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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Why I Don't Recommend TransTape (And Yes, I've Tried It)

So that TransTape stuff I talked about back in this post?  I got it.  And if you follow my vlog you probably already got most of the story:  It was a bad experience.  So I'm giving my rolls to somebody who really wants to try it but can't afford it... but I do caution against it.

First and foremost I wanted to make it clear that I subscribe to the Kate Bornstein School of Harm Reduction in that I strongly believe it is better to do something harmful to yourself than do something more harmful to yourself.  I know a lot of trans guys who are really into this product because it has advantages regular binders don't and they do not see top surgery in the near future.  No shame, it happens.  But I think it's also important to understand the risks, which I feel are being unfairly downplayed.

First, the good stuff.

I had an extreme honeymoon period with this stuff, to the point where I keep thinking "should I try this again?" and having to talk myself out of it.  It didn't look good without clothes, but with clothes it was probably the best look I ever had with a binding solution.  And it was comfortable.  I could breathe in it.  I kept telling my roommate how great it was while it was on.  Sleeping and showering in it was comfortable.  It seemed to withstand the active shit I do (doing karate in it felt fantastic; I normally wear a sports bra for that sort of thing).

There are a couple of health advantages compared to other binding methods, which I'll talk about in the last section.  It should be mentioned that I don't use other binding methods anymore, which affects how I feel about this product.

Yeah, the "good stuff" section is super short, but the stuff that was good was really good, hence why I keep considering reneging my decision not to use it again.

But there was way more bad stuff, and some of the bad stuff is... well, really bad.  So I hope you'll read this with serious intent and make a really informed decision about it.

It didn't deliver what I had hoped.

I'm going to go from the least bad to the most bad here.  The least bad but still bad thing was that all the fantasies I had about being able to go outside topless were pretty obviously not going to happen.  It looked weird.  On some body shapes this could work fine, but on mine I'm literally better off just not binding at all.  Even at a distance... I just couldn't do it.

It is hard to apply, with confusing instructions.

There's an instruction sheet sent with the tape that is supremely confusing, and watching the videos available in combination with it doesn't really help much.  The instruction sheet says there needs to be two inches of unstretched tape at each end... but there clearly isn't nearly that much in the video I saw.  On the front of the instruction sheet it says IN BOLD LETTERS not to add tension to the tape, then on the back it explains where it should be stretched (Is that the same thing or not?  I don't get it.).  For what it's worth, I did not stretch it at all.

If you use this I suggest you get something with a light adhesive (like an appropriately sized Band-Aid)  to cover your nipples; the instructions suggest things like tissue paper, and this worked but was a pain in the ass to keep in place with breasts the size of mine.

Using this to bind my right breast felt difficult but do-able, but the left was a wrinkled mess and I couldn't figure out any way of changing that.  The instructions warned that this could cause irritation, but honestly it didn't (and as you'll see if you read further... there was a lot of irritation).  It did, ultimately, make it hard to keep the tape on later.

It was super irritating.

This is the second most bad part... yeah, second most.  I have place it in second because I knew the risks here.  My TransTape experiment was based on a late night dysphoria-induced purchase that I made after weeks of trying to convince myself not to try it because I have been around and knew what would happen.

This tape was so comfortable while it's on that I didn't notice it was irritating my skin a lot.  In fact, it wasn't until a bit rolled up and I saw it was a red wavy mess.  I decided to take the rest off, and pulled out the instructions which said we were to soak the tape in oil for around a half hour and then let it fall off naturally.  When it finally "fell off naturally," so did several chunks of my skin.

I thought it had just been two chunks from a section that was pulled off too overzealously.  "This is my fault, I must have taken it off too fast," I told myself, sheepishly, before re-referring to the instructions, oiling the shit out of it, and playing the waiting game.  It was a red mess, sure, but not that bad... until the next day, when I had little scabs all over my breasts, and was itchy everywhere.

My plan to try it again fell through, and continues to look like a worse and worse idea, because it's been irritated for days now.  I'm taking care of it, and it'll heal, but it's definitely not something I'll do again.

