Trans Mental Health

I started testosterone last month. And while I haven’t noticed any changes, yet, I’m still infinitely grateful. Even though needles scare me, I’m able to bear through it, which is a testament to how important this is to me. If you told me I was on testosterone a year ago, I wouldn’t believe you. This has been a dream for me since sixth grade. 

I suffer from dysphoria, which some but not all trans people experience. While dysphoria is different for everyone, for me it comes in waves. One day I can be perfectly okay with my body, even my feminine aspects, but other days it’s hard to look in the mirror. And while I try to practice self-care at those times, there still is discomfort. It’s been better since I’ve been on testosterone, which I’m so happy for.  

Media also likes to portray transmasc people as skinny people who are the height of androgyny. This led to one of my other problems, managing my testosterone expectations. I used to believe testosterone was the solution to all my problems. I used those media-friendly transmasc people as goals. I wanted to look like them, their thinness hiding their feminine aspects. It was incredibly hard to accept that those goals weren’t instantly attainable. I had to adjust my beliefs and make it what I wanted to be, not what the media tells me I should be. Currently, my goals are simply to get healthy and strong.  

Being openly trans opens up a world of anxiety. If I was still in public school, I can almost guarantee I would be misgendered every day. I’m thankful I’m able to do online school and avoid the transphobes at school. I try to surround myself with people who know my pronouns and make an effort to use them. Having family use incorrect pronouns is another story. Though I do care about my dad deeply, I try to limit my time around him, to keep myself dysphoria-free.

Another thing that helps is doing makeup. This may sound counterproductive, but doing some masculine contour (even if bad) can really help me feel confident in myself. At certain times of doubt, I consume media made by trans people for trans people. Seeing successful trans people can be such a mood booster.

Do you experience dysphoria? If you identify as trans, what has your experience been like? If you identify as cis, how do you think – or already practice – being an ally? 

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