Zak: The clitoris generally grows in both length and girth for individuals on testosterone. As we mentioned in our Changes on Testosterone article, the clitoris usually ends up being between 1-3 inches in length, with some guys smaller than that and some guys larger (it’s difficult to get a good estimate on averages here, since these numbers are largely self-reported by guys on tumblr, youtube, and other blogs). If you want to check out some examples, there are a lot of pictures of nude FtMs on testosterone at transqueersxxx (NSFW, obviously) and xtube, a porn site (super NSFW).
This somewhat poorly-written, TERRIBLY misgendered and improperly pronoun’d article was published in The Japan Times today, Japan’s biggest bilingual paper. It has all the hallmarks of an uneducated writer— Before & After photos, constant misuse of pronouns (calling Mrs. Sakura “he” and “a man” repeatedly, and flip-flopping as if confused), and glossing over gender dysphoria in favor of dwelling on how well the family is taking it, and whether she’s had surgery.
HOWEVER, the article also mentions a very pertinent issue, that of how GID and laws regarding name/gender change are handled in Japan (the answer is: poorly or rarely). As a trans man living in Japan, this is extremely important to me and to all the trans* people in this country.
Under current law, Sakura can’t record the gender change in the family registry because of a provision that bars such a change by someone married with an underage child.
The provision, according to Nakatsuka, is intended to prevent children with GID parents from becoming confused. But he said some overseas studies suggest there would be no adverse impact on children.
I already wrote a 2-page Letter to the Editor explaining that they should never use someone’s assigned-at-birth gender when writing about transgender patients, ESPECIALLY if they are transitioning. If you guys have a minute to explain your views and etiquette to the Japan Times, I would deeply appreciate your help. I would like them to understand that trans people are everywhere, not just news fodder—and that there’s a way to handle these issues with tact and enlightenment.
Thanks for reading. Those of us that don’t live in the US tend to feel rather cut-off from the community.
Zak: I don’t know if you would necessarily identify this way, and correct me if I’m totally off-base, but it sounds like you’re a butch woman. Butchness, for women, is generally defined as “masculine spirit in a woman.” I know plenty of butches, some of whom are lesbians and others who are not. Many wear more masculine clothing or prefer masculine terms but whole heartedly identify as women. Most of the resources for butch women tend to be from the lesbian community or assume a lesbian identity, such as Fuckyeahbutchlesbians, but others seem a bit more general (see fuckyeahbutch and fuckyeahbutchgirls).
If that doesn’t fit, you may be gender fluid (gender identity shifts, you may have “boy days” or “girl days”) or genderqueer. I highly recommend checking out genderfork and see if the way other people are describing their gender on there resonate with you.
We did a post on figuring out gender identity that you may or may not find helpful. My advice for anyone questioning their gender is to reflect on things, research the different identities and options out there (including talking to other people all over the gender spectrum about their identities), and experiment (by “cross-dressing,” going by different pronouns or different name online, or just generally allowing yourself to explore your gender). I also highly recommend My Gender Workbook for anyone who is questioning their gender or struggling with their gender identity.
Zak: I don’t know anything about this process in other countries (just as a heads up), you didn’t mention your location but here’s the info for the US:
If you change your name before meeting the qualifications for changing your gender marker according to the state you live in, you will absolutely end up with a male name on your ID and your sex as female. I had this situation for almost a year and never experienced any problems (granted, I was under 21 so not using my ID much), though I was really nervous about it.
Changing all of your documentation can be a real nightmare, particularly if you live in (or were born in) a state with a lot of complicated requirements for changing your gender marker. Changing your gender marker and changing your name, as I kind of mentioned before, are two entirely different processes. However they can be undertaken together, particularly in regard to your birth certificate. The federal requirements for changing your gender marker (which determine your gender with social security and passport) are different than the state requirements where you live (which determine your ID), which can be different from the state requirements where you were born (which determine your birth certificate).
The federal government requires you to submit a letter saying you have undergone gender transition, although this letter can be from your doctor who prescribes hormones or your top surgeon (does have to be a medical doctor or surgeon, though). This requirement is similar to several states, but is more lenient than many others. The requirements for changing your sex on your ID will often be different than the requirements for changing your sex on your birth certificate, even if you were born in the same state. For instance, some states will allow you to change the sex on your driver license after top surgery but require bottom surgery for you to change things on your birth certificate. In some states it is actually impossible for you to change anything on your birth certificate, which is quite unfortunate, but people still get by.
