Though gender identity-focused clinics like Callen-Lorde may have a longer history of this treatment for non-binary people, Goldstein has a point: Prescribing lower dosages of testosterone is not unheard of in the wider medical field. According to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care Guide:
[Prescribing low doses of testosterone has] been talked about for a lot longer than people realize. This is the way I see all transgender care for people who have non-binary and binary gender identity: The person getting the care is the captain of the ship. I’m the navigator. That’s how we take care of everybody.
Most portrayals of transness, though, are based in the binary—like Laverne Cox on the cover of TIME or Laith Ashley being a pit member on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The acceptance these platforms offer is grounded in a simplified, cisheteronormative understanding of transness. For non-binary people, that can serve as reinforcement that popular narratives about transness, in otherwise cis contexts, are premised on how far along an individual is in their “complete” medical transition. Microdosing rejects that notion because it is a process that is without a hard and fast “end.”My uneasiness and fear about telling a doctor how I really felt lessened when I returned to Micah’s blog and decided I wanted to try again, this time with more candor. When I returned to Callen-Lorde and successfully acquired a script that met my needs, I was forthright about what I wanted. I explained to my primary care doctor that I was non-binary and I wanted the changes to be slow—even glacial, if I had the choice. We had an open conversation that left me with a warm feeling in my stomach. I hadn’t kept a secret.
Some people seek maximum feminization/masculinization, while others experience relief with an androgynous presentation resulting from hormonal minimization of existing secondary sex characteristics…Hormone therapy must be individualized based on a patient’s goals, the risk/benefit ratio of medications, the presence of other medical conditions, and consideration of social and economic issues.
In a world where non-binary people feel like they’re not only reflected, but have access to stories of others who have found their own ways to transition, I don’t think microdosing would be as uncommon. I’m most excited for the future that I see in the images I scroll past on my feed late at night, when I need affirmation most. The people in them—my peers, and people with more visibility, like Alok, Aaron Philip, Shamir, and Chella Man— are, like me, forging new paths. They have bodies I see my own in: non-white, soft around the edges, sprouting facial hair, both pretty, handsome, and more. They show me that being non-binary is amorphous. It comes without a prescribed way of being, free of expectations. I use testosterone to access this freedom, slowly inching my way to a soft, forgiving space where I can be gentle, hard, bold, and understated. Myself.