Book of accounts of HRT?
November 13, 2019 8:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to read a book (if it exists!) that would be/contain accounts of how it felt to 'be on' Testosterone or Estrogen. Ideally there would be multiple such accounts, rather than just one perspective! I've read the odd article that interviews people mid-transition, and I find it so fascinating - is there anything like this at full book length?
posted by wattle to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know about a book. But I lurk a few trans subreddits and see posts like you're asking for quite often. You could check out:

and see what you think.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:03 AM on November 13, 2019

I'm happy to chat about this via me-mail if you feel so inclined, as I don't know that I've ever read a book that really reflects my experience. I am transmasculine and I'll stay in that lane for recs, as I'm not really otherwise qualified to judge.

The transmasculine classic is Becoming A Visible Man. It does show its age somewhat. I know a lot of people who like Thomas Page McBee's writing. His experience doesn't speak to me for whatever reason, but I don't find him objectionable. (There are serious content warnings around child abuse attached to at least some of his work.) The Testosterone Files way overstates the role of testosterone in my opinion. Chaz Bono's book is terrible.

If you are not yourself trans, I want to caution you about putting too much weight on hormones. Testosterone was simultaneously the right choice for me and... just not that big a deal in the scheme of my transition. Being on testosterone doesn't feel different than not in a way I can point to. It was more that after six months or whatever, I went "huh, this experiment is working out". And despite what people on Reddit will tell you, it's not a magic test for knowing that you're trans. Some people try it and decide it's not for them, or are on hormones for years and then decide they can't be bothered or whatever. Some don't even need the experiment to know it's not for them.

I do have an (old) book I'm forever recommending about people's experiences with their gender, across an array of genders. I'm on my phone at the moment, but such things are out there if you realise your question is not actually about hormone memoirs.
posted by hoyland at 9:18 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's difficult to separate the physical experience of being on HRT from the mental and social experience of transitioning. Even very basic, very simple physical changes like "my voice is lower" are connected to a lot of complicated social expectations about what a low voice means. And those social expectations feel different to different people depending on their hopes and fears and their life story.

There are definitely a lot of book-length transition narratives, by men, women, and nonbinary people. I think you'll be more likely to get what you want from reading some of those. That way, you'll get the physical effects and the emotional meaning, with enough context to make sense of both.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

You may be interested in This American Life’s “Testosterone” episode, which includes accounts from a transgender man starting testosterone and a man who developed abnormally low testosterone and other reflections on the role of testosterone in men and women’s lives.
posted by reren at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Testo Junkie by Paul Preciado.
posted by Morpeth at 1:04 PM on November 13, 2019

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