A lot of times, if you have conflicting documentation, you can plan ahead of time and submit alternative documents. For example, for many legal things that require you to prove citizenship, you can submit/show your passport instead of your birth certificate. I know of a lot of guys who have been unable to change their birth certificates but have been able to change their driver licenses and so got married in states that only required a drivers license for identification.
As for whether or not you will be doomed at international airports, I don’t think so. If you have been on hormones or had top surgery, I highly recommend you change your gender marker on your passport for safety reasons/just in case. However, like I said, I don’t think you are doomed if you don’t. You will, however, likely be flagged by security in certain places (like the US) because your documentation will be unusual. I didn’t travel internationally when I had documentation that didn’t all line up, but I did travel domestically and no one gave me any trouble having an ID that said “Zachary” and “female.” Honestly, the most important thing when traveling is having the name on your ticket match the name on your passport or other form of ID. If you do decide to change your passport, I highly recommend you go to a passport acceptance agency (like a post office) before you fill out any of the paperwork. I personally had quite a few problems figuring out the process, even after calling the nationally office, but the people who work at the offices are generally professional and very helpful and can get everything straightened out for you.
ALSO, and important note, you can get a temporary passport with your gender marker changed on it if you can document that you are in the process of transitioning. I don’t know exactly how one goes about documenting such a thing (perhaps a therapist’s letter?) but it’s worth looking into for anyone who needs to travel internationally but hasn’t physically transitioned (but plans on doing so).
Hope that clears things up for you. If I got anything wrong or if anyone has anything to add, feel free to say something!
Hello, everyone. Codie and I get a lot of questions from big-chested guys. We’ve answered a few similar questions before, but I’m going to make one really big post about what ya’ll can do. And then, I’m never going to do it again. I’m going to give anybody who says “my chest is large help!” a link to that post. Okay?
Oh, this is important: TRIGGER WARNING! I am going to talk about bodies in an incredibly straightforward way. I’m cool with saying things like “and for you bigger guys out there…” but in order to really explain this, I’m going to need to be really frank. We go out of our way here at binders101 to not offend anybody or set of anybody’s dysphoria, and I will continue, even in this post, to try my hardest. But know that at times in this post, I’m going to get glib, flippant, and frank. I do not want to sound ableist or sizeist and I do not want to otherize anybody or any bodies. I am simply attempting to achieve as much clarity as possible.
There are generally two different body types in question when we say “big-chested guys.” There’s the slim, waisty types with big hips and big breasts- in the D and up range, but with a 32-38 band size and a relatively flat stomach. I’m going to call that category Type A.
Then there’s guys who are all-around big- broad shoulders, wide chests, rounder bellies. We’re still talking D and up, but with a band size of 38 and up. I’m going to call this category Type B.
Now, keep in mind that the size ranges I’ve outlined are guidelines. Not all bodies fit into definable categories, and, as with any size setup, there are people on the borderlines. There’s shorter guys who fit into these types but have a C chest or a band size outside of the range I’ve outlined. The categories I’ve set up are for ease of description, and I think that you’ll be able to pick and choose the advice that I give based on the the differences between Types A and B based on what you know of your bodies.
And now for the actual advice. In a list. Cuz lists are sexy.
1. Everybody feels dysphoria about their chest! Everybody from AA all the way up. Remember that you are the only person scrutinizing your chest as critically as you do. Remember that your head is looking at your chest from the WORST angle. Remember that it looks and feels far worse to you than it does to those around you. I know that that’s not a comfort when the dysphoria is raging and you feel awful and your body is wrong and everything hurts, but seriously, as bad as you feel, you look handsome and flat and masculine and you never need to bind so hard that it hurts you to feel that way. Your flatness is NOT a measure of your masculinity. I promise. Keep that in mind when I say, the bigger you are, the harder it’s going to be to get you all the way flat. This is especially important for Type B guys- you’re not going to get all the way flat, and no matter how many times you hear this, I need to tell you again: guys your size AREN’T completely flat. It’s okay.
