Even in a time when there is more information than ever available about the FTM transgender process, there are still many misconceptions that people have about the process. Even people with the best of intentions don’t always know a lot about issues affecting gender identity and gender transition. This includes the process itself as well as the surgical and hormonal treatment options that currently exist for people who identify as transgender and/or transsexual. If you compound this lack of information with some cultural preconceptions about gender roles, sexuality in general and the connection between science and medicine, then there can be some real barriers to understanding that can be harmful to those who are considering are who have already gone through the FTM transgender process.
Myth: FTM transgender patients who take testosterone for the transition will become angry beyond the point of control.
This is among the more common misconceptions about FTM transgender persons who use testosterone. However, no valid evidence exists to allow such a wide-ranging generalization to take hold. It is true that some trans men do report that they are more irritable or have shorter fuses after they start a testosterone regimen. However, others report a sensation of calmness and even temper after they start the hormone. Even so, this misconception is causing people to fear the hormonal treatment regimen that helps trans men make the change. The most likely source of this myth is the collection of stories about the use of steroids causing “roid rage” in athletes — especially body builders — who take drugs to enhance their performance. However, there is a significant difference between the testosterone that people take as part of FTM transgender treatment and the wide variety of performance enhancers that athletes have taken in the past.
Myth: Testosterone treatments make your breasts completely vanish.
It is true that testosterone therapy causes the body to redistribute fat in many FTM transgender patients, as the body moves from a female pattern of storage to a male one. Because of this, it’s not unexpected to see the fatty tissue near the breast area decrease during treatment. However, unless the patient had an extremely small chest to start with, it’s not going to make the patient’s chest look completely male unless a surgeon goes in and alters the bone structure. Breast tissue is composed of connective tissue, fat, lobes and a ductal system in both biological men and women. Estrogen in the female body causes the ductal and glandular tissue in most women to grow significantly, and the fat cells in the breasts grow quite a bit at that time as well. This means that, unless you’re a small “A cup” to begin with, you’ll still have breasts after you take testosterone.
Myth: Taking testosterone in your FTM transgender treatment will make you homosexual.
Testosterone therapy causes some trans men to experience a change in their sexual attractions and feelings, but others do not. This means that some trans men are attracted to women before they start their regimen and stay attracted to women afterward, while some retain an attraction for men throughout the process. There is no proven connection between transgender identity and sexual orientation, which means that there is just as much variety in orientation among the FTM transgender community as there is in the gender population. You’ll find gay, straight, bisexual and asexual people in the FTM group, just like you will in any other subgroup of the population. This means that there is not any specific link between testosterone treatment and a sudden shift to homosexuality. The most probable source of this myth is the fact that some people do notice a shift in their sexual feelings after the transition. However, the emotional alterations that accompany life as a man — and a perception in the world that the patient is now a man — may have a more meaningful effect in this process than the hormone itself. This means that trans men might start to explore their sexual attraction for men more comfortably after the transition than they would have before, when they felt completely disoriented in the body of a biological woman.