"Do You Take Hormones?"

“Do you take hormone pills?” 

“Do you want to be a man?”

Both questions I receive all too often. People see my rapidly growing facial hair and automatically assume that I seek to change my gender. Every female walking on this Earth produces both estrogen and testosterone hormones by way of our incredibly formed bodies. The amount and levels of hormones produced changes daily, but they are both released in short, pulse-like bursts that vary from hour to hour. This bodily function mostly goes unnoticed and looks pretty much regular on the outside from woman to woman…unless you’re like me – a stud who appears masculine with an involuntary surplus of growing hair to match. 

What I’ve found especially intriguing is the level of comfort others have in readily asking those questions. In one of the more recent cases, an older Soror asked mid-conversation after she took a good look at my face. Of course, she attempted to catch her words after they flew out of her mouth by saying she didn’t mean to offend me if she had, but to be honest, at that moment, I was only thinking that she was simply out her rabbit ass mind for ever thinking it was okay to ask in the first place regardless of how hairy my face looked. If I’m going to keep the hair off my face and keep my hairline intact, I have to get a haircut every week as my body naturally overproduces testosterone; hence, the deeper voice at times. Sure, I willingly have a faint mustache and my legs stay hairy because when I tried shaving them in high school, the hair on them grew back 10-fold, but the answer will always be no! No, I do not take hormone pills; no, I do not want to change my gender identity; and no, I will never allow you to feel comfortable enough to minimalize the struggle of those that do.  

The term gender dysphoria is used to describe the experiences of a person who has extreme discomfort or distress because the gender they mentally and emotionally identify with doesn’t match the gender they’re assigned at birth. What’s even more important is to acknowledge that as their body continues to evolve, it serves as a constant horrifying reminder that the person they see in the mirror doesn’t match how they truly envision themselves. So as they make the choice and begin to undergo transition, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) becomes a step in the right direction. For people assigned female at birth, they can increase their testosterone levels through various methods: injection, patch, pill, and/or a topical cream/gel. For people assigned male at birth, they might start with some form of estrogen, such as Spironolactone, which they’ll follow up with some form of estrogen intake: pill, shot, etc. However, that’s only half the battle as not only does HRT have its own set of potentially painful side effects, but it doesn’t instantly change their most prevalent reminder with the snap of a finger. Most of the world will never be able to fully understand the pain our transgender brothers and sisters experience and with the number of transgender people killed already surpassing 20 this year, it appears some people will never attempt to understand, but we should ALL be able to stand together on one accord behind the importance of self-love especially regarding its effect on mental health and agree that obtaining it should be by any means necessary.

Ultimately, regardless of if a person desires to change their gender identity or not, no one should ever feel comfortable enough to inquire about it. Let me clarify…if you have to make sure your intent behind a question/statement regarding the lifestyle of someone apart of the LGBTQ+ community is known after you say something or preface it beforehand, it should never be said at all. Most importantly, just because someone dresses masculine and has the societally defined mannerisms to match, it doesn’t automatically imply that they don’t love the skin they’re in. Yes, I like my clothes a little baggy around the waist, and no, I’m not pressed about plucking my chin hairs, but I am and will forever love being a woman. The next person may not have that same response and that’s okay because at the end of the day, even though you may not like it, you will respect it!