I Haz a Hormone

Whiskey, tango, foxtrot, my friends.

April 18th, 2008

So a week after moving to Tokyo, I worked up my nerve to call the clinic in Ikebukuro that's willing to prescribe hormones and asked to schedule an appointment. "Oh you don't need an appointment," the lady told me. "It's all walk-in."

Okay, then. I spent a good several hours the night before writing down what I was going to say, since I didn't trust my command of Japanese to explain my situation to a doctor on the fly, and then it turned out to not even be necessary. Instead of "Are you suuuuuure you want hormones?" it was more like, "You realize that hormone therapy can cause high blood pressure and heart disease, yeah? Okay cool, let's get started."

They ran me through a general set of tests and told me they'd call me by Thursday. Two Thursdays later I hadn't heard from them, and when I called they told me to just come in again. I didn't know how hormones were going to affect my employability, but fuck it, I was doing this.

The next day...

"Your test results are great," the doctor told me cheerfully. "You have the baselines of a twenty year old."

"That's nice," I said, being twenty-two.

"So we'll kick it off today."


And so it was done. I signed some paperwork that I (mostly) understood, I waited around in the hospital's little slippers, and then a friendly nurse took me to a private room for the shot. I don't like shots and this was the first time that it occurred to me that I was actually signing myself on for bimonthly injections for the rest of my life.

"Erk," I said. "I'd better get used to that, huh."

"Not necessary," she said sweetly, and proceeded to give me the least painful shot I've ever experienced. Seriously, I don't know how she did it, secret ninja injection technique perhaps.

When I was waiting with nervous, eager anticipation, I'd wondered if I might cry when it actually came down to it -- one of those weird emotional reactions, that three years of wangst and self-doubt could culminate in this. But between sudden shot-phobia and then being surprised at her ninja techniques, I forgot to get all dramatic -- maybe next time. Fifteen minutes later I was back out on the street, trying to absorb the full impact of what I had just done.

I didn't feel any different; I'd known that I wouldn't initially and would probably be hard-pressed to notice mental/emotional changes later. I've fucked around with estrogen before, I know how hormonal changes feel subtle in your brain even when they're screwing around with your behavior like whoa. So I stood there on the sidewalk, watching people go by, trying to appreciate the weight of the moment, to feel the gravity of it. Then I decided I was cold and went into Uniqlo to buy a sweater.

First action as a testosterone-enabled male: went shopping.

I'm having trouble taking this seriously; it's very strange. This is monumental -- this is the beginning of the end of my cripplingly indecisive struggle with transsexuality. I'm finally getting what I [am 97% certain I] want. This is going to change everything. There's really no point in bothering to second-guess myself anymore -- half of me has been second-guessing this for years, while the other half has gotten on with the business of researching transsexuality, buying chest-binders and men's clothes, signing up for vocal training, introducing myself as Gabriel, pouring money into three different therapists, breaking the news to friends and family, using mens restrooms, scheduling appointments with the Ikebukuro clinic, and picking up -- belated and piecemeal -- proper socialization for what it means to be a man.

And yet it hasn't sunk in yet. There have been so many other milestones in this trannie bullshit that I'm not registering this one as being particularly important. I left the clinic, hung out with a friend for a little bit, and then went back to poking around at home as if it were any other day. I need fanfare, I need ceremony! At the very least I need roid rage or something so I know that they didn't accidentally give me the placebo.

So, on April 18, 2008 at 1:25 pm in Tokyo, Gabriel received his first injection of testosterone. Huh.

ETA: MOTHERFUCKING ZITS ON MY MOTHERFUCKING FACE?! Acne and raging horny are the Death & Taxes of testosterone. After managing to slide through puberty the first time with abnormally clear teenage skin, karma is hitting me back hard -- the morning after my shot I woke up with a truly breathtaking breakout. I'M TOO VAIN FOR THIS. MAYDAY AMERICANS, SEND PROACTIV CARE PACKAGES ASAP. Or so I thought, but then I went and bought some Oxy and that took care of it. Crisis averted!

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