There is a lot of deception going on in the community about this product.

Again, this doesn't speak to what I went through so much.  I knew it was a bad idea when I did it.  But going through it and seeing what they send, what they suggest, and what other people are saying on Twitter... there's a lot of misinformation out there about TransTape and a little possibly-willful ignorance, too.

First off, you might be tempted to believe that because this is called "TransTape" and "invented by a trans man" it means that this is better for you than regular old kinesiology tape (KT tape).  Because "it's designed for us!"  That's only a half truth, though.  TransTape is kinesiology tape--it's exactly the same thing--it was just ordered in a size and shape that would better facilitate binding.  If you think "gosh this trend of using kinesiology tape sure looks dangerous," realize that TransTape really isn't any better for you.

It's also important to realize that "invented by a trans man" wouldn't mean "good for us" even if it were actually invented start to finish by him.  Trans men by this standard also "invented" duct tape binding, ACE bandage binding, and putting minoxidil places minoxidil is not supposed to go.

That said, when people talk about TransTape I don't think they really understand how little the marketing really matters as far as its safety and efficacy are.  Some of the commentary I've seen from other trans guys is actually really absurd... yesterday I saw somebody claim that TransTape is safer because kinesiology tape "is supposed to stick to muscles" while TransTape "is designed for the skin."  So a lot of people really don't understand how this product was made, or they have weird ideas about how it (and in fact all kinesio tape💮) works.

This isn't a case of a laboratory of trans guys tirelessly looking for safer ways to bind, it's just somebody who was able to order a product that already existed in a size and color that works better for an extremely off-label purpose.  It's like if somebody found a supplier of minoxidil, put a label on it saying "TransFoam," and started selling it as a way to grow beards.  Sure, the FDA would probably step in on that one, but the point is that "designed by a trans man" doesn't make it safe.

There is also a huge problem in this product's advertising where it downplays the health problems that can result from it and pushes the responsibility onto the people who use it.  The website proclaims that the "vast majority" of users never experience skin reactions, which is slightly misleading; it only refers to allergic reactions.  A lot of people have skin problems with this stuff... if they didn't, the company wouldn't also sell salves and oils that are designed to mitigate and heal the damage and they wouldn't dedicate so much time to convincing people that the skin tearing and irritation that occurs is a problem of not using it properly rather than an inherent problem with the product itself.  If it's ridiculously hard to use it properly and without irritation, is it really a problem of consumer error?

This is a classic business cop-out:  Push responsibility for product safety to the consumer so the business doesn't have to deal with it.  That's true for small businesses as well as large businesses, we just tolerate it more from small ones because of the gross mythology we have regarding them.

"You just don't want us to have... hope"

So while I was researching for this post I happened on a Tumblr blog that says this:
there hasn’t been a long time to research every effect of this on our bodies, but the same can be said about most things to do with transitioning or just dysphoria-alleviators in general. i’ve seen a few fearmongering anecdotes from self-appointed experts who have nothing to stand on except they have thousands of followers who will believe them, who really don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to this stuff or just want to discourage any kind of hope, which really pisses me off, and it’s up to you to make the informed decision for yourself.
I think the best way to describe this one is "a bad point wrapped in a good point" and I'm not picking on just this Tumblr... it's a common set of attitudes.

The good point is this:  The things we do to manage dysphoria often are risky.  Binders--including the specially made binders we're supposed to use--can be super dangerous, with people getting morphed ribs and shit (in fact, one of the best cases I've seen for using TransTape was a guy who can't bind because he fucked his ribs up too much binding too tight as a teenager).  I have a friend who got pneumonia twice and still binds.  We do these things because we, as individuals, have come to the conclusion that the risks are worth the rewards.

The bad point is this:  Folks advising against tape are doing so because we know what kind of harm it can do already, and watching your whole community throw its whole weight behind something that we know is harmful in ways that are not adequately addressed... well, it fucking sucks.

