T+9: Are We Male Yet?

Reflections on nine years of testosterone therapy

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Selfies of Pax on January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2023.

(Content note: Discussion of health, weight, and body image.)

This week marks nine years since I began testosterone therapy to address the gender dysphoria I experience living in a female-assigned body. That date — January 3, 2014 — is the second of three major milestones in my early gender transition, both in chronological order and in importance. The most significant date is my Nameday, September 23, 2013, when I announced my new name and non-binary gender to the world. The final milestone was my legal change of name and sex, on July 14, 2014.

I previously wrote reflections on five years of hormonal transition, in January 2019. What has changed since that date?

As is evident from the photos, I have gained a significant amount of weight. I attribute this primarily to being sedentary, especially since the start of the pandemic. In 2014 I was very active, doing physically demanding volunteer work and running races on a regular basis. Since 2020, I’ve spent the vast majority of time sitting at my desk, a habit I am still attempting to change.

I am now over fifty pounds heavier than I was before I started on hormones, which on a 5' 4" body is quite noticeable. This bothers me mostly because I know that I am not in good physical condition, confirmed by several medical scares over the past couple of years. Being over 50 and on testosterone, I am at greatly increased risk for a heart attack if I don’t start taking better care of myself very soon.

While the weight gain bothers me primarily for health reasons, I’m not happy how it has affected my physical appearance, either. I’m not really concerned about being shamed by others for my weight, which was much more likely when I was presenting as a woman (sadly). But I do prefer the way I looked when I was carrying less body fat.

Also, my larger breasts are harder to conceal (as I still refuse to wear a bra or binder), making it more likely for me to…

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch