A reader writes: “When someone says they are a transsexual man, does that mean that they are a woman contemplating their sex identity or a man contemplating their sex identity? Pardon me if this was offensive, it was purely out of curiosity so I don’t mess up in the future.”
No offense taken. It’s a legitimate question. (Here’s a link to some vocabulary terms that might also help: Trans-lations.)
In most cases, when a person says that he is a transsexual man, what he means is that he has transitioned in some way from female to male. In other words, he was assigned female at birth, and now lives as a man. When someone says that she is a transsexual woman, she means that she was assigned male at birth and has transitioned in some way to female.
This is particularly confusing when the press refers to a “transgender man” when they actually mean a “trans woman,” and vice versa. I could go into a long diatribe about the whole “transgender” and language thing, but I won’t (because nobody wants to hear it again).
Suffice it to say that when people refer to themselves as a man or a woman and any form of “trans” is in front of that, they will generally mean that they are living in a sex and gender that were not assigned to them by the outside world at birth.
A reader writes: “I’ve always felt like I was male from being a young child, and now I feel ready to begin my journey. My question is: I understand there is no guarantee with hormones, but do people who are younger when they begin hormones see results sooner?”
Hmm. That depends on the person. I don’t think there is any research behind this. In my experience, it seems to me that people who are younger when they begin often have “better” results. By that, I mean that I have seen young people masculinize relatively quickly when compared to older people (but “quickly” is just a matter of a few months), and it seems to me that they generally get better facial hair and muscle tone.
But that’s just through my own eyes. Hudson’s FTM Resource Guide says, “It has been hypothesized that the earlier hormone therapy is started in life, the more effective it will be in terms of masculinizing effects. However, many trans men have begun hormone therapy late in life and have been very satisfied with their results.”
You will get the results that you are genetically programmed to get. How rapidly you will get them and how “strong” they will be will also depend on genetics, for the most part. I think Hudson’s Guide, linked to above, has some really good information on all aspects of testosterone use for trans guys, and I would highly recommend reading it.
A reader writes: “I have been doing some research about transgender people and was wondering about intimacy. This is pretty awkward for me to ask, but when a person is born a female, transitions to a man, but has not, for whatever reason, gotten bottom surgery, how does that affect arousal and climaxes?”
Testosterone affects arousal levels for many, but not all, trans guys. Many (probably most) trans guys will probably say that it is one of the first things that happens when hormones are introduced, and that in the early stages of transition, you are just horny as hell. It is 14-year-old-boy horny. It is distracting. It can make you want to climb the walls. It is the “anything that moves” kind of horny.
It generally dies down (or you get used to it) after a couple of years. But it has nothing to do with surgical interventions. It has to do with testosterone. With regard to orgasm, it pretty much happens like it always does. I think my orgasms changed in intensity (became more intense and localized), but that could just be my imagination. The equipment works like it always has, so from a biological standpoint, as far as I know, nothing changes.
And there is a myth that trans men lose their ability to orgasm after phalloplasty, but this is generally not true. I think it was more true in the past (at least there was much higher risk), but surgery has come a long way. There might still be some risk, but I think it is negligible. If I’m wrong, readers will let me know.
A reader writes: “In a document that I was involved in editing, someone wrote: ‘For example, transgender children often are not addressed by a name and a pronoun that corresponds to their chosen gender identity. I am tripping over the word ‘chosen,’ which sounds like picking clothes off a rack. What might be a better word – ‘felt,’ ‘real’? Would be great to have people’s input.”
I would say “innate gender identity,” because it indicates internal and inborn.
Readers, do you have other suggestions? And what are your thoughts on any of the questions above?