I have been trying to get on testosterone for years now.
Dozens of obstacles can get in the way of getting hormone therapy. Usually, you are required some cocktail of doctor’s notes and phone calls to your insurance company before they will even consider sending you any of that good stuff.
I have been in therapy a long time. I have plenty of people who can vouch for my gender dysphoria and that I live as my transmasculine identity. My insurance is surprisingly liberal with their gender-affirmative coverage, and my “transness” was well documented by medical professionals.
The biggest two obstacles for me to getting hormones were my local Rite Aid and getting cancer.
I had scheduled a consultation appointment at Mt. Sinai’s transgender services in Manhattan in early December of 2019. By January of 2020, I was supposed to be rubbing testosterone gel all over my abdomen with rubber gloves and scheduling my top surgery. Once Covid restrictions hit, my appointment was canceled without any timeline to reschedule.
I figured my next best bet would be an endocrinologist. My partner had been begging me to get my hormone levels checked anyway. I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and a slew of other mental illnesses. A full hormone screening couldn’t hurt. Plus, a hormone doctor might be able to prescribe hormones, right?
Near the end of my first appointment, my new endocrinologist pressed her hands against the surface of my neck and said: “What’s that?”
Getting diagnosed with cancer definitely was the more emotionally impactful of what stood in my way, but the whole Rite Aid thing was really annoying.
First, they kept getting my name wrong. I asked one time if I could give them my new name instead of my dead name, and the woman was so confused I figured it would never be brought up again. For months afterward, they still give me trouble about having “two names in the system.”
Next, they called me to let me know that this location of Rite Aid did not carry my testosterone, nor were they able to order it.
“You could theoretically get it at another Rite Aid,” a snarky pharmacist said to me on the phone. “But we can’t transfer if for you, so. You’ll have to call your doctor anyway.”
“Thanks.” I hung up. I’ve hang up on Rite Aid more than I have ever hung up on anyone in my life.
Now, I have a delivery service sending me all of my medications. What with my antidepressants, two different thyroid hormone replacements, birth control pills, and now the testosterone and syringes, it is much easier to get it all from one place. They can communicate with my doctor’s office digitally and there won’t be anything to mix up. Plus, I hate leaving my house.
What am I feeling? I’m anxious. I have a huge fear of needles and I pass out frequently. I’m nervous. I wonder what my voice will sound like. I’m excited. I can’t wait to see my new jawline. Maybe I’ll grow more little beard hairs.
I don’t know whether to dance, scream, or do backflips. I’ll probably take an anxiety nap. I have been waiting years, and in some ways my entire life, for this day. I had no idea what day it would be, but it’s coming today.
Don’t worry. My partner said she has been learning how to do the stabbing.