2. Layering your binders is safe and okay, as long as you’re doing it intelligently. If you get dizzy when you stand up or walk up stairs, you have too many layers. The two best big-chest layering techniques I see are (from innermost layer to outermost layer):
a. underworks 983 tri-top; underworks 997 double front compression shirt. This is a great method for Type B guys. It gives a whopping five layers of compression across the chest, but instead of leaving you with a spoon-chest due to compression of the chest but not the belly, two layers of compression around your hips and belly helps shape you overall into a smooth-looking masculine shape.
b. anything short from lesloveboat; underworks 983 tri-top. This is my dysphoria-day method! I wear a lesloveboat double collection short binder under my tri-top. It gives me a ton of chest compression without limiting my breathing at all. I recommend this for the Type A guys out there. Two short-length binders compress and smooth your chest but don’t cinch your waist in corset-style. It REALLY helps to use two different binders instead of, say, doubling tri-tops, because they work in different ways. The lesloveboat double collection tends to compress out and down due to its shape. It does a strong compression job but leaves me a bit lumpy in the armpit area. That’s where the wide, smooth coverage of the tri-top comes in.
Always put the widest coverage on top. If both binders have the same coverage, put the smallest/highest compression level on the bottom.
Type A, focus on compressing the chest area, Type B, you want to smooth over your whole torso for best compression.
3. Pick your shirt wisely! A cotton blend is going to cling to your under-layers a lot less than a polyester blend. A dark shirt is going to hide your chest better than a light shirt. Big patterns draw the eye away from your chest. Vests/sweater-vests/anything that creates a long V shape going down your torso (like a buttoned blazer or a strategically half-zipped hoodie) accent the masculinity of your shape.
4. A note on shirt-choosing: some outfits hide your chest better… but that doesn’t mean you have to throw out your favorite clingy-thin light-blue H&M t-shirt! (Guys, I swear, H&M is not paying me, I just like their basics!) I layer up my binders extra when I want to wear my thin stuff. I wear just my tri-top, with leaves me with a pretty noticeable uni-boob, with a small selection of shirts that hang just the right way on my body. You have certain shirts that look better or worse with certain binder arrangements, some shirts that wearing an undershirt helps, some shirts that you don’t have to bind so tight with. Strategize so that you have some days where you give yourself a rest. Strategize so that those days are the days when you have your Approaches to Gender and Sexuality class on the 8th floor of a building where the elevator doesn’t work.
5. I know how much you hate the bras, but it might be worth pulling them out for some experimentation. Especially for the type B guys, sometimes a binder will keep you totally flat, but only if your chest is arranged underneath it in a very specific way. Some people are shaped so that a down-and-out or and up-and-out or a straight-down looks the best. Experiment. Sometimes, an sports bra or even an underwire will hold your chest so that it doesn’t slip out of that perfect arrangement. Meanwhile, for type As, a sports bra can help keep your chest from popping out the bottom of a shorter binder!
6. Speaking of bras! If you find that a sports bra makes a big difference, consider investing in a compression-themed sports bra. There’s the super-famous frog bra, but I’m not sure if they’re making that anymore… still, it has some cousins that are still on the market. Check out what my very favorite masculine-of-center sex blogger has to say about non-binder sports bra binding devices:
Try layering one of those suckers underneath of your binding routine. You’ll go into your compression situation all smoothed out.
7. Layer your shirts. Nuff said.
8. And if you don’t trust me, here’s a few links:
http://pics.livejournal.com/melsmarsh/gallery/0001e7fw (album of somebody’s layering system)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zp21DZhrKU (this one is a cheap DIY method!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBLwnUUwrZA&feature=related (DD reviews tri-top)
9. Finally, some shameless self-linkage: here are some of the other times we’ve answered this problem:
10. That is literally everything I could possibly say about binding for big-chested dudes.
We get this question a lot too. Good to see it answered in a really thought-out way.
Zak: Not necessarily. The majority of my friends are female (the VAST majority) and I’d rather watch Glee than football any day. There are plenty of men who act feminine (or just not masculine), have female friends, and never doubt their maleness. For me, I’m simply more comfortable around women because I find a lot of cisgender men intimidating and a lot of my friends are from my pre-transition days when I hung out with a lot of lesbians. I find women a lot easier to connect with, which is actually something I’ve heard from a lot of guys (cisgender or trans*, queer or heterosexual). In a culture that discourages close male friendships, bro bonding can be awkward and uncomfortable even IF you know all of the rules governing male social behavior (which a lot of trans* guys feel they don’t because they often weren’t taught them growing up). So there are a lot of reasons why a guy, particularly a trans* guy, would have a lot of female friends.