Here's the reality:  People who really go to bat against TransTape and things like it aren't actually stopping people from using it.  Folks who are convinced this will change or already has changed their lives are going to rationalize to the death why it's OK anyway.

Finally, I'm not saying that you shouldn't use TransTape.  Like I said earlier, TransTape has a few huge safety advantages over other binders in that it doesn't distort your ribs or affect your breathing, and if you're one of the folks who keeps trying to get away with super unsafe shit like sleeping in a binder, then please switch to something like this because you'll be way better off.  If I had strong opinions that this is irredeemably unsafe I would have chucked mine instead of giving it to some random person on Twitter.

Just know what risk you're taking and take precautions to mitigate them.  That's it.


💮 -  For transparency's sake, I'll mention my mom is an occupational therapist and was an early adopter of kinesio tape in the United States so I'm pretty familiar with it.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Top Surgery Update

It's only been a day since I officially told the blog that I'm back on the "trying to get top surgery" wagon and... well, life comes at you really fast, and I already have updates.  Like a lot of updates.

I put a call on my Facebook for input from my local trans friends for information on how they acquired top surgery and I think I have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen (although I'm not sure of a timeline yet) and I've actually already contacted both a therapy center and a surgeon's office.

Here's the thing:  I've been transitioning for a really long time compared to almost all of my friends.  So my perception of how to get top surgery is incredibly skewed, and I had been assuming based on the barriers that used to be in front of me that I would never have insurance that covered this and would have to go to a prohibitive amount of therapy yet again.  I had really bad experiences with my HRT therapy, so was planning on going to a particular doctor who does not require letters.

My friends all indicated they'd had to go to basically no therapy to get letters (one got his on his second session, another went to three sessions but ultimately didn't actually need a letter to begin with).  So I immediately reached out to a transgender-centered therapist to ask if they did surgery letters (she replied that they do).

One of my friends, though, it turns out he went somewhere super local.  Like, in my city.  He's a surgeon I've never heard of before, he takes my insurance, and I might not need a letter to go to him.  There are some complications there... since I'm not on hormones anymore I don't have a dedicated doctor for trans concerns anymore, my primary care physician has mostly worked with my blood pressure and a few acute maladies, and the folks I used to work with (my HRT provider and my HRT therapist) are basically MIA.  I had tried to contact my HRT provider when I was going off hormones and failed, and my therapist is sort of a gatekeeper who wouldn't write a surgery letter without a fuckton more therapy anyway.

The discussion we had about this (reassuring me I don't need to be on hormones anymore to be eligible, etc.) implied that letter requirements are going to be looser than I expected.  So what's going to happen now is I'll go to the office, get a consultation, he'll give recommendations on what kind of surgery would go best with my body type, he'll work with my insurance to try to get it covered, he'll get back to me on cost, and we'll go from there regarding whether I need a letter or not.

Again, no clear timeline here, although I definitely would wait until at least after PSG (I assume I wouldn't be able to get it that early anyway!).

I have a couple of concerns regarding nipples, as my friend got his surgery without nipples and I don't know how comfortable I am with that.  This is actually really complicated for me in particular because of the following issues:
  • I am extremely worried about healing, and getting no grafts will mean no risk that my nipples will fall off in the shower or some other things I see happen to other trans men.
  • I am worried that if I don't get nipples I'll feel incomplete.
  • If I don't get nipples I have a whole world of tattoo options I can consider (I'm leaning toward getting flowers tattooed there instead, possibly tribulus terrestris).
  • My girlfriend likes my nipples.
  • ...but I'm actually not a fan of nipple play, as I don't feel erotic sensation in my nipples (the non-nipple parts of my chest have more erotic sensation than my nipples!).
  • If I get grafts I will likely at least for a period of time feel nothing in my nipples at all, which could trigger my dermatillomania.
I was hesitant about this doctor because he suggests no grafts for healing purposes, but when I really think about it it doesn't seem like that's actually a bad deal for me.

So I'll just bring my concerns up with the surgeon, see if I get any gross vibes from the practice, and go from there.

