Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 I celebrated 6 years since starting my medical transition to male. That’s 312 shots of testosterone and 2 surgeries.
In the trans male community, this date is sometimes referred to as a “manniversary.” Since starting T, my fat redistributed from my hips toward my stomach, my beard came in, my voice got lower, my leg and arm hair is thicker and coarser, my shoulders are broader, my neck is thicker, and more.
I was just looking at pictures today of myself pre-transition. I hadn’t looked at pictures in a while. Even though I’m the same person, the longer I’m Atticus, the more I forget what it was like to be Not-Atticus. I see this sort of thing happen with a lot of trans guys. When we first start transitioning, we’re all excited. Everything is new. We celebrate every new hair, we post pictures of newfound muscles, we take comparison photos, we records videos of our voices. And why wouldn’t we? It makes sense.
After years of living in a body that didn’t feel quite right, we get to celebrate seeing the right one finally coming to fruition. But like many trans guys, a couple years later and we’re used to our new bodies, we don’t take nearly as many pictures, we may fade out of the transgender support groups we so looked forward to at the beginning, and we may even forget to take our testosterone shot! We’re just “one of the guys” now. This isn’t the case for all trans guys, but I’ve been part of the community long enough to have seen a pattern.
In my own journey, I’ve been thinking about my connection to the LGBT community. When I was first outed as a lesbian, I didn’t know anybody like me. It was 2006 and I simply didn’t know a single person who was out as LGBT. I desperately needed to meet other people like me.
When I went to college and came out as lesbian, I heard about the LGBT group on campus. I was nervous to go to a meeting and so I had some friends go with me. Fast forward two years, and I was the President of the group.
The group gave me purpose and reduced my feelings of loneliness and alienation. I saw it as my purpose to help other people like myself not feel as lonely and isolated as I felt.
When I started coming out as male, I set about to meet other trans guys like myself, including starting a support group for trans masculine people.
As I transitioned, like many trans people, I helped people who needed assistance with transition-related stuff that I’d already been through – advice on how to legally change your name, what surgeons are best for which surgeries, when and where to tell a date you’re trans, etc.
When I moved to new places, I had to reach out to coworkers and new friends about resources in the area, so that I became the person that needed help – which health insurance covers transition-related care, what doctor’s office can prescribe HRT and is a trans-competent primary care office, which foster care and adoption agencies are LGBT affirming and welcoming?
Even though I still need resources, the fact is that I don’t need the support like I first did. I’ve told my family and friends, I’ve had my name legally changed, I’ve had my surgeries. Support groups, social media pages, and media representation are all important parts of raising awareness and support for the trans community. And if you’re lucky like me where you feel like you don’t need the support anymore, maybe you can offer your support instead. Simply existing and living your best life as a trans person is enough to give people hope.