Many trans guys fixate vainly on “T changes”, the male secondary sex characteristics we develop thanks to testosterone shots or gel. Right now, I’m learning to accept that T is an all-or-nothing deal, not a tapas menu of maleness. “I’ll take the broad shoulders, lean calves and bushy beard, please, waiter. Not a huge fan of male-pattern baldness or stronger-smelling wee.”
Some trans guys might want to become utterly caveman-like. Others want their body to change as little as possible, but still be seen as male. It’s just a case of wait and see, and it plays out differently for each individual over five years. As I understand it, T is unlocking my genetic male potential – the good, the bad and the ugly. When it comes to my male puberty, I can’t predict to what extent or how fast I’ll change, any more than a 14-year-old cisgender boy can.
So far, my biggest changes have been my voice and gloriously bushy leg hair. I also have broader shoulders and a lower body-fat percentage, but these fitness-related changes have been helped rather than caused by T. Male hormones can’t change your bones if you’ve already stopped growing. This is why guys who transition as adults tend to be smaller than other guys, with smaller feetand hands. It’s not ideal, but it’s also not the end of the world.
Recently, I’ve noticed my hairline and face becoming more angular. I won’t deny that being told this by others makes me want to do a little jig on the spot. But, at 28, I’m also experiencing the darker sides of both adolescence and ageing. I have spots, despite being clear-skinned as a teenager, and my hair is thinning a little (thanks, genetic forebears). Friends reassure me, or more accurately tell me to shut up, about my hairline. They can’t see it. But I can – especially when I stand under strong lights. Did I mention we fixate on these things?
I even notice that my hair is receding faster, and my facial hair thickening more, on the right side. Is this coincidence, or is it “manlier” than the left? Of course, I embrace gender variance – but more on a species level than on opposite sides of a single person. And if this trend continues, is there any way my alpha potential could concentrate itself more in the chin region instead of the forehead?