It’s become undeniable that I need to take some significant steps toward breaking down the psychological fortress I’ve established around my cross-gender identification somehow. I’m starting to cross-dress with a queer look most of the time now. And I’m working with an Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist to unburden my exiled gender-variant inner child. These steps are helping, but as Rimonim insightfully commented on a previous post about role models, I need to give myself permission to transition medically in addition to socially before I can actually answer the question of whether or not that’s what I want to do.
Writing my last post about whether the hair loss drug Propecia is a transsexual phenomenon has helped me begin to deconstruct the monolithic question “do I want to undertake the medical treatment for transsexualism?” into smaller questions like “do the benefits of taking a systemic medication to prevent hair loss outweigh the risks?” Propecia (finasteride), one of the common drugs taken by MTF transsexuals, is essentially an anti-androgen, despite being taken by many “men” to prevent and reverse hair loss. Thinking that way has a paradoxical effect. While it makes transsexuality seem less extreme, and less frightening to contemplate, it also makes the usual treatment of it seem sort of silly and the need to make a decision about it less dire.
Using a regret minimization framework, I’ve been thinking it might make sense to take finasteride while I figure this trans shit out. If I end up transitioning, but not for a while because of fear and indecision, I’ll certainly be glad I had taken the finasteride and preserved my hair. If I don’t end up transitioning and I’d taken finasteride for a while, there’s only a small risk of permanent side effects. So there’s not a lot of chance for regret there. Likewise, if I don’t take the finasteride and don’t end up transitioning, there’s not much of a chance for regret. However, if I don’t take the finasteride and do end up transitioning after a long period of reconciliation, I sure might regret being bald.
Furthermore, taking finasteride would allow me to test the waters about how I feel about hormonal adjustment therapy. If I take finasteride and have a sense of confirmation that I am on the right track, then that might indicate that doing more would be good. If I take finasteride and have a sense that I don’t like the path I’m on, that might indicate that I should turn back.
Different aspects of transition fare differently when considered using a regret minimization framework. Am I likely to regret showing up at my child’s school wearing tasteful, appropriate “women’s” clothes? Slightly, but I’m more likely to regret not penetrating the veil of secrecy and shame I will live under if I don’t. (I’ve already done this, actually.)
Am I likely to regret taking spiro and estrogen? I am scared of losing sexual function, but I’m not super functional already anyway. I’m a bit afraid of sex, and often have erectile dysfunction or anorgasmia with basically everyone except fat girls anyway. Go figure. And now that I’ve quit porn I usually need anal penetration to cum when I’m masturbating. Maybe estrogen is exactly what I need for good sex after all.
Am I likely to regret telling everyone “I’m a woman” and dealing with the effects this will have on my child’s development? Certainly. But I’m also very likely to regret not doing it, so I don’t have a decision there yet.
In the meantime, my hair loss is accelerating and the finasteride is looking pretty attractive…