Feminizing Hormones: What Happens When You Take Them?

lgbtq+ peopleDeja Nicole Greenlaw at a former Pride celebration circa 2012.
Photo: TRT Archives

When taking feminizing hormones, the effects vary per individual 

By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/TRT Columnist—
If you are a trans person, you might opt to take hormones to get yourself to a place where you might feel more comfortable with your gender identity. I have been taking hormones to feminize myself for more than 11 years, and I have noticed some differences since I started taking hormones. I must tell you that these differences may or may be noticed by other people who have also taken feminizing hormones. Nobody is the same. Results can and do vary.

I’ve noticed that my skin is softer and my face has been feminized to a certain degree. My fingernails, which were once strong, are now soft and break easily. I’ve also noticed that my body hair has changed drastically. Before I began taking hormones, I had armpit hair, chest hair and I was beginning to get stray hairs popping up in places like my upper arms and my back. Since taking hormones, my body hair has just about vanished. I only shaved my armpits, my chest, and the stray pop up hairs a few times before those hairs stopped growing. I no longer shave these areas. I still have leg hair, but I only shave a couple of times a year because the hair that I do have is very soft, fine, and can’t be seen unless you inspect closely. My facial hair is no longer coarse, but it still grows like my leg hair in the respect that it is now soft and fine. You can see some hair in a certain light.

My appetite for food has certainly increased. Since I started hormones food tastes even better to me now and I have gained weight since my hormone regimen inception.

My breast tissue has seen a lot of growth.

My sex drive has decreased with hormones. The de-masculinizing hormones, the anti-androgens, attack testosterone, which fuels the sex drive. Some anti-androgens attack testosterone genitally, while others attack the “free testosterone,” which is testosterone that has been released by different organs and now roams free in the body. Since testosterone is the main component of sex drive, and anti-androgens attack and suppress it, the sex drive decimates. My orgasm intensities now are only a fraction of what they were before I began taking hormones.

While my sex drive has been decimated, I find that touch during intimacy now gives me intense tingling sensations of pleasure throughout my body, which I hadn’t had before taking hormones. The intense sensations, at times, make me feel like my body is floating. I can’t reach climax from the sensations, but it feels wonderful.

I’ve also noticed that I may cry much more easily with hormones. Sometimes, I cry even though there is nothing sad or anything wrong. Sometimes I cry because I am happy, or I see a cute picture of a kitten or a human baby.

When I am out in public, I find myself always looking around and checking out people, animals, and things for possible threats. I never did this before I took hormones, but now I am constantly on guard. Sudden noises or movements now scare me. I remember when I was at work and my co-worker would come into my cube to talk to me and I would be so involved in my work that I didn’t notice her. When she called my name I would suddenly jump and sometimes make a little exclamation of surprise. When I’m driving, sudden noises and movements also scare me. I figure that may be the hormones working to protect me, warning me of possible danger.

The last thing I’ve noticed with taking hormones is that I now have a wonderful feeling of peace.

As I stated earlier, not all people who take feminizing hormones may notice these changes and effects, but I personally have noticed them.

*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has 3 children and two grandchildren. She can be contacted at dejavudeja@sbcglobal.net.

[This story first ran on the August 2, 2018, issue of The Rainbow Times.]

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