Being a pre-operated transman is exhausting. Most of the time people don’t acknowledge your gender, you do not look your age (like a teenage boy) , misgendering by saying, “Oh sorry mam I thought you are a boy” and haunting gender dysphoria.
Here are few tips with you which you can pass as a male and lower down your dysphoria.
- Identify where your dysphoria lies: Identify what are the things that give this distress and dysphoric. Is it the ‘feminine’ clothes, the haircut, the way people treat you, your body (Chest, what you have in your pants, feminine skin, no or lack of facial hair)? Do not get traumatised and by identifying your dysphoria you can work around it to make things a little better.
- Getting a Masculine Haircut: Getting a simple masculine haircut can be both reliving and a struggling experience. It sometimes takes a lot of courage to do it. “What will parents, society, friends, colleagues or relatives say” is the most daunting thought. Trust me once you do it, it is the one the most reliving experience. Go to a salon or your barber ask for a masculine haircut which you like. Many hairstylist or barber may ask many weird questions. “Aap baal kyu chhote kara rhe ho” “Ladkiyo ke toh baal bade hote hai” “Trim kardu kya” “Arre koi khass occasion hai kya” “Shaadi kaun karega aise aapse” and they try to lure you with all their products which is especially for women. If your hairstylist says all these, tell them to just do their job or change the stylist. Also note that there is a difference between short masculine and short feminine haircut.
- Masculine clothes: Choosing masculine clothes from a store can make you nervous, happy or anxious. Understanding your body and what suits you are very important. I have a read a very good article about FTM masculine clothing. Here’s the link to it: http://ftmguide.rassaku.net/
- Using a Binder: Chest binding is a way to lower down the dysphoria for many transmen. Binding basically means to use various ways and materials to make your chest area flatten hence giving you a male looking chest. It is cheap to use household items however, some are quite unsafe. For instance, duct tape and crepe bandage because they damage the breast tissues and ribs. When I didn’t have a binder I used a duppatta , cut old jeans to wrap around the chest area, old smaller size t shirts. They are all good but not reliable. Then I tried jockey’s different sports bra of small size and also tried this Binder Tank Top
I stitched the sports bra to the size in which I felt comfortable and gave me more compression. I was not happy so I was looking for a really good budget binder. There are many websites where you can find binders:
- http://www.underworks.com/ It has some really good binders they are little expensive.
- http://www.amazon.in It also has binders of Underworks.
Apart from these online websites there is company called Norma which make customized compression belt. My binder is from Norma and I paid Rs.2300 for one piece. Apart from these things there are 3 more options
There somethings you need to keep in mind while using a binder. Don’t wear a binder for more than 8-9 hours, wash it regularly and keep it clean. Binders may cause breathing problem for some. Do not sleep wearing a binder as it may be harmful. Also, there are many transmen who give their second-hand binders at low cost.
For more information, you can check out this link
- Packing: Packing means creating a male-looking or male feeling bulge in your crotch area. It can be done by using a home made stuffer or a store-bought stuffer. There are realistic looking prosthetic devices which can be found online. It is also referred to as ‘packer’, ‘packy’ or as ‘Stand to pee’ packer’ which allows one to pee while standing up. Some transmen prefer to call their packer or device as penis, cock, dick etc. You can use socks, I have used it though it was not very comfortable though it gives good bulge.
For more information check out this link http://www.ftmguide.org/packing.html
You can buy packers
- Voice: The major problem with many pre-op transmen or FTM is their feminine voice and their appearance as many looks like teenage boys. If you are happy with it, then its fine. However, if this makes you feel dysphoric, then you can practice to make your voice masculine. Stand in front of the mirror and practice with little words and sentences. For looks you can join gym to gain muscles. You can try using dried kohl(kajal) to give a ‘5 o clock shadow’ look.
- Masculine Manners: Learn how men around you or in your society behave. Do not get pressurize by that though. Observe them, take your time, analyse and then accept. Learning masculine manners can be tricky as sometimes we get so indulged in learning them that we cross the line and become sexist and disrespect other genders which is not acceptable.
And here are few links which you can go through for more passing Tips
These few tips for passing as a male and it is based on my experience. Any reader who wants to contribute or add anything in this article please feel free to contact/email me.