Happy Trails,
-- Jackson

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I Changed My Mind: I'm Probably Getting Top Surgery

Content note that this essay has mentions of self harm and surgery.

A couple months over a year ago I wrote and filmed that I do not bind and am not getting top surgery.  In it I explained that because I have dermatillomania (obsessive skin picking) I believed I had a high chance of winding up with one of those horror story top surgeries.  The skin picking has actually subsided a great deal since then due to lowered anxiety and better skin care.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

There's a new product on the market called Transtape that I decided to try out because I wanted the opportunity to go outside in my backyard without a shirt on and I figured it was enough for the distance people would be seeing me at (considering both my roommates know).  I haven't gotten it yet (they are wildly popular right now so I don't blame them for the holdup) but I was doing some deep thinking regarding why I felt that I needed that product.

When I started this blog I was going through a particularly fem phase... kind of.  I was trying to actively add more fem expression (lots of purple and pink, gemstone earrings, etc.) and... do I like that sometimes?  Sure, there's a lot of fluidity in my expression.  But most of the time I'm a beardy hunter camo and plaid wearing type fellow, pretty masculine.  And lately I'm feeling more so... like dramatically more so.

I'm starting to think that my attempt to wear more fem stuff more often (and to stop trying for top surgery) was almost I guess a social effect of going off hormones.  I don't know if I expected estrogen to make me feel more fem or if it was me subconsciously trying to buck the system or if it was just that natural fluidity ebbing and flowing like normal, but it's passed for now.  And once it passed, I started getting more and more self conscious about my chest again.

Like, I can look in the mirror naked or give myself a self breast exam or have sex and I'm fine, but walking around mixed company I find myself more and more often starting to hunch over because I feel eyes on me... even though they probably aren't really looking at me.

A more consistent issue I have, though, is that since I'm starting to feel more masculine again, I'm getting envious of the ability to wear certain clothes and dress certain ways.  Pagan Spirit Gathering kind of fucks with me in a way because I'm able to go around topless and get that feeling, but would attract more attention and possibly attempts at legal interaction if I walk around topless at a lake or a waterpark.  Outside of social concerns, I want the ability to wear things more comfortably that aren't shaped for my body... men's tank tops, bondage harnesses, thinner fabrics, and so forth.

Will I change my mind again?  I don't really think so, considering it was only about a year out of over twelve that I didn't want top surgery.

Anyway, I started a top surgery fund (my girlfriend mistakenly thought I meant a GoFundMe; GoFundMes for top surgery very rarely make any money and do nothing but stress people out... I'm just talking about a dedicated bank account!).  I'll be putting my extra money in there and really buckling down to afford it, because I have I guess more of a sense of urgency than I had before.  If you want to kick a couple dollars into that fund, feel free to use the Cash.Me link in the sidebar (cashtag $Setkheniitw) but obviously, no pressure.

Happy trails,
-- Jackson

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ovarian Adventures at Urgent Care

Note that this post talks about going to the doctor as a trans person, outing myself, and medical issues.

So on the 19th of last month (I know this because I quite actively monitor my cycle, something I might go more in-depth about in the future) I ovulated and had some blood.  It's not uncommon for me to spot a bit, and it wasn't period-level bleeding by any means, but it was a significant amount just for ovulation.

This brought me some relief as a couple of days earlier I had some sharp abdomen pain in my lower right quadrant.  I'd been thinking about those stories of women who don't get appendicitis checked out thinking it's just period cramps, and the extra blood confirmed it probably was something less serious.  I should have gone to the doctor right away, but I was too afraid.

The pain went down significantly, but it didn't go away.  So yesterday, in a fit of anxiety, I drove off to urgent care.  It was the second time I went to urgent care for possible uterine issues, and I was crossing my fingers it didn't go as annoyingly as the first time, in which a cis male doctor basically refused to test anything and seemed to believe I was trying to score a free hysterectomy (But he did have trans patients and was happy to meet me so I could educate him. Yeah.).

I'm happy to report that this was definitely one of my better doctor experiences when it comes to reproductive healthcare.

