Bodies in transition. Nine weeks of taking hormones

For already nine weeks I am now taking hormones, more concretely oestrogen. With this I initiated a process of transition, a change of my body, or my relationship with my body, and of the relationship between my body and society. This process is still pretty new, at the very beginning. Nevertheless, I’d like to share how I feel with this process.

I don’t believe in fix identities, nor do I believe that I was born with a predetermined gender identity (in fact I think we are born without any gender identity whatsoever). I did construct my gender identity – genderqueer – in a long process during my life, an interactive process between how I feel, how society sees me, patriarchal demands, the expectations and demands of my parents, of friends and colleagues, and of many other persons. For me this has been a difficult process, often times painful, a struggle between the demands of different masculinities (all of them, hegemonic masculinity, protest masculinities, gay masculinities, and others), of heterosexual normativity, which has lead me after several stages to define myself as genderqueer, that is to say, neither man, nor women, nor anything in between these two “extremes” or opposed poles (the idea of sex/gender as opposed poles seems to me ever more ridiculous).

I’m living my genderqueer identity already for a few years, and quite openly. Nevertheless, it is not so easy to live as genderqueer when the great majority of people permanently reads you as male (see my blog: and imposes an identity upon you which is not yours. I would be lying if I would say that this did not influence my decision to take hormones, that is, to not only change my gender expression, but also my body.

As I do not feel myself a woman, my objective is not to transition towards the opposite gender. Firstly I don’t think there is anything opposite, but more importantly this would also not fit my gender identity. My objective is to make my body less masculine, maybe more strange, more queer, that is to leave behind the “normal” and in doing so making it more difficult to be read (easily) as male. I’m aware that we are still living in an extremely binary society, and that it will take a long time until people will begin to read me as genderqueer, outside of the gender/sex binary.

And so, I decided to take hormones to initiate a transition process. I opted to only take oestrogen and not to take anti-androgens. Normally in a process of male-to-female transition you would take anti-androgens to block testosterone. Even though oestrogen also has some blocking impact on the production of testosterone in the body, the main impact is that it initiates the development of some feminine secondary sexual aspects, such as the growth of breasts and a redistribution of body fat.

I started the process by applying oestrogen patches, initially of a lower dosis, but already for six weeks now with the recommended dosis. After nine weeks I am already noting some changes:

  • The breasts are growing, and I am also noting a growth of the nipples and generally more sensitivity of both, the nipples and the breasts in general. I think you can’t see much yet, but I notice that the breasts are firmer, with less fat. And obviously – it’s only nine weeks, and the growth of the breasts can easily take two years.
  • A reduction of the libido, and also of the sexual response. Especially the sexual response did worry me quite a bit before starting the process, but now it doesn’t really bother me at all. I see it a bit like a leftover masculine angst that has evaporated. As I don’t have a partner nor am I much into casual sex, this is also not something really relevant right now. I have less desire to masturbate, and so I do it less. It also seems that the production of semen is reducred – which I don’t care about, as I don’t want to reproduce. Infertility? So what? There are few things less relevant in my life as my fertility.

Beyond that, I think the changes are more on an emotional level, and it is difficult to attribute all changes to the beginning of the process of taking hormones. I generally feel more balanced, more content, and more comfortable in my transitioning body. Some of these emotional changes probably have more to do with other processes or events in my life. At the moment I have to deal less with precarity, which helps to calm certain things. I also feel that I have now turned a page in relation to my pretty difficult childhood, and I have reconciled with myself. I’m sure this has an important impact.

But I feel that there is something changing in the relationship with my body, this body in transition. Even though until now one can’t see much, I feel good with and in my changing body, and curious about this process of change. This week I stopped putting silicone into my bras to increase the appearance of the breasts, even though they are still pretty small, barely noticeable (I also don’t aspire to large breasts). Last weekend at an away weekend with La Transicionera I felt very comfortable exposing by naked body and swimming in the swimming pool, a body still quite masculine and in a process of transition. In saying so I don’t want to say that there is no need for more transition, and that I could stop the hormones. No, I do want to continue with this transition towards no specific destination. But I feel good and have patience knowing (and feeling) that my body is changing, transitioning, and I feel good with the changes I see and feel.

I now have the patience to observe me, to wait for the changes, to feel myself, and I feel good.