April 7th, 2021.
It’s the most important day in recent memory, the one I hold near to my chest and remember just as well as my own birthday. It’s the day after I pulled into the CVS drive-through in my mother’s car, payment in my hand shaking with excitement, and picked up my prescription for testosterone.
Yes. As much as I would have liked to say I ripped it open immediately and had at the gel contained inside, that’s not true.
It had taken me several months of work to acquire. Visits with psychologists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists. Blood draws in a phlebotomy office. Conversations with people every step of the way who informed me of the changes my body would go through.
Deeper voice (exciting) and potential balding depending on my genetic lot in life (not as exciting) and so many other things that came with the territory.
I accepted all of it.
The alternative was not an option.
Dysphoria was a weight on my chest that was crushing me, such that, at that point in my life, I was suicidal.
Not the “I have a plan and I’m going to do it and you need to Baker Act me right now” kind of suicidal, more so the sort that goes:
“I can’t keep living like this. If I knew for absolute certain there’s an afterlife, I would end it all right here and save myself the agony of living another day in a body that doesn’t suit me. There is no future, no existence outside of this. But throwing myself off a building or whatever would really hurt, so I’m not going to do that. I’ll just drag myself out of bed to live another day.”
That’s the reality of what I went through. I was stuck at home with two parents who hated the fact that they now had two sons, and who saw fit to take out that ill-mannered grief on me. To tell me that I was delusional and annoying and that I killed the joy around me.
“A misery to live with,” my mother called me one night in the driveway, after one more attempt to stand up for myself sent her and my father over the edge.
When I looked in the mirror, I despaired. Knowing they were wrong about me, but feeling…what if they were right. My high voice, my breasts, my hips— all the result of estrogen I never asked for. I clawed at my skin and begged God to take my pain away so, so many times.
That’s why I decided to pursue hormones. Because it was life-or-death for me.
I held back for a day, despite my excitement when I held that green-and-white package. Out of fear, mostly. Fear of reprisals from the parents that I still, to this day, live with.
Their verbal abuse took a toll on me; even if it didn’t leave physical scars, I still live with the emotional ones.
I wish I could say that a switch flipped on April 7th, when I put that gel on my arm for the first time. That all my woes were immediately cured. Ha.
It was gradual, taking several months longer before I started seeing any significant changes. I often lamented the slow pace out of desperation to be seen, to pass, to move through the world as my authentic self.
But those changes did come, and I could not be happier with them. I don’t need to disclose myself. My voice is beautiful and deep and I sing happily now. My body is a work of art, in which I have shared in the act of creation.
I have never for a moment regretted it.
Please protect the right of people like me, who might not have a voice, to get the care they need.
Protect gender-affirming care in Florida, and everywhere else. Please.