It started with the nurse.  When she came in and asked what was going on, I said that I was transgender, that I had a uterus that was functioning, and that the "abdominal pain" I reported at reception felt like it was related to that.  She was very matter of fact and friendly about it, and wrote everything down respectfully.  She even filled the doctor in on the whole situation which I've never had anybody do (so I didn't have to come out twice this time).

The doctor was not great on the language front, but not in a way that I interpreted as malicious.  He was extremely confused that I still have a beard and I had to explain that it keeps growing and doesn't fall out; in retrospect he may have been thinking it was PCOS (which is a definite possibility).

To his credit he seemed worried that he was going to say something that would offend me and was trying very hard not to.  He ran a bunch of tests (all relevant to the situation) including a pelvic exam.  He ruled out appendicitis and a couple other infections, said it was probably ovarian, and that I would need a transvaginal ultrasound but that they only have a technician on site for that two days a week.  He scheduled this for today, and I had it done at 10:15AM.

I showed up thinking that it would be the same folks as yesterday, but instead the technician was somebody I'd never met before and who also was clearly filled in on the situation and quite friendly and respectful.  I had an external ultrasound first (this, it turns out, is miserable; I had to have a full bladder so they could see things properly and it just felt terrible) and watched her highlight colored lights after colored lights on the screen (I have no idea what this means, but she said she "saw a lot").  Then she did the transvaginal ultrasound, which was super boring because the screen was shifted away.  It's unclear when I'll get the results back; they're going to a radiologist and then back to the doctor.

Right now the most likely explanation is that I have an ovarian cyst, although obviously I'll need to wait for the doctor to get back to me with the results.  I'm kind of pre-preparing by looking into some natural therapies for benign ovarian cysts as well as PCOS (which is not a distant possibility with my history).  But I'll write more about that when I get to it.

Happy Trails,
-- Jackson

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Body Shape Changes off Testosterone

Going off hormones I had quite a few expectations about how my body would develop based on what little I knew about going off hormones.  One of those expectations was that my body shape would change, and it would actually change quite drastically because... well, I'm fat.  I'm also not proportionally fat, if that makes sense... it pretty much all collects in one place.

Because that one place is probably the least healthy place for it to gather, and most of my testosterone cessation was due to health, I was kind of looking forward to the exodus of fat from my midsection to my butt, thighs, chest, and elsewhere.

Well... it hasn't happened.  My body shape has been pretty stable, even with the immense yo-yo dieting I did shortly after I went back to being estrogen-dominant (losing and then gaining like 20 pounds multiple times).

There have been, as expected, some cases of people misgendering me from behind.  But that's explainable by other factors:  I have long hair and I don't bind.  I think that if I did still bind and had a more male-read hairstyle there would be basically no difference.

If I incidentally lose weight, that might change, as there's not a huge chance I'll lose significant weight in my breasts.  But right now I just look oddly proportional, even if people notice my breasts they just think it's from being fat.

Anyway I did dig up a picture of me about one and a half years on testosterone as a comparison... I'm using a tri-top binder and so my chest is flattened out, and I have significantly less facial (or regular!) hair which makes a big difference, but my overall body shape hasn't changed a whole hell of a lot.  I don't even look much fatter than I did in this picture, which was surprising until I realized in most of my pictures I used a waist-length that sucked my gut in, another uncomfortable and fucked up think I did back before I decided to commit to healing my self-image instead of chronically yo-yo dieting.

Anyway, that's about it for body shape changes, which is to say... not a lot of them.  I keep thinking I'll see some, but they so far haven't been super dramatic.

Happy trails,
-- Jackson

Friday, January 12, 2018

To Trans Boys Fielding Off Truscum

In the trans community there's this concept called "truscum" or trans-medicalists.  These are trans folks on a spectrum of belief regarding what a valid trans person is, with some sort of medical standard.  The baseline criteria for most truscum is "needs to have experienced dysphoria," with extreme truscum believing you need to desire bottom surgery in addition to hormones.  The very first time I encountered this in trans men was a long time ago, before the term "truscum" was really in common use (if it even existed as a term yet).  It was a winding rant from somebody who was pleading with us young trans newbies (back when I was a newbie!) to understand the gravity of transition, implying that there were droves of sad women out there transitioning to men because it was trendy without understanding the consequences of their actions.

