I was wondering, I have a really bad fear of needles and I want to go on T, so I'm wondering if you have to get a blood test for androgel
Zak: Yeah, you still need regular bloodwork in order to make sure your hormones are at healthy levels and that your red blood cell count, cholesterol, etc all remain in good ranges. It’s very important to have a doctor monitoring your blood. I’ve personally had to have my dose adjusted due to a potential health problem discovered during a regular blood draw.
I understand being afraid of needles, I’m TERRIFIED and having an upcoming blood draw can ruin my week. It’s tough to work on that anxiety, but honestly it does get better as time goes on (this is a real thing that happens- desensitization with continued exposure). Breathing exercises have helped me calm down (take longer breathing out than breathing in, this naturally relaxes your body), as well as doing little things to help myself feel in control (for instance, reminding myself that I don’t have to do the blood draw now, I could come back tomorrow, but I’ll feel better if I get it get it over with). If you find yourself experiencing a lot of anxiety beforehand, try to distract yourself and remind yourself that nothing bad is happening at the moment and so there’s no reason to worry.
These aren’t perfect solutions, I do all of the above and I still have a tough time with my anxiety about needles. I’ve found that it gets easier over time and that for me it is worth it in order to be on testosterone and monitor my health. In the grand scheme of things there are relatively few needles involved if you go on the gel (or patch, cream, etc). If your doctor is anything like mine was, you’ll start off getting blood drawn every three months, then every six months, then once a year after you’ve had several times of normal results, your dose has been adjusted, and you’ve been on T for awhile. This depends in your doctor, though. My new doctor requires bloodwork from me every six months, but I’ve also had abnormal results in the past so it might be that it’s because of that. You’ll have to talk to your doctor about this to see what they’ll require.
Long story short, yeah, you’ll need to get blood drawn with any form of testosterone you choose (at least with every doctor I’ve heard of, and you should anyway for health reasons).
I've heard that T can cause acne. Does it tend to go away after several years on T, or does it stick around forever? Also, I already have acne - in fact, STILL have acne even though I'm 26. Will T make my acne worse? Will I ever NOT have acne?
Adrian: Most of the time your acne will settle down with time. I also had moderate acne before testosterone, and increased acne my first 3ish years on hormones and now I’m virtually acne-free. We’ve written quite a few articles about this topic that I’ll link to below:
Be proactive about your skin, figure out what kind of washes/scrubs work best. Go to a dermatologist if you can, even your general practitioner can prescribe you these medications. There have been recent developments as to what kind of acne medications can be sold over the counter and which ones need a prescription and more and more you can just pick up these things at your local big box or beauty department. I was always told to wait a season before making up your mind about your regimen, because your face is about a season behind (for example, in the fall your face will be recovering from all of the sweat/lotion/sun that you had on it during the summer). Be patient, but don’t be afraid to try new things. Anyone have a specific regimen that works well for them? Any other tips or tricks?
Other articles about dealing with acne:
Hey. I just came out to my mom and she is taking it pretty well. Mainly she just wants to become better educated on being transgender. How can I convince her to let me enter my new school as male? She doesn't really think its a good idea. But I really don't think I can wait three more years to live as male.
Zak: You may or may not be able to convince her. However, the best thing to do (in my opinion) is to have a conversation with her about her concerns and address them. Is she afraid that you will be bullied or hurt if you’re outed or “found out”? That the school won’t accept you? That it will be awkward for her as a parent? There are a lot of reasons why she might be uncomfortable with the idea, and if you’re able to get her to explain exactly why she feels that way than you’ll have a better idea of what to say to her in order to ease those concerns.
You may not be able to ease her concerns, though, especially if she’s worried about your safety. A lot of times this really comes down to your physical safety versus your mental and emotional health and well-being. All you can really do at a certain point is share with her how you feel and try to ease her concerns about your safety as much as you can. It might be helpful for her to contact the school counselor or principal and see if they have any advice for keeping you physically safe while allowing you to enter school as male.
i'm trans guy who isnt out to anyone other than close friends and i'm getting ready to apply for college. it's already hard enough as my parents are very transphobic, but i also graduated high school early and will only be 17 when i attend college. still want to start social transition at least in college, any advice? thank you!