Also we are fed a lot of BS about how men should look and act. Some men love sports, cars, fixing things, girls, etc. but a lot do not. There are all sorts of ways of being male, including liking stereotypically feminine things or behaving in a more feminine way (see femme FTM). There are also men who, while not femme, are more nerdy and so don’t feel very masculine. The thing about this that really has surprised me is that, the more men I meet, the more I realize that feelings of not feeling masculine enough seems to be a huge part of the male experience. A lot of guys (particularly younger guys) are insecure in their masculinity and worried about their interests, behavior, clothing, etc. not fitting in with other guys. So, I wouldn’t worry too much about this.
The only worrying thing here is your self-doubt, NOT your friend group or behavior. If you find yourself doubting your identity or transition a lot, I think you should examine the reasoning behind this and whether it’s because you don’t feel male or because you feel you don’t fit the social expectations of males. In the end, that part is up to you.
- Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696
- Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433
- LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255
- Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
- Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743
- Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438
- Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673
- Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272
- Runaway: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000
- Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-4394253
- Just in case. You never know who might need it.
Zak: I will try to help, but I think that this situation is probably over our heads because it seems quite serious (abusive family, etc.). My advice would be, first and foremost, to ensure your safety. If this means staying in the closet and not being true to yourself until you are 18, and then getting as far away as possible, that’s what I’d recommend. However, I also know that following that advice can be really difficult and emotionally damaging and that you probably want advice on how to get from 16 to 18, not just hear that everything will get better when you’re older.
Is there a counselor or teacher you can share your concerns with? They are mandated reporters of abuse, which could be a positive or a negative thing depending on how you feel about your family and the system. However, they also probably are up on more of the local resources for teens in your situation (youth advocacy groups, for example) and might be able to help you figure out the best thing to do.
My advice for people who come out to unsupportive parents is to give them time, resources, and education. A parent who can’t wrap their mind around transsexuality/gender variance, who refuses to use the correct pronouns, and responds with disappointment and sorrow, however, are a whole different ball game than a parent that responds with violent anger, kicks their child out of the house, or emotionally abuses them (I get the sense that these things are possibilities from the content of your ask, but of course I may be wrong). I’m not entirely sure what to do in those situations, other than to have a very strong plan B (friends/other family members that could take you in, in this case).
I don’t know if this will help, but here are some resources I was able to find for transgender youth, homeless LGBTQ youth/LGBTQ youth in foster care, and LGBTQ youth in crisis. Obviously all of these won’t be helpful or apply to you, but maybe some of them will be. Good luck, and I hope that you can get through this. If you need anyone to talk to, feel free to write us again.
Zak: Perhaps this would be a good time to explain to your mom how you feel about your gender, using what happened as a way to open the conversation. Something like, “I know that I already told you that I’m gender-fluid, but I want you to know part of that means I don’t feel like a ‘girl’ and that I want to transition” (or something like that). Then add, “It was really frustrating when we were out shopping at you corrected a kid for me and called me a ‘girl,’ I’d rather you let me handle these things.” (or however you feel) Obviously it’s up to you to say what you want to say, but I think being open and honest is generally the best way to go. If you’ve explained everything to her and she just doesn’t seem to get it, I suggest writing something down so that you can get everything down on paper and give her a little bit of time to read it over and think about it. Some resources on transition also might help her understand things better. Good luck!
Zak: I’m a year on T and I think my acne has already started to clear up. I’m not positive, but I’m assuming that it should follow a fairly similar pattern to a cis male puberty because the body will eventually get used to the new levels of testosterone that have been introduced to your system. I’m not a doctor, though, so I’m not sure about this.
Henry Rollins (via simply-quotes)
probably going to send this to my Mom for her birthday
Zak: This is tough because it depends on your friend and your friendship. Personally I would rather my friend wait for me to bring things up, but I know that other people definitely would not feel the same way. If your friend has already brought it up to you that they are questioning their gender, than it would probably be okay and respectful to casually bring up pronouns in a way that shows that you are being supportive, not prying or trying to force them into a category. Something like “hey, I just want to be respectful and supportive and let you know I’m here for you. It’s okay if you don’t want to answer or don’t know yet or just plain don’t want to talk about it, but I was wondering if there was anything I should change/do on the pronoun front?” When I first started questioning my gender, I dreaded the pronoun question because I didn’t know how to answer it, but I also really appreciated the thoughtfulness of everyone who asked. Stating that you are supportive, that you respect their boundaries, and that you’re okay with them talking or not talking or whatever is probably a good way to go about this. Particularly if your friend is an open person and you’re pretty close, it should go over fine. : )