TRIGGERWARNING: scars and queer hostility
“I didn’t want to have my body and I wanted to forget my old identity.“
This interview is about Jaden, who has been on testosterone for 5 years.
This interview is about Jaden, who has been on testosterone for 5 years. Trans* people are those who do not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Trans people include, for example, trans*women (women whose sex entry at birth was male), trans*men (men whose sex entry at birth was female) but also non-binary people can identify as trans*. The asterisk in the name leaves room for different identities. Trans* men take the male sex hormone testosterone for life. The aim is to suppress the hormone oestrogen. This suppresses menstruation and starts the development of male-read body characteristics. Over time, the voice becomes deeper, the body more athletic and the muscles stronger. The clitoris also becomes larger due to testosterone. In addition to hormone therapy, many trans people also opt for gender reassignment surgeries.
You can read about Jaden’s gender transition here:
Tell us something about yourself.
I am Jaden, 22 years old, live in Halle and have been taking testosterone for over 5 years.
How old were you when you realised you were born in the wrong body and what did this self-discovery process feel like?
I already had the first signs of this when I was at primary school and thought I would rather be a boy. At that time, I didn’t know that such a thing was even possible and quickly suppressed the desire. I then realised that I was transsexual when I was about 16, when I was increasingly confronted with the topic via social media. I didn’t have a self-discovery process directly. It hit me more like a lightning bolt that made me understand „this is me“. For the first time, I felt as if everything in me finally made sense, but at the same time I was afraid and overwhelmed by everything that was going to come my way and how to proceed now.
How did you come out?
I first confided in my ex-girlfriend because I had told her before about this desire to be a man, so I wasn’t afraid of her reaction. In her presence, I sent my mother a WhatsApp message because I didn’t dare tell her in person. I quickly told other close friends and after a few months I came out publicly on social media.
How have your friends and family reacted to you wanting to transition?
My friends all reacted very positively. Many were very interested and curious. They supported me and cheered me on when progress was made.
It was much harder with my family, there were often arguments because they couldn’t understand and it was hard for them that „their girl“ was suddenly a boy.
How did you come up with your name? Was it difficult for you and your environment to get used to a new name?
I didn’t spend a lot of time looking for a name. I made a little list of names I liked and also asked friends and decided on the name I felt most comfortable with at the time. Getting used to the new name and pronouns was super easy for some, harder for others.
The Transsexuellengesetz makes the change of name and civil status very difficult for many trans* people. What was this process like for you? Did you feel discriminated against by your assessors?
This process was incredibly stressful for me, as it unfortunately took 1 ½ years until I held my new ID card in my hands and the time until then was often also associated with forced outing. I did not feel discriminated against, but I found it partly shameful what I had to reveal about myself. For example, I was asked about my relationships and sexual interests. Things that have nothing to do with my gender.
What operations did you have? Tell us about the preparation for the operations, the time in hospital and the healing process.
I have had the mastectomy, hysterectomy and adnectomy, clit and colpectomy as well as phalloplasty, glansplasty and scrotum reconstruction gone through. (All surgeries are explained below)
Applying for coverage of the costs for the respective surgeries involved a lot of stress and patience, as you also need a lot of documentation for this, including a certain length of therapy time. But once I had the cost coverage, everything went relatively quickly and relatively easily. I had already had preliminary discussions in various hospitals and was then able to quickly make an appointment for the operation.
The hospital stays were stressful for me each time, especially with the phalloplasty, because I was in hospital for a total of 4 weeks due to wound healing problems. The healing process took longer with all the operations, but you just have to give your body the time it needs.
Have you experienced transphobic situations? If so, please describe them and your feelings about them.
I was often deliberately called by my old name, called a girl and teased about not having a penis. This caused me a lot of self-loathing and despair, because I could not and did not want to accept myself in the biologically female body, but at the time I could not do anything about it. I didn’t want to have my body and I wanted to forget my old identity.