Zak: I actually made a video about this, as I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder before starting testosterone and actually found it improved somewhat after being on T for a little while. Since testosterone gives you quite a bit of energy and because it takes your body a little while to get used to the change I can understand why your anxiety problems might be a bit worse right now, but there’s a possibility that it could level out with a little bit of time as your body adjusts.
The chemical aspect, however, is probably not as significant as the change in your situation. Starting testosterone is a huge decision and a huge change, and change (positive or negative) can worsen depression and anxiety. You may also be experiencing a bit of a let down, particularly if you’ve been waiting to start T for a long time and idealized the changes, way it would make you feel, etc. This is sort of like how some people get a bit depressed after their honeymoon or after reaching a weight loss goal because things didn’t live up to their expectations.
Most of the guys I’ve talked to, though, have felt better on T, not worse. If I were you, I’d try to get to the bottom of things with your therapist (particularly if you don’t feel better in the next couple of weeks). It could be that deep down you don’t feel okay with starting T, or it could be a chemical imbalance or deeper mental health issue. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, so I can’t really give you much more advice than that.
Just a lazy day last December with me (Carter) and my cat, Snuggles. She was abandoned by her mom when she was a kitten, as the runt of the litter. She’s really protective of me and has always been there through all of my struggles. I love her to bits.
Zak: There’s no way to really target weight loss in a certain area, but overall cardio should help. Try jogging or biking to lose the body fat in that area. It can also help to strengthen your core and tone your abs. To accomplish this, try pilates, crunches, or pull-ups.
Perhaps what the previous poster is getting at is that when one can regard transsexual as a medical term explicitly applying to sex (NOT gender) meaning that one’s assigned sex does not match their mental map of their sex characteristics. In this way, transgender does not imply transsexual and transsexual does not imply transgender. This allows for cissexual transgender people, transsexual transgender people, cissexual cisgender people, and transsexual cisgender people.
Thus asking someone you suspect is trans* (transgender or transsexual), a question on the basis that they appear trans* is equivalent to asking someone a question on the basis that they look like they have a medical condition or look like they ascribe to a certain belief system (or world view). Doing the former is quite rude and presumptuous.
There are situations in which publicly doing the latter is not rude or presumptuous if the person is advertising that they have some association with a given belief system (T-shirt, badge, etc.). However, unless someone has volunteered information about their medical condition or you are in a support group for a given medical condition asking about that medical condition is very rude, unless you are in a situation when that medical condition will be an eminent source of danger (i.e. catheterization) (In this case it becomes a case of asking “X is going to happen/ed is there anything pertinent I should know?”).
Think about the difference between asking someone with “support MS (Multiple sclerosis) research” shirt “Do you have MS?” and “Why do you support MS research?” Think about the difference between asking someone who doesn’t that shirt “Do you have MS?” and someone wearing that shirt.
If someone volunteers pertinent information about themselves by being “out” about being trans* the other person has the opportunity to respond in kind if they want to rather than having their privacy invaded. Context, different levels of intimacy, and entitlement are just a few of the issues at play here.
I would say the best policy is to treat everyone as if they were not trans* until they volunteer otherwise. Sure you may really want to know, you may be out, you may out yourself to them to try to find out if they’re trans, but they don’t have to tell you. There is much more the say on this topic, but I lack the time.
OUR RESPONSE: These are great points. Hopefully this can be the last word on the topic for awhile.
Zak: Listen, we absolutely understand your point. I don’t think either of us would encourage poking into other guys’ business and asking them about their trans* status. Being trans* is often a lonely and isolating experience, particularly when one is having difficulty passing, is first coming out, or first figuring things out. So I also see times when someone would want to reach out for another trans* person. Would I recommend going up to someone who “looks trans*” and quizzing them to see if they are or aren’t? Absolutely not. Do I think having a “password” (as it were) to subtly ask a guy you meet at a LBTQ event if he’s trans* is okay? In a lot of situations, yes.
Sure the question could’ve been addressed better (we both admit that), what with the “looking trans*” comment, the idea of poking around into someone’s business, etc. But clearly for the person who submitted the ask the situation worked out okay, and for many individuals in the community it would have. Yes, for some people it would’ve been awkward, uncomfortable, or hurtful. That is a major risk, and why neither of us recommend doing something like that…unless you are in a situation in which it feels right. For instance, I HAVE inquired to someone about their trans* status (subtly, by hinting at my own trans* status) but this was at a gender studies event and he and I were discussing research on trans* issues. 99.9% of the time you shouldn’t ask someone something so personal, especially considering they may be stealth, but yeah, sometimes there’s that one situation in which it would be okay.
The point is that trans* people are not a cohesive group, and there are many different ways of being trans* and we recognize that. Some trans* people would appreciate having another trans* person come up to them (yes, there are people out there like this), while others would really, really not. It’s very difficult to cover everyone’s experiences, though we make an effort to try to make sure we are relevant to as many individuals as possible. We recognize that some guy’s see their trans* status as more of a medical condition and do not consider themselves part of the community, and that’s perfectly fine. Both of us have tried to be inclusive toward this part of the trans* experience, and clearly we need to try harder.
