This past January marks my one year anniversary, when I started a journey that I thought I would never take. I never thought that as a agender person, as someone whose gender expression flows between masculine and feminine or a combination of the both, could ever transition. Before that, I thought that I would be trapped in the body that I was born in, the female body that I wished I could remove body parts like a Mr. Potatohead. I went to the doctors and nurses in the city I was living in and asked, “what are my options to transition?” and the nurse practitioner said “how would you like to transition? The only way you can go in to transition to male.” Well, that’s not what I wanted, in fact, I really didn’t know what I wanted or what I could do. But I knew I wanted answers to how I was feeling. I wanted to know that I was not crazy and that my fears were not all in my head. That my dysphoria and dysmorphia were really. The nurse gave me three options to stop my period, something I have always known was the source of not only my gender “issues” but contributed to exasperating my bipolar condition. The first option was estrogen based birth control, the second was progesterone shots (I hate needles), and lastly, as hysterectomy. I didn’t qualify for top surgery since I was not “becoming a man” as she put it (when I moved to London, On I would be told that this was false. But I will continue that part my story shortly). Being fearful of needles, I decided estrogen birth control would be my only option. And that choice nearly killed me. I stopped taking the birth control, since the increase in estrogen was so damaging to my mental health. Taking a deep breath and letting the nurse inject me with progesterone was the best thing that I ever did for myself. Having the estrogen in my body suppressed lifted my mood, let me see myself in a new way and helped my cope with my dysphoria/dysmorphia. I even could cope with having breasts in a way that I couldn’t before. My weight didn’t swing and my body didn’t swell any more. I started working out and through a wonderful group that I attended in London, I realized that I could have top surgery and it would be partially funded, when I was ready.
More options and more research is needed into understanding what it is like to live as a non-binary person. More people need to know that maybe certain hormones are better than others. Another nurse pointed out how quickly the progesterone took to my body. I knew why, it is because I was never meant to have estrogen in my body. I want to back track a little and take about what it means to me to be agender. I know that I was born female, but that doesn’t mean that I am a woman. I choose to put on clothing everyday that some arbitrary person designated as either for “men” or for “women” depending on what side of the store it happens to be on. I know that as long as ‘society’ thinks within boxes that contain their ideas of what gender is, I will never be free from being called a girl. “Well, it is really your name! I just can’t get past your female name! Maybe you should change it to be more neutral. Then maybe you will be taken seriously.” I unfortunately get that more times than I care to even go into. My name is Gwen, something that so far less feminine than the name given to me at birth. I choose this name for more reasons then is necessary to take about here, but my point remains – transitioning can simply start with a name and a pronoun. And if that is as far as you want to go, then that is YOUR choice. No one – friends, family, society, doctors etc. can tell you what kind of transition you choose for yourself. Mine started with a name and a pronoun – ge, gir, zem (used like he, her, them). In certain situations, I use the more ‘conventional’ they, them, their and in fact I used these more often then the ones that I chose for myself since my chosen pronouns not too many people can get a handle on.
After I came out to myself and a select group of others that I was agender, it all clicked for me. I got a few minimizing bras and I continued to dress how I wanted to. Then came the progesterone. However, in the last few months clothing just wasn’t working anymore. Something else needed to happen. Just like a lot of female bodied people, we are told we should not have hair below our eyebrows. I have been plucking for more years than I can remember, but quite some time ago – 6-7 years now – I stopped shaving. “Why,” I asked myself “am I plucking still?” so I stopped. And in about two weeks I grew a mustache and a goatee. It isn’t perfect and the hair is slightly patchy, but it is a start. I got my hormone levels checked to see if this little miracle is the work of higher levels of testosterone, I haven’t gotten my tests back yet – we shall see. And on most days, I wear lipstick. The first time I put on my brand new hot pink lipstick I had a gender euphoric moment, something that I had always read about, but rarely had. While researching whether I would look odd having my breasts removed I came across a term on a tumblr account – FtN – female to neutral, and again I had a gender euphoric moment. This is what I am working towards, transitioning towards something that is as neutral or androgynous as possible. A good friend told me after I said to him that I felt like I would never be the kind of androgynous person, so completely androgynous that no one could tell that I was ever born female. He said that my androgyny is beautiful and mine – no one could tell me otherwise. And however you choose to transition, it is beautiful and yours, no matter what anyone tells you. –Gwen, @