Pastiche Foundation

Gender Variance made Simple

A Transman’s Answer to Transman Invisibility

Is this what the transsexual community looks like to the media?

Is this what the transsexual community looks like to the media?

Science News’ recent article “Sex Change Operations: The Science, Sociology and Psychology” is at best, laughable, and at worst, misdirection that keeps transmen invisible and underserved.

I can’t tell you how many articles briefly mention us, claim our numbers are lower (figures I’ve heard lately peg guys like me at about 50% of transsexuals, just less likely to participate in the community), then go on to discuss only the treatments pertinent to the ladies (who are awesome! But us guys deserve recognition and awareness too.).

Needless to say, when they lead off with Chaz Bono, Transman Nouveau, I thought ‘finally, they’ll talk about us guys in a trans article!’. I hoped too soon–Not only did they not discuss our medical treatments and needs, they rehashed the same slanted information all directed at women.

Some of you are probably wondering why it matters. It matters because guys like me need insurance plans, doctors, therapists, teachers, employers, family, friends, and lovers with an accurate idea of what we’re going to go through, what our medical and social needs will be, so that they get where we come from. It matters because these same treatments are paid for by insurance to ‘cisgendered’ men and women (people who are not transsexual) for other conditions, while ours are considered ‘cosmetic’ (Despite what the AMA says) and must be paid out of pocket. It matters because society’s reactions to gender variance can be just as life-threatening as cancer. It matters because we pay taxes and buy papers like anyone else. It matters because we’re just as much citizens, so we deserve the same rights as our feminine counterparts. “All… are created equal”, right?

I call on Science News to read this article on non-trans writing about transfolk and redact their article, using the proper pronouns and either dropping the reference to Chaz Bono or be inclusive of transmen’s needs, indicating comprehension of the issue. I also offer the following information, pieces of presentations I’ve given  at colleges as well as public conversation:

Transmen: A 101 on Medical Needs for Laymen and Reporters, too

Does he look like a girl to you?

Does he look like a girl to you?

  • This is not a ‘choice’. Gender lives between the ears, not the legs, and ‘reparative therapies’ are harmful.
  • No-Ho Transmen: Not all transmen take Testosterone–and some of them still look like the men they are! A celebrity example: Lucas Silveira* of the Cliks. In fact, I know two local guys that have better beards than I do.
  • Hormone therapy: Testosterone is given in several ways. It provides facial, fat distribution, muscular, and vocal masculinization. It’s safe and healthy. It’s administered as follows:
    • Testosterone Cypionate/Enanthate : Injected every 1-2 weeks, depending on dose
    • Sustanon/Reandron: Injected every Twelve weeks
    • Gel/Patches: Daily
  • The surgeries we need may include:
    • ‘Top Surgery’, or bilateral mastectomy.
    • Hysterectomy and/or oopherectomy (removal of the ovaries)
    • Metoidoplasty or ‘meta’, which releases the tendons holding in the clitoris to form a small neo-phallus that functions independently
      • This may include urethral extension, see below
    • Phalloplasty, which takes skin from the arm or side to create a longer, thicker phallus which depends on a silicone pump for erection
      • This includes vaginectomy, which is exactly what it sounds like
      • This includes urethral extension, see below
    • Urethral Extension, which may happen as part of either of the above, reroutes the urethra through the neo-phallus. The surgeon often uses lining from the inside of the cheek.
  • Not all transmen have surgery. I know a guy whose breasts are so small that he doesn’t even bind in an athletic top.

For some guys, their bodies and social misunderstanding are only mildly distressing, others can be driven to addiction, high-risk sexual behavior, and even suicide. We need federal provisions in place for these gentlemen’s needs so even the severely afflicted can move on to be healthy, productive members of society! This is why Transmasculine accuracy is needed in the media. Ignoring the issue or spreading misinformation will only hinder society as a whole socially, economically and, dare I say it, spiritually. Choose wisely, folks.

*It disturbs me a bit that a man is listed as a ‘lesbian musician’… for my own peace of mind I’m going to assume this is because they were on the L Word or because some of the ladies in the band are lesbians.

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June 22, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

10 Comments »

  1. Thanks for this post. It’s only in North America where weekly injections are commonplace. Some forms of testosterone are administered every 3 months. The US FDA is soon to approve a form of T that is injected at this interval. I can’t remember the name now… starts with “N”. Here’s a journal article about this very topic. In Australia and Europe, guys are sometimes prescribed Sustanon and/or Reandron. These also have a longer life than Cypionate/Enanthate.

    Comment by Joshua | June 22, 2009 | Reply

    • Hey thank you for the clarification! In turn I, too, will clarify that I was only referring to what happens on US soil.

      Incidentally, any knowledge of mood spikes etc on the 3 month cycles you mention?

      Comment by projectpastiche | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  2. my heart goes out to you
    do not remain invisible
    let yr voices be heard GOD SPEED!
    We will pray for yr transformation & transfigurations!

    Comment by claris tyler | June 22, 2009 | Reply

    • Hello Claris, good to meet you and thanks for the well wishes. Would you send this article to 5 people and ask them to send it to 5 more?

      Comment by projectpastiche | June 22, 2009 | Reply

  3. Nicely written, I like the reformatting done on the webpage too. [Although the about lance/sidebar thing is a bit repetitive.] (: I also noticed Lucas being categorized under lesbian. This was not to my liking.

    Comment by Asher | June 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks Asher,

      I agree with everything you’ve said. The formatting is something I’m still working on. Hopefully find a better way soon.

      Comment by projectpastiche | June 24, 2009 | Reply

  4. I remember taking my timid first steps into cyberspace to try self-diagnosing my gender variance 8 years ago. The one site I found that had more than a cursory mention of TS issues went on at length about MtF transitioning and all the social & psychological struggles therein. At the very end of the article was a one-liner paragraph that more or less said that FtM is pretty much the same thing as MtF, but with far less difficulty or psychological distress. (I believe the word “easy” as in “easy transition” was used) I remember thinking, “That must not be me, then,” because I didn’t see anything remotely ‘easy’ about it.

    Whether trans or cisgendered, if you were born with a full set of matching chromasomes, you’re not worth a damn in this country. Not worthy of respect or even proper study.

    Comment by Nolan Ash | June 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Wow, Nolan, I definitely agree with the first bit… I had no idea you felt the way you speak in the second.

      Comment by Pastiche Foundation | June 24, 2009 | Reply

  5. I think it’s pretty similar for the men here in Canada s far as it goes for T treatment.

    I’m glad you speak about that article on Chaz. We were discussing the lack of any information in that article as well. It was a fluff piece with no real information. I’m still hoping she wasn’t paid for “writing” it.
    You’re also right about the constant low number people continue to use on the existence of men who are transexual.
    Seems to me once upon a time it was the same when speaking about the women, though to hear them at that time, I don’t think they even considered there could be men too.

    Heard Lucas interviewed a year or so ago. He said he won’t do T because he is concerned it will affect his voice. But never ruled out using it later in life.

    Also, glad you mentioned that these costs are covered for those that are not transexual.

    Comment by Femme | June 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks Femme, and hello!

      Thanks for your great response–I know that there at least were a limited number of covered-treatment slots yearly in Canada, is that no longer the case?

      Yeah, I saw that interview with Mr. Silveira too. He seems pretty neat. I kinda wonder about his feelings on Margaret Cho’s statements re: Transmen though.

      Comment by Pastiche Foundation | June 25, 2009 | Reply


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