As a side note, I would encourage anyone out there who sees someone who “looks trans*” to keep it to themselves and treat them just like anyone else because most people, trans* or not, stealth or out, part of the community or not, want to go about their lives and be treated like normal human beings. You never know what someone’s situation is, how they feel about their trans* status, and whether or not they are stealth. Just because you are trans* yourself doesn’t mean you have the right to ask questions or say things that wouldn’t be okay coming from a cisgender person.
However, I also want to make the point that asking a cisgender man about the size of his genitals should not be equated to inquiring about someone’s trans* status. For many trans* people, though (as you may point out) not all, being trans* is about shared experience, not genitals. Yes, every trans* person is different and yes, one might argue that this shared experience (medical or otherwise, you know there are people out there forming communities based off of having the same disease, after all) is nothing to base a community on; but that is what the inquiry is about more than anything else. Does that make it right? No. Nor is it the same as inquiring about someone’s genitals (though I do understand your point).
It’s good that you argued with us because we can’t speak for all trans* people and it’s good to hear different opinions. It’s also good for all of you out there to realize that we are not, nor do we consider ourselves to be, infallible. This is an advice site, even more of a personal blog, run by two over-stressed, under-experienced trans* guys in their early twenties. Sometimes we are going to say the wrong thing, and sometimes we are going to disagree even with each other. That’s just life when you’re running a blog that deals with such a diverse group of people and such sensitive issues. I invite any of you to comment and correct us. However, I don’t encourage you to lash out or attack us (not saying you were, just making a point) for our mistakes because mistakes are inevitable. This blog is a full-time job, but of course neither of us can make it that. We aren’t all-knowing, and we can’t speak for all trans* people. All we can do is try. Again, we’re sorry. I hope that your response will give our reader’s the perspective to understand all sides of things when considering approaching someone who they think is also transgender.
Adrain here: We’ve actually posted about this sentiment before, but you’re right - we can’t speak much about it. We are not encouraging nosing, poking, or prodding, but we ARE saying to have some tact if you do chose to inquire about some one’s status. We are not saying that you should approach and assume a commonality with anyone that you think may be trans*, but if you DO decide that it’s something you want to do, be respectful about it. Let’s say, for example, with a previous ask - the person who thought they recognized the MTF from across the way and approached them with the question of do they know x,y,z transperson - all that other person had to do was say “no” and the conversation and thus the problem of disclosure would be over.
All we are saying is be discreet, be kind, and be respectful. Don’t assume that just because you and some one else may both be trans that you’ll automatically get along, or that the other individual will want to disclose that to you, or that the other person even views themselves as trans, much like this anon.
I understand the urge to discover if some one is trans, I’ve sent many texts to Zak about me thinking I’ve spotted another transguy. Did I ever approach him? No, but was I curious? Yes. At the end of the day I realized it really was none of my business and I had no other context in which to even speak with that other individual. But I been asked this question, by over 3 different guys who thought I was trans but I did not recognize as trans. I ended up meeting 3 very awesome dudes who I still speak with today, all because they asked me if I knew Ryan Sallans.
So I think, in summary, this could be a helpful tool - to ask if so and so knows such and such famous trans*person. But we all should remember our right to privacy and disclosure and to extend that same curtesy to our brothers and sisters.
The summary from the article:
Every scarf fills a different role and need:
- Wool Scarf: A great workhorse scarf for the cold weather, there’s no situation where this scarf doesn’t fit in.
- Cotton Scarf: The perfect autumn scarf, the cotton scarf can really liven up an outfit.
- Knit Scarf: A clunky offering that’s best for lazy Sunday walks or as an accessory for a Boho chic outfit.
- Silk Scarf: Great for nights out, for watching regattas, or other situations where being warm isn’t as important as looking good.
- Keffiyeh: A difficult choice that’s best left to the hipsters.
Adrian here: this is a good idea, however I am not sure if using Chaz Bono would have the same effect now that he’s becoming more famous. I’ve actually had several encounters using the same general idea except substituting Chaz Bono for Ryan Sallans. I feel that Ryan is well known enough within our community, but fairly unknown to those outside of it - giving less chance for a mix up.
Anyway, the idea is a good one!
This little dog is Kessi. Cassandra is the real name, but she has never learned. I love her.
Zak: Sorry it took so long for me to answer this. I think the best thing to do when you encounter a stranger who’s gender is difficult to determine is to treat them the way you would treat anyone else (no staring, no going up to them and telling them about your gender journey or all the trans* people you know, no winking or giving them awkward secret smiles of approval, etc), except be sure to use gender ambiguous or gender-neutral language. Butch women have feelings too and they sometimes are bothered being called “he” just as much as trans* men are bothered by being called “she”. Misgendering hurts, and at least I know I would prefer someone just not say “ma’am” or “sir” rather than be called the wrong one (I can’t speak for all trans* or gender variant people, though).
It’s good that you’re concerned about how to properly handle this situation. I’ve seen it handled completely the wrong way, when people stare, try to guess someone’s gender (sometimes even aloud), or insist on using gendered language like “ladies” or “sir”. Most people don’t want to draw attention to themselves and just want to be treated like everyone else. So, I guess my best suggestion in this particular situation would’ve been to say “Excuse me, sorry, my drink is right next to you” or something generic and un-gendered like that.