Trans Men and Their Hormone Treatment

Most transgender men say they experienced a dramatic change in their lives after hormone treatment. Some even feel more assertive after the treatment.

Transgender people enact two types of behaviors to “do masculinity,” according to Phillips and Rogers (2021). These include manhood acts and compensatory manhood acts. The former involves enforcing the hegemonic version of masculinity. The latter includes embracing benevolent sexist beliefs and actions, such as chivalrous behavior.

Physical Differences

People who are assigned male at birth, but who have a gender identity that is more masculine, are known as trans men. They may also be called transgender men, or MTF. The same is true for people who are assigned female at birth, but have a gender identity that is more feminine. They may be called trans women, or TWF.

Some transgender people make a social transition by dressing and grooming more like their desired sex, changing names, updating sex designation on identity documents, and using hormone therapy treatments to change body characteristics. They may also undergo surgical procedures to modify the genitals.

Some transgender people stop hormone use at a point when they achieve their desired appearance. They may decide to discontinue it because they are uncomfortable with the effects, or they may want to avoid the cost of hormones. Some continue hormone replacement for life, as this is recommended for non-transgender men who go through menopause due to a hysterectomy or orchiectomy (removal of the ovaries and testes). Testosterone replacement in transgender men can result in virilizing changes in body hair, a redistribution of facial and body subcutaneous fat, a decrease in sweating and odor patterns, increased muscle mass, a reduction in ovulation and clitoral growth, and an increase in libido.

Social Differences

As a group, trans men are less likely to endorse norms related to hegemonic masculinity, such as emotional control, self-reliance and heterosexual presentation. Instead, they tend to engage in compensatory manhood acts, which can include sexist beliefs and behavior.

For example, they may endorse benevolent sexism, which involves the subjugation of women to the authority of men. In contrast, cisgender men are more likely to endorse explicitly sexist behaviors and beliefs.

One reason for this may be that a trans man’s adherence to traditional gender norms is necessary to access male privilege. In one study, shorter and more feminine presenting trans men were more frequently harassed as criminals than longer and more masculine presenting cisgender men.

For many people, transitioning to a new gender requires coming out to family and friends; changing one’s name and sex on legal documents; hormone therapy and surgery; and changing a person’s appearance to match their gender identity. This can lead to social stigma, discrimination and even violence (transphobia). This is why it’s so important that clinicians and other health professionals develop TGNC-affirmative practices and environments.

Psychological Differences

The transgender community is a diverse group of people. Some individuals realize they are transgender at a very young age, while others may take more time to figure out that their gender is not in line with the one assigned to them at birth. Many of these individuals choose to undergo hormone therapy or other medical procedures to change their appearance in order to better match their gender identity.

Men undergoing hormone treatment often report changes in their mental state, particularly when taking testosterone. They feel more decisive and aggressive, according to a small study, though the exact reasons for these effects are not fully understood.

In addition, the hegemonic definition of masculinity may be problematic for trans men. While cisgender men tend to endorse traditional norms of masculinity—such as emotional control, self-reliance and heterosexual self-presentation—this is not the case for trans men. These individuals may experience pressure to conform to hegemonic norms in order to protect themselves from the discrimination and threats they anticipate, leading to increased stress and anxiety.

Legal Differences

Many trans people need to update their gender on identity documents, including passports and driving licences. Getting this done can be difficult, especially for trans men. It can also cost money, which some people don’t have.

There’s a lot of misinformation around this. But it’s important to remember that cis and trans people have the same rights. This means that a trans man can use toilets marked ‘men’ just as anyone else can, and that they can have relationships with other men.

For some people, passing as a male is an important part of their transition. They might wear skirts and stereotypically feminine blouses, or dress in pressed oxford shirt and tie with a neatly trimmed beard. This can send very clear, gendered signals to others. It’s important to note that gender identity and sexual orientation are two different things – so a trans man who is primarily attracted to women could still have a heterosexual relationship, for example.