Sometimes I feel like I’m the only trans man who doesn’t think of his chest as female. Often I said that I actually never had a problem with it. Yes, I do not like to have fat on my chest, but I never saw it as “breasts” and “female parts”. It was just something annoying that started growing there and I could do nothing against it. When I saw cis men at the beach, some had even bigger boobs than I have. That anyone else could read it as “female breasts” didn’t come to my mind. Although I was aware other people viewed me as female (how should they know better?)
But as soon as I got aware of people, especially men, staring at me, I started to cover up, to hide myself. It was not because of that I had a problem with my chest and didn’t want to show it but rather that I couldn’t stand the looks. And soon I didn’t went swimming at all. Avoided every situation where I had to show my chest.
Now I’m 8 months and a half on testosterone, and my body has changed a lot. My legs and belly got hairy, my voice started to break, my “chest-fat” got smoother and shrinked. I start to feel comfortable in my body like never before. I didn’t know it was possible. To be honest, I really like my androgynous body. It feels like me for the first time in my life. I feel more self confident and want to show with photos how happy I am. So I started to be shirtless at home again, taking pictures of myself shirtless and feeling good with it. Although in the beginning it was hard. All my life I’ve been told that this feeling was wrong. That I had to cover up and feel ashamed of my body. Even from other transgender people I heard that they “don’t want to see my pre-OP chest” and that I’m “not real transgender if I don’t feel dysphoria”. I did feel dysphoria. Mostly socially. To be called “girl”, “Frau”, “she” has felt like a knife in my heart. But body dysphoria? I had an androgynous body, so what should I feel bad about? My underweight, the bony shoulders, the fucking uterus and ovaries that I never wanted and don’t belong to me, and kept me in horrid pain every month. My voice and soft facial features, yes. The feeling to look into the mirror and to not recognise yourself. I experienced this, but still I wondered “Am I trans enough?” All other trans people seem to suffer more with their bodies than I did. I felt guilty and like I was just making it up, maybe I was mentally ill? If you are already so insecure about your feelings and if they are valid, it’s even more hurtful when people come and tell you that you are invalid. It makes me believe that I have to experience worse dysphoria about my body. That I am not allowed to feel okay with it.
Now I do. Testosterone did so many wonderful things to me that I feel very good about myself. I am stronger now and don’t listen to negative voices anymore. I am a man! And I will fight for my right to be shirtless! Meanwhile I give a fuck if anyone is bothered by my shirtless appearance. I am not any less man than any other man!