I nodded, intent that I was not in this category anyway.  And since then my experience has been kind of buffered.  My transition--outside of the last couple years--has been remarkably traditional.  I started transitioning back when the Harry Benjamin Standards were still in wide use, I was masculine from a very young age, and although sometimes my presentation veers more feminine than my usual, I typically look like a mix between "backwoods country boy" and "hobby farm hipster" and I blend in with cis men really easily.  That said, I see truscum from afar, but rarely actually have to deal with them, both because I pass well and because curate the spaces I occupy very thoroughly.  So I have next to no problem talking about going off hormones.  If I did, this blog wouldn't exist.

This changed yesterday, and I want to tell that story, both to blow off steam and as a reassurance to other trans people who I assume get way more crap from truscum than I do.

I have a huge love of my beard.  Like I've said more than once, if there was a significant chance I'd lose my beard, I wouldn't have gone off hormones.  So I frequent quite a few spaces for trans men growing beards to show off pictures and talk about products and stuff.  I decided recently to post a timeline photo, because I'm stereotypical like that, and since I started making this timeline way back when I was still planning on always being on T, well, I just kept labeling them like I always did.

That says "1.5 years off hormones," not 15, but you probably knew that.
I'd posted pictures in this forum before to generally positive comments, but as soon as I posted something that disclosed my post-hormonal status?  The truscum started crawling out of the woodwork to vomit their trash opinions.  One of them told me I should have "put on a stick-on beard and gone to a therapist about my voice" instead of going on hormones and then blathered on about how I make "real" trans men look bad.  Another insisted he "could tell" that I went off of them and asked a pointed question about why I would stop testosterone, which as pharmaceutical testosterone is apparently "what makes you a man."

To be clear, it was a minority of people; only two compared to a couple dozen likes and multiple positive comments.  But just as is the case with all internet harassment, a super insensitive comment has the weight of a dozen positive ones sometimes.  I eventually deleted the post, then felt indignant because I shouldn't have needed to do that, so I reposted it with the caveat that I was not going to deal with commentary on my hormonal status.  Since I disclosed in the post that the reason I'd deleted and re-posted was heckling, the admins took care of it, but because I know from private messages there were other post-hormonal trans men who felt unsafe posting afterward, I wanted to address some of the nasty comments that were made and why they're crap, just in case these blights on society get to any more of you.

1. Remember that trans people are way better at reading you than cis people.

Being told "you don't pass" (which is the end goal of telling somebody you can tell they aren't on hormones or whatever else they're telling you) by a trans person can be crushing, because I think we expect each other to have expertise on what we need to do to blend in better.  It's also easily weaponized because so many of us are self-conscious about it.

The thing is, though, we really suck at it.  As somebody who lives in a city that is a minor trans social hub, I see a lot of trans people, many of whom have been on hormones for over a decade, and can read many of them as trans.  This is because when you are a trans person who has gone on hormones, and when you've seen other trans people who have gone on hormones, you get a very good sense of what changes and what doesn't that cis people never really experience.

One time I was going stealth in an LGBT club (I really wanted to see a little of what it felt like to be treated like a cis queer person in a queer space).  I'd been stealth for maybe four months, and there was a guy I'd immediately read as trans due to things like hand and foot size and variations in his facial structure.  I just got a vibe.  We both attended a sensitivity training and, when the only people "disclosing" their identity labels were cishets, I finally got sick of it and stood to disclose I was queer and trans.  The other guy then also disclosed, both of us to shocked gasps from the primarily-cis audience.  These are people who knew us for months, and they'd had absolutely no idea about either of us, even as we totally read each other.

