anyone to tell me that re-transitioning was an option. I started being gendered as female again, just like I did when I first came out and this was the hardest readjustment. This still happens constantly, by those who know me and strangers in public.
The only change that has stuck is my facial hair and of all the things, this probably makes me the happiest. Although I’ve lost all the other changes, keeping facial hair allows me to really feel like I’m fucking with gender. Especially since people see me as a woman again, when they see me dressing femme and rocking facial hair it makes them question my gender or who they think I am (at least I like to hope so).
Although this was the best decision for me, I sometimes consider going on T again. I miss my body hair. I miss my small chest. I miss my voice. But this grief only comes in moments of dysphoria.
Although this was the best decision for me, I sometimes consider going on T again. I miss my body hair. I miss my small chest. I miss my voice. But this grief only comes in moments of dysphoria. Grief, I didn’t expect to mourn my own body and I still don’t know if I have. How do you grieve another version of yourself? How do you hold yourself now and love who you were before when so much has changed?
What I’ve taught myself through this process is that no one will ever know me like I do. No one will ever understand me, my body or my identities. There is no way for me to verbally express or explain what my gender (or lack of) means; which makes me ask those who love me to trust me even when I change my mind. My transition has made me change my mind about what I thought being trans is, what transitioning means. We are often fed the narrative that being trans is only valid if you medically transition and stick with it for the rest of your life. It’s hard not to listen to transmedicalism, transphobia and TERFs who want us to doubt ourselves. But I proved to myself that there is not only one option. We get to define what transitioning means and there are as many options as there are genders or gender expressions.
When I first came out, my dad’s biggest fear was what if I regret hormones or surgery and want to change? I told him that I’d never been so sure, that I’d never change my mind. At the time this was true, but that doesn’t mean I am less sure of myself now just because I did change my mind.
What I’ve taught myself through this process is that no one will ever know me like I do. No one will ever understand me, my body or my identities. There is no way for me to verbally express or explain what my gender (or lack of) means; which makes me ask those who love me to trust me even when I change my mind.
Why do our feelings about our gender and bodies have to be permanent to be valid? What is so wrong about changing? What if we accepted ourselves and others in our fluctuation? What if we embraced fluid transitioning? Who are we leaving behind with our current understanding about transitioning?
I have 13 empty vials of Delatestryl in a small box in my bathroom. A keepsake. A memento of who I was and a reminder of who I am now. Not a regret, but a choice I cherish.
About the Author
Aaron Beaumont (they/them) is a white, fat, queer and trans artist creating on Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq territory in Wolastokuk/Fredericton New Brunswick. Using the penname Steel Transplants, they are a self-taught artist of many mediums, primarily creating upcycled jewelry. Regardless of the medium, their work involves themes of queerness, transness and non-conformity.
Follow on IG: @steel.transplants |