Transitioning Without HRT as a Trans Woman

Transitioning Without HRT as a Trans Woman

My name is Dunhill, I’m originally from an island called Guam and moved to the U.S. in late 2009. I’m currently living in Austin TX and I’m a pansexual trans woman. My pronouns are she/her and, like most other trans people, I had to come out twice in my life. Once as “bisexual” because at that time, “pansexual” wasn’t really a term that people used or knew, and then again as a trans woman at the end of 2016.

I remember the day I realized I couldn’t hide anymore and knew that I had to come out for the second time. It was the day Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016. It’s weird, something about hearing that bit of news made me re-examine how I was living my life, I know that that day was life-altering for so many people around the country (and the world) and it was for me as well, in more ways than one. I realized that I was trying to be what I had learned that society wanted me to be: A flamboyant gay man. But that just wasn’t who I am or who I was meant to be.

I thought to myself, “what can I do to be my authentic self”? I googled “male to female surgeries” and learned the basic transition a girl like me goes through. I learned about HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and listed the pros and cons. After a lot of self-discovery, multiple therapy sessions and YouTube videos of others like me, I decided HRT wasn't the right route for me or my transition. After careful consideration, hormones appeared to have more cons than pros and I wanted to embark on this journey without them. This isn't to say that going on HRT is wrong, or not a valid way to transition because there isn’t a “wrong” or “right” way to do this. HRT just wasn't right for me.

There may be those who disagree with my choice to transition without hormones because more often than not starting HRT is the first step for someone in their transition and I don’t know anyone else who has opted out of hormone therapy, but there have to be others out there who have made this same choice. All I know now and what I knew then is that I want my breast implants because I believe they will help me align my physical representation of my gender to how I feel inside. To me, my breast implants are a physical representation of the female energy I possess and my genitalia represent my male energy. As a pansexual individual, I believe we are all just human beings attracted to other like-minded human beings regardless of body parts, so as long as I'm happy and comfortable with my body, that's all that I need.

With me deciding not to start HRT, I started looking into different ways I could up my estrogen levels with food and lessened foods that increased testosterone. I also looked into silicone prosthetics to help me really feel the weight that implants would give me. Those prosthetics helped me pass at work because I started getting more customers calling me “ma’am” and using she/her pronouns. Outside of work people would think I was a girl even before I started dressing like one. So when I started dressing in the heels and doing my makeup, no one questioned and I was passing more often than not.

After getting the silicone prosthetics and wearing them almost every day for a year. I started looking into plastic surgeons and how much money I would need for my breast augmentation. After I found a surgeon I felt comfortable with, I start looking into my insurance policy and whether or not it covered trans related healthcare. My surgeon’s office tried to schedule my operation but I was denied because my breast implants were deemed "not medically necessary". When I received the rejection letter from the insurance company, I realized that the justification for not covering my surgery was based on the fact that I’m not on HRT and, therefore, I don’t have a doctor’s note proving that I have gender dysphoria. Since I have no plans to start HRT and this is often a prerequisite for covering gender-affirming surgeries (especially here in Texas) I’m probably never going to get approved for surgeries through an insurance company.

I definitely experience people telling me that I’m not trans enough because I decided not to go on HRT, which is a ridiculous notion to me. Every single person, trans or otherwise, is on a completely unique journey and path in their life, mine just happens to be one that doesn't involve hormones. So, the idea that I am not enough doesn’t exist in my world anymore. I am enough. I’m more than enough. I’m all of that and a bag of chips too!

My advice to young trans people out there is to just live your life. You are enough just by being here. Show us who you are and what “transgender” means to you. Your life and your transition are 100% yours, and even though I've had bumps along the way and countless hoops to jump through, I know that I'll find a way to get my breast augmentation. If you're interested in helping me raise the money to fund my surgery, please make sure to purchase something from -- we've raised $2,057 so far for my surgery fund with just under $1000 left to raise to cover my out-of-pocket costs. 

#SupportDunhill I'm forever grateful for y'all's support!

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