Zak: I don’t know, I’ve only ever been on the gel and Adrian has only ever been on injections. The major difference is that you will be putting hormones into your body every day instead of every week (or every other week), which means that your levels will likely be more stable on the gel. However, you may or may not notice any differences because of this. I’ve heard of several people switching from injections to the gel once they are further along in transition but none have mentioned feeling all that much different. You might want to ask your doctor for more details about this.
A lot of guys write in asking us what kind of workouts they should do in order to make themselves look more masculine, either to help along the effects of HRT or because they are not on testosterone. Becoming more muscular in general will make your body look more like what society expects for a male if that is your goal, but there are also more targeted workouts you can do to improve specific areas that people are more likely to notice. You’ll want to focus on your upper body both to draw attention away from your hips and because broad shoulders and large arms are considered very masculine. This doesn’t mean you should completely ignore your lower body, it’s healthy to be balanced and you need a strong core and strong legs to hold up the rest of you (and cardio is always good!), but those workouts don’t necessarily do as much as upper body workouts to affect the way your gender is read. Here are a few good upper body workouts (click the links for detailed explanations on how to do the different workouts):
1. Shoulder Press/Overhead Press. You can do these with either dumbbells or a barbell. They’re a great workout for building your core as well as your shoulders, chest, and arms.
2. Dumbbell Shrug. This is a very simple workout and only requires dumbbells. Good for building up your shoulders and upper back.
3. Pushups. These are great because they don’t require any equipment and you can do them anywhere. They work the chest, arms, shoulders, and back.
4. Biceps Curls. Can be done with dumbbells or a barbell. Works your biceps and your forearms.
5. Seated, one-arm dumbbell curls. These isolate your forearms and are an excellent workout (though they may be difficult for beginners).
Many of these can easily be done at home with a limited amount of equipment. If you plan on regularly lifting weights you might want to consider investing in a pair of dumbbells. They are sold at Walmart in various sizes for under 20 dollars a pair. You should choose weights that are difficult for you to lift, but not so heavy that you run the risk of injuring yourself doing basic routines (I started with 15 pound dumbbells, just to give an idea). You probably don’t need to buy any equipment if you have access to a gym and feel comfortable going there to work out, although many trans* guys feel more comfortable working out at home.
Make sure to be very careful when starting a lifting routine, practice good form and even try working out with a buddy who can spot you. You’ll also want to vary your workout routine to challenge yourself and ensure that you don’t plateau. For more information on different workout routines and fitness for trans* guys check out the Beefheads Fitness youtube collab channel.
Zak: You’ll want to avoid anything that adds volume to the sides of your face which makes your cheeks look bigger and emphasizes the roundness of your face. This means you’ll want your hair to be longer on top than on the sides. Basically the goal is to get your hair to make your face look longer by adding some height to the top of your head. You might want to consider asking if they can razor your hair, which adds jagged edges that counteracts the roundness of your face. You can also spike/mess the front of your hair up to get it to stand up and add some height. Check out these articles from coolmenshair, about.com, and ehow. Even though various websites recommend it, I would probably avoid a buzz cut if you want to be read as male but often have problems with that and/or aren’t on testosterone. Buzz cuts can be feminizing on some people and can result in being read as a butch lesbian instead of a man. It’s up to you, though. Try different hair cuts and styles until you find something that works for you. Also, your barber/hair stylist can be really helpful in finding a haircut that’s flattering for your face. That’s part of their job so don’t be afraid to enlist their help!
Zak: This situation is definitely ripe for awkwardness. I would think that your stepmom would want to avoid creating any kind of situation like this simply because it will likely take a lot of the attention away from her wedding if people are finding out that you are trans* right then (and likely gossiping about it, trying to figure things out, and potentially even causing a scene). If you’ve already tried to reason with her about this without any luck, the next thing you should do is to go to your dad. Depending on your relationship with your father, he might be a good go-between to help you settle things with your stepmom. He might very well want to stay out of it, but it’s his kid and his wedding too. If neither of them are willing to work with you and you really feel like you can’t deal with her family, you might want to consider telling them that you’ll be unable to attend under these circumstances. That has the potential to cause a huge rift in your family, so be careful if you do decide to go that route. However, what your stepmom is asking you to do is to go into a situation in which you are trapped outing and explaining yourself to completely unprepared and likely unaccepting people (and you’re right, with warning they are more likely to avoid you if they have a problem with it than say anything to your face or cause a scene). This is extremely unfair to you and, as you mention, definitely awkward and also degrading.
Straggly or sleek, full-bodied or selectively styled, there are tons of beard varieties in the world — and you’ll find gorgeous portraits of 86 of them in A Book of Beards ($45). Spawned from idea to photograph local beards in West Chester, PA, this gorgeous coffee table tome also features beards both local and exotic, 18 written contributions, and 125 pages. The proceeds will go to help Mike, the brother of author/photographer Justin Muir, and other cancer patients and survivors, so you’ll have a fine answer should someone ask why you have a book full of bearded men in your living room.
Taken from uncrate.com
Zak: I’m assuming that this message is meant for me, since I had the double incision procedure that produces more prominent scars and Adrian had the peri/keyhole procedure that has significantly less scarring. Anyway, I made a video about my surgery results last month on my personal channel. It’s tough to know what your own scarring would look like compared to other people, though, even if you go to the same surgeon. I know another guy who had surgery with Dr. Garramone the same day as me and his scars are significantly more faded than mine. My body just scars badly, also I did too much too soon after surgery and stretched my scars a little bit. There’s also a lot you can do to care for your scars and minimize their appearance, which can really affect the way your scars look. Regardless of these factors, though, the vast majority of people who get the DI have obvious scarring for at least the first few years post-op. Ryan Sallans is several years post-op and has an excellent photographic timeline of his healing and scars. Even though his scars are barely noticeable now, you can see in his pictures that it took a long time for them to fade. Some people have noticeable scars forever. So, yeah, it’s a bit of a gamble.
Zak: FtM International has resources for a variety of countries, although not necessarily medical related. There are a variety of resources for guys in the UK, one good one being this particularly detailed article on Transitioning on the NHS (UK FtM Information is a great resource for trans* guys in the UK in general). There also appears to be a site of resources for FtMs in Australia. I don’t know of any other resources off the top of my head, unfortunately, but I know there are a lot of vloggers out there from other countries like Malaysia, South Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Italy, Norway, and many more. Finding someone from a specific country and contacting them might be a good way to get in-depth resources for that area. I know there’s a lot of trans* guys from Canada online and resources based out of there, but I’m totally blanking right now for some reason.
If instead you mean resources about going to a different country to get transition-related medical procedures, I also know of a couple resources related to that. A lot of guys get bottom surgery in Serbia and a few have blogged about it in detail (including Ryan Sallans and Ethan). The majority of trans* guys, as far as I’m aware, either get their top surgeries in their home countries or in the United States or Canada.
Hope that answers your question, sorry I don’t have more info!