Yesterday, Marie Claire gave the LGBT world a breath of fresh air through publishing “I Was Born A Boy,” which detailed Janet Mock’s account of growing up transgender.

As Janet shared her struggles, from her family rejecting her gender identity to finally garnering her mother’s support in pursuing gender reassignment surgery, some important issues were highlighted, particularly around the unsupervised use of female hormone drugs among transgender women.

In the story, Janet revealed that she bought her first set of female hormone pills from her good friend, Wendi.

For me, this moment came when Wendi, whom I remained friends with despite being in different schools, started taking female hormone pills. When she graduated to injections a few months later, she sold me her pills for $1 a pop. The timing was divine, as I’d already begun to detect a hint of an Adam’s apple on my throat. The changes in my 15-year-old body horrified me. Sometimes while showering, my thoughts got dark: What if I just cut this thing off? Wendi’s pills were my savior. For three months, I took estrogen and watched my body’s slow metamorphosis: softer skin, budding breasts, a fuller face. But I knew that taking them without the supervision of a doctor was risky. I needed someone to monitor my progress.

When Janet confessed to taking the pills, her mother was left with two choices: get her daughter access to a qualified health professional or turn her cheek while “hoping for the best.” Her mother chose to sign off on an endocrinologist’s routine of treatments, eventually leading to gender reassignment surgery.

Often, transgender health struggles are overlooked not only by loved ones, but also by “mainstream” media. Simply put, equal access to healthcare is not exclusive to any gender identity and there’s a dire need for inclusive health advocacy that addresses the transgender community’s needs.

When will America support the transgender community in their fight for equal access to healthcare? Speak on it.

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7 Comments

  1. Thank you for pulling out this little nugget of light from the Marie Claire piece. I was insanely blessed to have a very supportive family and know that many trans youth don’t have that same support – so they resort to street methods of endocrinology. It’s sad, yet it is a reality. I hope that we continue to speak out on this issue, as you’ve so eloquently pointed out that there is “a dire need for inclusive health advocacy that addresses the transgender community’s needs.”

    • @Janet Mock: Thanks Janet for stopping by! I was ecstatic to see a trans “coming of age” story in Marie Claire. And I’m sure you’ll continue to inspire more people to pay attention to transgender issues. I’m happy to do my part and support. Much love sis, Arielle Loren

  2. As a member of the profession, I feel it cannot be emphasized too much: there always needs to be an Endocrinologist, specialist, supervising this process. You cannot safely do this alone on street drugs.

  3. Congratulations on putting this subject out there! I’m so glad her Mother made the decision to get the proper medical attention. This has been swept under the “rugs” for far too long. Along with hormone shots/pills and surgery, we need to continue to look at our diets. It has to be a complete change of lifestyle.

    Frugivore continues to stay ahead of the Rest!

  4. Thank you for writing this. I am getting frustrating with the invisibilizing of trans folk within the African American community.

  5. Sorry, I meant “getting frustrated”… and I don’t even think ‘invisibilizing’ is a word, but couldn’t think of another one at the moment.

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