Living in the Middle

Someone wrote…

Throughout my life I’ve felt agender. Androgynous. But over the past 5 years, I’ve begun to consider myself masculine of center/trans* I dress in male clothing, I like to be perceived as male, and I go by male pronouns.

Lately I’ve been questioning whether I’m still in the middle of the gender spectrum. I’ve been envying male bodies and wish I could have certain characteristics for myself. The thing about transitioning is that it’s simultaneously terrifying and fascinating to me at the same time. The changes are permanent. I only want some of the changes that testosterone brings, but I cannot pick and choose the traits I develop if I do start T.

Can anyone who has been living in the middle of the gender spectrum relate? I want masculine traits when I want them, but not all the time. The days when I feel more masculine are when I feel dysmorphia. Most other days I’m fine. Any advice or stories?

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on April 25th, 2015 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 3 comments »

3 Responses to “Living in the Middle”

  1. Anonymous

    Yes! I understand! I understand so much that I had to go back and reread the first couple sentences to make sure that it wasn’t actually me who wrote this post.

    I know *exactly* what I want to make permanent. I want no period. I want no breasts. I want a deeper voice, but not so deep that I’ll get “mistaken” for a man. I want masculine muscle distribution. And I know exactly what I don’t want. I don’t want excess hair. I don’t want the debatable personality/emotional/mannerism changes that come with being on T. I don’t want to be perceived as a man unless I want to be.

    And like you’re saying I can’t pick and choose. It sucks. SOOOOO much. And the dysphoric days are the masculine-feeling days when I know I want to look like a guy but can’t because I’m not on T*. I just think about how that if I was on T, then my dysphoric days would be my neutral-feeling days when I know I want to look neutral but can’t because I’m on T.

    *I’m actually doing a whole bunch of stuff to try to get some kinda T-like effects (key word is “kinda”). I’ve been doing vocal exercises and practicing lowering my voice range (cite YouTube, ftm voice exercises). I’ve been working on my upper body strength/shoulder muscles (cite: YouTube and “The FTM’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Looking Like a Hot Dude”). I used the “Complete Illustrated Guide” to recognize masculine and feminine things like square vs round glasses and haircuts, and about woven shirts and clothing patterns and fits. It’s obviously not the same thing as T. I still get a period** I still have breasts*** I still have a more feminine voice than most men and a more naturally feminine muscle distribution. BUT it is better than nothing, since I know that T probably is a bad idea as a relatively permanent commitment.

    **I might get a hysterectomy. My doctor says it’s a go. I just have no money.
    ***I’m really really lucky to have a small chest, so this usually isn’t a problem in terms of actually being seen as a dude when I want to be

    I hope that helps in any number of ways :D


  2. Anonymous

    When I was pre-deciding-to-be-on-T, one thing that scared me was just being dysphoric, but on the other end of the spectrum. I’ve always largely felt “in between,” and I didn’t see myself or want to be a super macho guy; I wasn’t sure if I wanted certain changes, but I definitely didn’t like having a super feminine body. It’s tough, cause unfortunately it’s not like there’s an in between hormone, or one that will automatically alter your body based on how you feel right then. When I did decide to go on T, it was after a lot of thought and experiencing living as trans without hormone therapy. At a certain point I think I came to be okay with the inevitable changes. I sort of grew into a certain identity, based on what was already there. Realistically, a lot of them are subtle, and slow to develop, and the dosage you take can impact those changes. So I was like, even if I don’t like a certain extreme, I could cut back on a dosage if need be before it got “worse,” for lack of a better word. And living with an estrogen dominant body was just not working for me, so it was like anything is better than this.

    I’m sure it helps, granted, that I’m a bit more consistently trans-masculine. It comports with my identity to be generally andro-masculine in my body, regardless of the subtleties in my identity shifts. Obviously, for you, the most healthy thing you can do is get your body to align with who you are the best you can. You can’t snap your fingers and have one thing change from one to another, of course, and you either have to learn to be okay with that or do whatever else you can.

    I’m not sure what changes exactly you’d want, but for example, if one wanted a deeper voice, you could train yourself without hormones, or you could take a fairly low dose and train yourself to speak higher when you want – a lot of transwomen do this. You could take some notes from transmen pre-T for appearing more masculine.

    Not sure if you know, but only a small handful of changes from T are actually permanent. Voice, hair growth (which from what I understand slows if you stop or take low doses), and if your face bones get a little thicker that too, but everything else reverses if you stop.

    The annoying old adage is, you do what’s right for you. To me, it’s like, yeah sure it’s a big decision, not something to sneer at, but for all the “but what if I change my mind later, what if I feel this way later,” y’know, I don’t want to be a slave to every possibility that doesn’t even comport with my current identity.

    Hopefully any of that helps/anything. Good luck.


  3. anta

    I totally relate, even though I suppose my situation is different. I don’t really have dysphoria over my breasts, for example. I wish they weren’t there, but they’re small enough to bind comfortably. I’d just rather not bind for the rest of my life, but I’m afraid of surgery because I fear something might go wrong.

    The other thing I fear is that while I can easily imagine my breasts not being there, I just can’t imagine what *would* be there. There would be something. My nipples would likely be there, but where exactly, I don’t know. Also, while I’m not thrilled with my body, I find that I look kind of nice naked, and I’m not sure how having no breasts would fit with my hips and thighs.

    I guess not having breasts would be important to me because having them somehow makes me an androgynous woman instead of a “real” adrogyne. My presentation is masculine, because I fear that anything feminine would make people assume I was a woman.

    Back in the day when I was really thin (I’m at a normal weight now) I loved it when people assumed I was a woman, then did a double-take and decided I was a man. For some reason the reverse just isn’t as exhilarating, even though I’d like it to be. Forcing myself into previous thinness would seem mad, though the times when I’ve been most okay with my breasts have been times when I’ve been at my thinnest. (Being thin just has happened. I don’t know why.)

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that logically, I know what would make sense, but I’m afraid of dying due to some complication or getting handicapped somehow(?), or just plain regretting. I tried T before, and that I don’t regret, even though the beard-growth put me off. I like my voice (it’s deeper than it used to be), and I guess that with my slightly trained shoulders, this would be a good mix… if it weren’t for the breasts.


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