The DIY Taboo


If there´s anything that sparks controversy in the trans man community here, it´s going on hormones by yourself. In many aspects, I feel like it´s the elephant in the room. Don´t talk about it and everything will be fine. Talk about it, and risk a heated debate about fairness and the question whether or not it is moral to transition by yourself when so many people are dealing with the regular system.

Emotions run high when talking about this and I´m no exception. I´ll come right out and say that in my opinion, desperate times call for desperate measures. If an individual is on the verge mentally, and has tried everything else (including the regular process) to their detriment and disadvantage, then it seems only rational to consider the unofficial options. I´m not saying that you should just jump right in.

I´m saying that with enough knowledge about hormone levels and checkups, a good amount of sensible thinking, and professional guidance, it can be done fairly safely. There are plenty of countries, after all, who operate on the basis of Informed Consent. You walk in, have a chat or two with the therapist, go to the endocrinologist. Very little supervision. You can wonder about that. But transition is not a one-size-fits all process.

The fact that there are so many different approaches to transition worldwide, testifies to this fact. In some places, you might not need psychological evaluation. In some places, they want you to have talks for six months, and in some places, they want you to wait for years. My point is that if someone decides to transition in a way that suits their individual situation, they are not committing  an unforgivable moral calamity.

The next argument is that transitioning by yourself demonstrates ego-centrism, impatience, and a secret desire to be a special snowflake, to whom all the rules don´t apply. Everyone (such is the argument) in this country should to go through the regular system, which means that sometimes you wait for years and sometimes you go through crushing depression and dysphoria.

But everyone goes through that. That´s just how it is. The conclusion seems to be that you should just “deal with it”. In my opinion,”just deal with it” isn´t very brotherly. It lacks empathy and understanding of the situation this other person is in. These are people who have (hopefully) tried the regular process and were worse off instead of better. They need guidance and support,  not moral condemnation.


4 thoughts on “The DIY Taboo

  1. When I started the process of going forward with HRT I was pretty anti-DIY, 9 months later I was actively searching out places to purchase what I needed. In the end I got a prescription just before clicking a “buy” button on the internet.
    Now my view is that local doctors should be able to assess and process you.
    Specialist gender doctors you wait months/years to see for a one hour slot, and there is a presumption that they are better placed to know your needs than a local doctor who you can build a relationship with and who knows the ins and outs of your physical and mental wellbeing.
    I know I could have safely started T without a specialist consent. My main worry was more wanting a confirmation a local endocrinologist could monitor bloods.
    I think your right, it’s just a taboo of a country. Which other countries can look at and be baffled by!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesterday, I read a thought by someone that matches what you are saying: when you start with transition, you want security, not risk. So at first, the better option is to go for the secure route. I think she had a point – I never thought about DIY until later in the process, when I had been waiting for about 7 months. In a way the system kind of pushes you to consider other options – I think that´s only healthy. The shitty part is that the options (places where you can get T) are still largely unsafe because of the existing taboo….


  2. Informed consent is the way to go (I’m a DIY but not on T (yet?)). You don’t want to take T without being under a health practitioner’s care – and you want to know that your T is coming from a good provider. Too many people need to either adjust their dose or change the method of taking it (IM vs. SubQ, patch vs. cream, etc.) and you don’t want to take more than necessary because of the risk of it turning back into Estrogen.
    Since you are mature and thoughtful you’d probably be fine, but I know some young guys in NYC who screwed themselves up by using black market and taking way too much. At a minimum you want your T blood levels checked, and all your other vitals (esp cholesterol and liver).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish Informed Consent were a thing here. Technically it is, but gender clinics (and their team) still don´t operate according to this model, and GP´s are very hesitant (most unwilling) to prescribe. My GP proved flexible to some degree, said she would do my bloodworks for me, if I ever decided to go DIY. That´s more than can be said for some.

      It´s a shame that some people start without being informed. They aren´t the only ones, I encountered some hilarious comments by some cisguys on the internet who had no idea what they were doing. But I think the overall attitude towards people who DIY (negative) certainly contributes to the fact that there´s too little info on the topic.

      Liked by 1 person

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