Should You Start HRT?

HRT Hormone replacement therapy for trans folks - pills and syringe

HRT stands for Hormone Replacement Therapy. For masculine identified people, this means injections of Testosterone. For feminine identified people, it means taking estrogen. There are a lot of complexities to this, and this blog post isn’t about the endocrinology or medicine – it’s about what goes into your decision to start HRT.

Hormones are super powerful chemicals, and testosterone and estrogen, also called “sex hormones” can have dramatic effects on our bodies. If you went through puberty as a teenager, perhaps you remember some of the kinds of things that happened. And some of these changes are irreversible (which is, for many, part of the point, of course.)

It’s important to know a couple of things: first, your choice to take or not to take hormones doesn’t make you any more or less trans. There are all sorts of reasons people can choose not to do HRT. Some can’t because of medical complications. Others don’t want specific changes that are likely to come with HRT.

It’s worth spending some time exploring this issue for yourself. If you’re really clear about wanting to start HRT, that’s great! Notice the feelings that are arising in yourself. Perhaps anticipation. Maybe frustration because there are hoops you have to jump through. Perhaps even sadness that you hadn’t started sooner. Perhaps fear of what other’s might think, or of the effects. All of those feelings are valid, and all feelings are OK. There is nothing you have to do about those feelings. Allow them to be – be willing to feel them in your body.

If you are unsure, that’s fine too! Again, allow yourself to notice all of the feelings that arise. They can be quite informative – they can help you make sense of what’s going on for you, and help you toward making a decision. Taking HRT can be a very straightforward decision for many people, but especially for non-binary or gender-expansive folks, it’s a more complicated process.

What’s most important is holding this process with compassion for yourself, your feelings, and the complexity of your own experience.

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