Beneath Contempt

I am now about two months into my “herbal hormone” / phytoestrogen regime, which I began as prescription grade hormones are unavailable on the NHS until I have been referred to the Gender Identity Clinic, and are also very dangerous to self-medicate with. Not that the herbals are wildly safe, though they are much milder on the old metabolism. To recap, what I have been taking (in measured doses) are…

Pueraria mirifica (herbal estrogen substitute)

Saw palmetto (inhibits the enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT – a much more potent, “masculinizing” form)

I have also bought the pueraria mirifica in topical cream form, after repeatedly reading that breast massage with such a cream would help accelerate my progress. I was sceptical, but since I had heard that even prescription-grade estrogen was available in topical forms, it seemed worth a try. I had been sceptical about the herbs themselves at the start, but they have undeniably had an effect.

What effects, you may ask? Sadly nothing as dramatic as I would like, but more than I can comfortably assign to a mere placebo effect. There are hard, painful buds under both of my nipples, consistent with Tanner Stage 2 of breast development. They don’t show much, but they do hurt most keenly if I take the stairs at too quick a pace… what fun. There is, alas, no noticeable increase in actual breast mass, but this is nothing surprising. The usual form with herbal regimens is to notice overall enlargement around the 3-5 month mark. Of course, the sooner the better…

Consensus in the online discussion groups, however, is that I would be better off obtaining actual hormones, both in terms of the results I would achieve and in demonstrating my commitment to transitioning as early as possible. As far as that is concerned, however, I feel I would do better to raise the issue with the psychiatrist, assuming all goes well at my assessment. I have been told I should be able to request some monitored HRT as long as the referral to the GIC is made.

And if it isn’t? I know I will have to face this sooner or later, and if the NHS completely turns me down for both HRT and reassignment surgery, then my course is clear if unappealing: make sure that I have the income and information to self-medicate with actual hormones, with or without the help of my GP, and plan in the long-term to undergo reassignment surgery with private healthcare. Which will set me back a small fortune, of course, but the alternative may cost me my soul… pardon the melodrama.

Or should I go back to where I was before? Pretend the last two months never happened? “Be” Anthony again and live happily ever after, or as happily as an outed transwoman pretending to be a cis male ever can, bearing in mind my family and friends all know, my employer knows, my ex knows, Facebook knows (though what doesn’t it know)?

Please refer to the post title for what I feel about that as an option…


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