I tell you that to tell you this:  If some truscum is telling you you aren't man enough (or woman enough, if you are a trans woman) because they "can tell," they are peddling hot garbage.  It's OK to feel bad when people are garbage to you, but always keep in mind that they really don't know what they're talking about.  And bonus:  I bet that you probably can find all sorts of things about them that scream "trans" to you, and the most persistent of these fools I would have read as trans in like ten seconds if he walked by.

2. Dysphoria does not mean what truscum think it means.

I already mentioned in a different post, but there are a lot of people who are dysphoric who don't think that they are dysphoric, because other trans people (and not just truscum) are very bad at expressing what that term means.

Dysphoria does not mean "I need bottom surgery or I will be suicidal."  The trans experience has never meant that, not since Harry Benjamin's first rudimentary categorization of trans people, which made plenty of room for trans folks who didn't need hormonal or surgical intervention.  Dysphoria is best described as a sense of being mismatched... which can include extreme depression until the entire body is changed, but can also mean merely feeling more comfortable looking one way than another ("I don't actively hate my chest but would be more comfortable and at peace if it were flat").

Dysphoria is also often contingent on more than just your personal feelings about your body.  Truscum like to believe that being trans is a fully biological condition (they like trash terminology like "brain sex") and that without any social conditioning whatsoever, "real" trans people will still feel the same level of dysphoria they would feel if they had grown up somewhere trans people were viewed differently.  This is, however, entirely untestable as there are no trans people who grow up without this kind of social conditioning.

3. The above is kind of a moot point, though, because truscum rarely actually care about dysphoria to begin with, they just care about compliance.

Here's the thing about going off or staying off hormones:  A lot of folks who do this are not doing it voluntarily.  I've met a couple dozen trans men who went off hormones, and very few are doing it for voluntary, hippie-dippy reasons like I did.  Instead, they ran into financial difficulty and had to stop, were forced off of it by incompetent doctors, couldn't go on it because there were too many social barriers in their way, or couldn't go on it because they had medical contraindications that meant nobody would prescribe it to them.  There are even those who don't start T because they're terrified of it, partially because truscum make it seem like a terrifying thing.

And the trans men who really get harassed by truscum?  They're often in this category.  If it were really about dysphoria or preserving the fantasy that transgender status is a biological disorder, truscum as a whole would be advocating for better hormone access.  But they literally do the opposite... they behave as though the "real" trans people are a rare phenomenon and that we need a high number of checks and balances to prevent anybody but the "real" trans people from accessing medical care.

A side effect of this is a disgusting "bootstraps" effect where people who get tripped up by the obstacles put in place are defined as "not real."  Because if you were a real trans person you'd let nothing stand in your way.

It's garbage.  Don't listen to it.

4.  If somebody is having a hard time being taken seriously (by the medical establishment, by their therapist, etc.) it's cis people's fault, not yours.

I think it's important to recognize that truscum--like all trans people--often do face a lot of struggle trying to get the care they need.  One of the truscum above was going on and on about how my going off hormones (something most cis people don't even know about me) "makes it hard for people to take us seriously."

Here's a little secret that is not a secret:  Cis people already don't take us seriously.  There has never been a time when cis people as a general rule were like "oh, yeah, this is a legitimate medical condition that has an agreed-upon treatment that is definitely not controversial" that was sabotaged by other trans people.  If everybody who transitioned exactly the way truscum want, they would still have the same issues from the same people making the same arguments.

This is especially obvious when looking at the way truscum try sucking up to TERF ideologies.  There is absolutely no way to spin anything a TERF says as being accepting of truscum, and yet they still fabricate this idea that if we all would just do it their way the radfems would leave them alone.  This is preposterous, considering the seeds of TERF dogma were sewn back when people generally did transition more like truscum logic would dictate.

5.  Always remember that these people are a minority.

Like I mentioned above, the exchange I had with two people was enough to ruin part of my day because of the negativity of it, but people who were positive about it outnumbered them a good twenty to one if not more.  The reality is that times have changed a lot since these people were hatched and transitioning differently is not a controversial thing that everybody only talks about in hushed tones.  It's common knowledge in trans communities.

Anyway, that's all for now.  Happy trails,
-- Jackson