Reflections on One Year of HRT

A lot can change in a year.

Sometimes things can go so wrong that things don’t really seem like it’s worth sticking it out anymore.

That’s what happened to me last September. I had been approved for my first doses of HRT back in September 2017 – shortly after my birthday, and despite my lack of job prospects and a rather complicated living situation, I was happy.

Then, after a few days, I ended up getting a phone call from my doctor in Minneapolis. He advised me to stop taking my HRT immediately due to a severe concern regarding my liver. Over the next few weeks, I kept going back to do testing before the doctors were able to determine that I had a fatty liver due to a Vitamin E deficiency, and I was put on a vitamin regimen to combat any potential damage.

Those were the longest few weeks of my life, and probably the worst my mental state had been in quite some time. A friend of mine had taken the steps to hide anything that could be harmful to myself, sometimes at my request. I was stuck in a severe depressed state due to the thing I wanted the most and the only hope for my future taken away from me with no guarantee that I would get to go back on HRT. I was, at the time, trapped in a dead end job with every single job prospect turning up nothing. I honestly felt like I didn’t really have much to go on with my life at that time, and I do feel like I was extremely close to deciding I didn’t want to deal with anything anymore.

Things changed, though, starting November 11. That day, my friend rescued a stray cat from outside of our apartment complex, and I ended up adopting her after trying to locate her owner(s). I couldn’t come up with a name, so I named her Pounce, after our college mascot.

46035880_10156759921096322_1411390300017917952_n
The fateful first meeting with Pounce.

A few days after that, a phone call came back to me from my doctor in Minneapolis. My liver function tests had come back and I was given the go ahead to start HRT again! With that bit of news, November 15, 2018 marks my one year anniversary on HRT.

I have successfully made it to a point that I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d have made it to last year. I’m even considering possibly doing some sort of bottom surgery down the line and looking into possibly getting laser hair removal for what exists of my facial hair.

Despite the fact that I’ve still struggled with my depression over the past year, I’d like to think that things are getting better for me. I’ve gotten back on antidepressants lately and they’ve been helping me out immensely when I combine it with my regular visits with my therapist.

The biggest thing that’s coming for me is the impending court date for my legal name change in December. As of writing this, I have a little over a week until that fateful moment when the courts will determine whether or not I will still be known under my deadname.

I didn’t think I’d have made it this far, and I’m honestly still in some form of shock that I’ve successfully reached the one year mark. I thank everyone that helped me along in that time period, and I’m hoping that after my name change, things begin to look up even more. Hopefully by this time next year, I’ll have made even more progress, because as I said in the beginning:

A lot can change in a year.

Kain’s Tips While Hiding the Tiddie

This summer I started binding or, as I like to call it, hiding the tiddie. I’ve learned a lot.  Binding doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or painful as is often painted in the few depictions of binding in media. Binding can, and often is, very important for many trans and gender nonconforming folks, and I’ve listed what I’ve learned while binding below. Happy binding, friends!

 

  1. When folks tell you to drink water, they mean it. Binding is a sweaty, sweaty ordeal during the summer. You get tired. You might feel like a greasy blob. It’s sticky. It’s frankly unpleasant if you’ve been sweating and moving around a lot because it feels like your binder is rubbing your sides raw. There’s a reason that it’s advised to not wear a damp binder for long periods of time. Love yourself and change.
  2. Showers are magic.
  3. Lots of places make binders but binders made by trans and gender nonconforming folks are the binders you want if you’re binding breasts. I use the gc2b half binders and love them. Gc2b binders come in everything from skin tones to bright popping colors and are discreetly packaged. Check out gc2b here: https://www.gc2b.co/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwquTbBRCSARIsADzW88yirhtCpqCEn88XVHkveyhtTYGED-ttqF3kq7FXiIzw3N-wCLGRjtIaAv72EALw_wcB
  4. Buy more than one binder. You will need to change, especially when you are a hot summer mess. Binders need to be washed, and you don’t want to have to plan your life around when you wash your binder if you can help it. 
  5. People who do not bind and have never cared about your breasts before will start to care about your breasts A LOT. Whether they are telling you to drink more water, telling you about the dangerous nature of binding (it’s only dangerous if you do it incorrectly), or asking where your breasts went (They ran away, Carol, obviously), they will have opinions. You will not ask for their opinions, especially since most of these opinions are from people who think about office supplies when they hear, “binder.” Ignore them, drink water, and listen to your body.
  6. Take breaks from binding. It’s helpful to even just take it off for 15 minutes.
  7. Don’t put your binder in the dryer. As someone who frequently forgets I’ve thrown it in the laundry, this has obviously happened. This ruins the elasticity of your binder and can make it unsafe and ineffective to wear.
  8. The first time you put on your binder, you’ll feel like your chest is being restricted. This feeling will go away as you wear your binder and your body gets used to binding.
  9. Measure, measure, measure for a binder that is properly sized. Go a size up if you’re planning on working out, swimming, or doing anything super strenuous in your binder. Again, I recommend gc2b. If your binder gets wet, take it off when you can. If you can, designate a binder to work out in, and one or two others for the day to day. I wear my properly sized binder for day to day things and my one size up binder for working out, hiking, and swimming. You can be active while binding! 
  10. Don’t flatten your breasts out if you can. Your nipples should be pointed out, not down.
  11. If your binder doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. This seems obvious, but it’s something many people make exceptions to.
  12. If you can’t afford a binder, there are some great programs out there! Check out Point of Pride’s binder give away program here: http://point5cc.com/chest-binder-donation/
  13. It’s suggested that binding for years and years can degrade your breast tissue. For some folks, that’s a big deal and some of us don’t care. Make sure to talk with your surgeon about how long you’ve been binding if you’re planning on future top surgery.
  14. If you’re not about your binder showing at all, you’re gonna have to pay attention to the types of necklines you buy. Binders are pretty full coverage, so keep that in mind. I’m busy living that crew neck and flannel life which basically means I dress exactly the same now as I did when I was a grungy 16 year old. I’m embracing it.
  15. Don’t try to put a binder on if your skin is wet. If putting on a sports bra right after a shower is the first ring of Hell, putting a binder on right after a shower is the ninth ring.
  16. Binding doesn’t eliminate your breasts. You’re likely not going to be completely flat, and that’s okay! Button downs, zip hoodies, cardigans, and patterns are going to be your best friend if you’re binding to look flat. Binders work with those things to create a pretty snazzy illusion of flatness that nothing else will besides top surgery. Obviously, breast size plays into how flat or not flat you are. I have C cups and overall am pretty confident in how my chest looks when I bind. 
  17. You don’t have to be trans or gender nonconforming to bind! Many of us are, but not all of us, and we have lots of different reasons to bind.

 

I hope these tips help. I did a lot of research before I started binding, and I’m glad I did, but there was still a lot that I learned after I started binding that I didn’t read elsewhere. Binding has given me a lot of confidence in how I exist in spaces, and has been incredibly freeing. 

 

–Kain