“Hey, it’s Cole and I’m 5 years on T,” writes #GAYNRD‘s Cole Hayes in this beautiful reflection on the fifth anniversary of his hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to assist his physical transition from female to male (FTM). Read it below.
Five years have passed since my first testosterone injection. Looking back, I thought this day would be more impactful than it is. Today is just like any other, I feel no different. It’s very anticlimactic but, in a way, I think that’s a good thing.
On January 5th, 2015, I was sitting in the doctor’s office in my underwear with my pants around my ankles, my doctor explaining how to give myself injections as a 1.5” needle hovered above my thigh. She would do the first one, of course, but I would have to do the next one the following week.
It felt like the biggest moment in my life, and it was.
I don’t want to talk about all the turmoil one goes through their during self-discovery journey but, that first injection felt like the period at the end of my struggle. I walked out of the office a new man, even though nothing had changed, and nothing would change for many weeks.
Before deciding that hormones were the right path for me, I did an interview with ClosetTransgender as he’s known on YouTube.
I was so nervous to do the interview because I had only just come out and was still conflicted about how I felt. It felt weird to be referred to as “he” and “him” but deep down, I knew that’s what I wanted. Watching the interview back, it’s interesting to hear what I found scary about the transitioning process.
So much has happened within this time. I’ve grown and learned so much about who I am and what it means to be a man, not only for myself but in society. I’ve had to learn to play the man’s game and experience the strange shift from being perceived as female, to male.
The man’s game is a weird one, and one I still don’t fully understand. As the years go on, I’ve tried to disentangle myself from it because to me, being a man means being exactly who I am. I’ve learned that being male isn’t about what I wear, how I talk, whether I use chap stick or not (I’ve had men tell me I wouldn’t allowed to use chap stick if I wanted to be a dude…Still not sure why) It’s not about my genitalia or the size of my feet. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned during these five years, is the pressure men put on themselves to behave a certain way out of fear of being seen as effeminate.
At the beginning of my transition, I did adhere to more masculine behaviors because it helped me pass but after five years, I’ve grown into my body and myself and to my surprise, have come to love the parts of myself that maybe are still seen traditionally feminine.
Over the past five years, I’ve let go of my fear. I am a transman. I am a man. I’ve stood before a judge during my name and gender marker change, I’ve given myself (let’s be honest, my husband has given me) roughly 260 hormone injections and gone through the uncomfortable and embarrassing second puberty process, I’ve learned how to properly shave and shape my beard, and I’ve had top surgery. I’ve seen and felt my body change each week.
Sometimes I forget everything I’ve had to do to become the man I am today and more often than not, I forget I am even trans. I think that’s why this day doesn’t feel is big or special as I thought it would five years ago.
I’m finally in a place where I’m able to be me. It took a long time, many thousands of dollars, pain, blood, shame, heartbreak even, but it in the end, it was all worth it. Five years have passed since my first testosterone injection, and today is just like any other.