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One year on HRT

March 23, 2024 - transgender

Today marks one year on HRT. A year ago, I remember nervously sitting across from my doctor as she typed up the script that I'd pick up minutes later. I remember the fear of getting started, the trepidation of putting new chemicals into my body with unknown consequences. Along with that fear, a kind of hope also dared to show its head. What if HRT was good for me? What if it helped?

A year later, I can look back and say without any hesitation that going on HRT was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

In this post, I share my reasons why. I don't mean for this post to be any kind of medical advice for anyone else. Rather, I'd like it to be a record for other folks who are curious about the journey.

For me, HRT has affected a lot of how my body and mind work, so I'm going to try to create different sections to cover the different kinds of changes I see.

Mind changes

Mental calm

I mentioned in Happy Pride, I'm trans that the early changes to the brain were eye-opening. I felt a sense of pleasant calm. The background static in my brain went down in volume, and I felt a kind of openness. I wasn't sure at the time if this would continue, and I'm happy to report it has.

If HRT only did this part and nothing else, it would be well worth it.


I've been tracking my mood everyday for over an year now. It's great data to see that my mental health is indeed quite a bit better. I still have bad days, to be sure, but my overall mood is quite a bit better than it was before I started HRT.

Access to emotions

This one gets talked about quite a bit in regard to HRT. You cry a lot more. Like, a lot more. That's not a universally true thing, but does seem to be quite common.

I now keep a box of tissues where I'm reading or watching tv because at any point something might catch me. Crying can be a few tears or it can last for many hours or anything in-between.

More than just feeling sadness more clearly, I feel everything more clearly. If I want to sit and reflect on how I feel about something, I can. Those feelings are things I can access and explore. When I was working my way to coming out as a trans woman, I spent a lot of time "peeling the onion" while exploring my inner world. It meant feeling my way through some pretty uncomfortable feelings, but I have no doubt HRT was making things visible that I wouldn't have been able to easily see and feel before.

On a related note, the biggest of the emotional changes for me has definitely been the head-to-heart connection, so let's talk about the heart changes.

Heart changes

I've asked around to a few of my trans femme friends if they've experienced what I'm about to talk about in this section. To date, I haven't met anyone else who has. There are a few theories here that'll share at the end of the section, but first let me just write down what I experienced.

At about the 6 month mark, I started consuming trans and sapphic book content. Much of what I read were romances. It was like I couldn't get enough of them.

I didn't think much of it, it was just hitting the right buttons, so I was going with it.

Then, I noticed I was feeling this tug in my heart as I read the stories. At first, it was noticeable but not terribly strong, and then it got stronger. I started pulling for these women to get together and felt joy when they did.

This went on for months. It was like having a very personal conversation with my heart.

You see, for my adult life up until taking HRT I'd dated dozens of people, but if I'm being really honest with myself, I have to admit I never fell in love with any of them. I'll go a step further and say I'm not even sure I had the capacity to. I remember years ago wondering to myself if I was aromantic. That maybe I just wasn't wired for the romance part and that staying in a relationship long-term was something that wasn't natural to me.

Fast forward to October of last year where I'm lying on the couch, bawling my eyes out at some novel I just finished, going through tissue after tissue because my heart just felt like it was overflowing.

Something had changed.

In the past year, I had other firsts. My first crush on HRT felt nothing like I've ever experienced before. It was like a bowling ball compared to what I had before, which was more like a marble. The intensity, the overwhelm, and the sheer hyperfocus had me begging for some kind of escape by the end. When I compared notes with my close friends, their help amounted to "welcome to being a girl and having a girl crush. Remember to breathe."

Something had definitely changed.

Somehow, my brain and heart had "rewired". In chatting with other trans folks, we came up with two possible reasons why it was happening:

  1. HRT is having some kind of mood-altering effect that is giving me access to my romantic side in a way I could not access before.


  1. By transitioning, I'm now more comfortable in my body. As a result, I'm open to feeling romantic in a way I wasn't before. This is because I can actually share my real self with others.

Whether it's #1 or #2, or even some unknown #3 option, I don't know.

Sexuality changes

I'd been warned that this could happen.

First off, this year I went through an expected dip in sex drive. Right after starting HRT and blocking my T, my sex drive vanished. It was almost completely gone for about 8-9 months.

When it came back, I was different. Everything about my sexuality felt different.

How do I even explain. Let me explain this by talking about the obvious one first.

When the libido returned, I'd lost all interest in anything other than queer relationships. Before HRT, I was pansexual. I could happily enjoy various straight and queer content. Afterward, I just had no interest in cis straight anything.

As I explored a bit and let things settle down it became clear that I'm a lesbian. I might find other things interesting, but when I asked myself what I wanted, I had no doubts.

As a side note: it reminded me of being in my 20s watching L Word for the first time going "wow, why does this make so much sense to me?". You poor egg you. At least now I know why.

Other things related to sexuality have also changed. I won't go into a lot of details here, but I'll mention that being attracted to another person isn't largely a visual thing anymore. It is much more sensual and about the connection to the other person and wanting to feel closer to them.

Relationship changes

Oh I love this part. My connection to my friends has deepened noticeably. When we spend time sharing heart-to-heart about something, we can go to a much more satisfying place, making room for uncomfortable emotions and feelings to be talked about.

In short, the level of intimacy possible is deeper and more nourishing.

Romantic relationship changes

I'm writing this section as a bit of a placeholder, as I'm not yet ready to fill it in. I'm curious if other things have changed. Before HRT, I'd spent the last few decades monogamous. Now, with the connection to my heart being so different, I'm not sure where I fall. To know, I'll have to experiment.

The more fundamental shift is being ready to be in relationships again. I'd checked out of them for the three years leading up to HRT so that I could figure out what was going on. Coming to the conclusion that I'm trans and needed to start that journey explained quite a lot of things.

What will relationships look like now? I'm eager to find out.

Body changes

Yeah, this is a big one for a lot of folks. Estrogen does whatever it does, and you get whatever it gives you. Everyone seems to be different. Here's what I got:

Voice changes

Haha, if only HRT helped with this. It sadly does not. I have been practicing regularly for the last 6 months, which has helped a bunch. But wow, it's work work work.


An earlier draft of this post didn't include this section, but after writing it and having breakfast, I wanted to say something here. HRT does not allow me to be read as a woman. It's done many things to make parts of me more feminine, but I've never once been correctly gendered in public.

For some trans women, they're lucky in that regard. After a few months on HRT, their already-feminine features are enough with a bit of help to appear feminine enough to be regularly gendered correctly.

I'm on the other end. My face is a bit androgynous naturally, but things like my baldness, and perhaps other characteristics like shoulders, will lead me to be read as masculine.

My goal in this regard is to be a trans woman. What I am as a trans woman. To be myself, basically, and to grow and change to be more myself. To do that, rather than to try to fit into a box that wasn't made for me. If at some point in the future, I happen to fit into such a box, then it will be a happy accident.

Worth it

HRT has been without a doubt thoroughly worth it. I'm healthier. I'm heading in a healthier direction. My connections to my friends has gotten deeper. My connection to my inner world has likewise also gotten deeper.

I can't imagine ever going back. I feel like I stepped through a portal and behind me a set of doors closed. In front of me, a set of new doors opened.

I can't wait to explore the doors ahead.