Zak: College is an excellent time to transition, at least in my fairly biased opinion (both Adrian and I transitioned in college). You’re *usually* away from your family, in a more liberal social environment, and able to more easily control your social environment while in college. Plus, many college campuses have awesome resources like LGBTQ groups and centers. Some even have student health insurance that covers transition related care.
The main drawback is that many college students are still financially dependent on their parents, and parents might hold that over your head to try to maintain some control. Plus, being underage your parents do still have some control over you. For instance, parental consent is required for HRT and top surgery if you’re under 18 in the US. Legally, though, your parents can’t really keep you from socially transitioning. The fact that you’re under 18 doesn’t really matter in that regard as far as I’m aware.
I’d personally probably contact the admissions department when you apply to schools (as we recommended in this article) and more or less explain your situation. It’s definitely a huge plus if your parents are on board, but they can still help you get in touch with LGBTQ organizations and talk to you about campus climate. Once you actually get there you can figure out how you want to go about socially transitioning (or more). You might find that, being away from your parents, it’s quite easy for you to socially transition without them really even being all that aware of it (especially if you go to a college pretty far away and aren’t friends with your family members on Facebook).
Given what I said about some parents holding financial stuff over their kids’ heads, I’d advise trying to get as many scholarships as you possibly can and going to a fairly affordable school. Try to save up and plan carefully to cut down on how financially dependent you’ll be on your parents once you leave the house. This is just in keeping with our advice to plan for the worst while hoping for the best, so don’t stress out too much about it and assume the worst. Just be as prepared as you can be. Good luck! I wasn’t a huge fan of high school (okay, I hated it), but I had a great time in college. I hope you also have an awesome experience. :)
I have a skin condition that makes it so that the little fine blond hairs that grow on my arms and other places cause a negative reaction in my skin. Instead of the hairs growing out normally from the follicle, a bump encapsulates it and my body forms a wax to keep it in. I have read that shaving these hairs from my face will make me appear more masculine, but the bumps appear there as well, larger though and hard, as if they have cartilage in them. Any ideas on how to keep this down?
Zak: I don’t have any idea, sorry :( I don’t know anything about that condition or how to help that. I’d recommend asking your doctor about it.
Since binding (I only use underworld binders) I have developed a rib cage deformation at the bottom kinda where the binder rolls up. Recently, it's been hurting my chest area more so I went up another size. Has this happened to any of you guys or any followers? I'm going to go see a doctor but I'm scared in going to need surgery to correct this.
Zak: I really have no clue what that would be or if you’d need surgery to correct it. It’s good that you’re planning on seeing a doctor soon, hopefully they’ll be able to help you out and, if you do need surgery, talk you through your anxiety.
Even though queer people are gaining more and more visibility in mainstream media and society, that doesn’t mean that the images we’re presented with are always accurate or fully representative of who we really are and how we live our lives. And sometimes we’re still disappointingly absent, especially when it comes to certain subsections of our community.
When it comes to transgender people, the past year has been an incredibly historic time for the community. From Laverne Cox on the cover of Time magazine to Janet Mock taking on Piers Morgan, trans people and issues have never received more attention or visibility. However, there is still much work that needs to be done to educate the general public and members of the queer community about what it means to be transgender. What’s more, we’d love to see more trans people — especially those who don’t normally or necessarily have the spotlight — featured and celebrated in the media.
So, thanks to the Twitter hashtag #WhatTransLooksLike, we’re sending a little love to our trans friends who proudly shared their photos with us when we put out a call earlier this week. Feast your eyes on the beautiful folks who chose to take part in this campaign and if you want to be part of this stunning group, tweet your own photo using #WhatTransLooksLike and we’ll add it in the coming days.