Picking Berry: One Year on HRT

Happy anniversary to me! Happy anniversary, HRT! I have been on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) for one full year.

I began my transition journey in July of 2019 and subsequently began HRT in March of 2020—and here we are. I knew a year ago that my life and body were in for major changes and I was right.

I was quickly made aware of what general changes to expect while being reminded that everyone will experience HRT differently. All of my therapists, doctors, nurses and friends who have transitioned gave me advice and said to ask any questions that ever came up.

I took some of them up on their offers, as there were some things that I found to be quite confusing. But there were many things that I was completely surprised by. Here are some things that I was reticent to ask about that may be helpful to anyone who is transitioning or may simply be curious.

My chest has grown on HRT. A lot! I was under the impression that in order for me to have full-size breasts that were proportional to my body, I would eventually need to have breast augmentation surgery. This is not the case for me.

Over the past year my breasts have developed into a full D-cup. I not only fill out my D-cup bras but according to the Metro Inclusive Health, my clinic, there are potentially two more years of growth before they will have fully reached their maximum potential.

The next topic might be a little awkward, so the bottom line is that other parts of my body have shrunk. Drastically. Everything “downstairs” has kind of gotten smaller, except during times when I’m intimate.

During those times, everything looks and feels like it always has, though it can be more sensitive. There are also some changes in the end results. I can have a normal sexual response and even climax, but it’s a no muss, no fuss and no clean up situation.

Another thing that I knew would happen but didn’t fully comprehend the extent of is that my body fat has been completely redistributed. It’s forced me to slowly rebuild my wardrobe as nothing fits the way it used to.

Since I do drag for a living, I had acquired quite an assortment of clothing that I had planned to incorporate into my daily wardrobe. I am smaller than I was in some places and larger in others, especially in my hips and butt. This has been both good and bad – good in that I’ve gotten new clothes, bad in that that it’s forced me to spend more money.

I am also still figuring out my style. I have experimented with a lot of different looks over the past year, a process that I am enjoying. I can definitely say that sweat is a factor here in Florida and removing your bra is a beautiful feeling.

There are also huge emotional and psychological aspects that are more intense than the physical aspects of transitioning. I am learning to be truer to my emotions; to really feel what I am feeling instead of trying to deny or hide it. I cannot say that I am more emotional than before I began HRT, but I am certainly more apt to show my emotions.

A lot of my general anger in life has subsided. Some might say the I had a fiery temper before I transitioned. I would not deny that, though I also cannot attribute my nicer temperament to HRT. I firmly believe that now that I am living in my truth that I am simply a happier person. The estrogen also probably helped. A lot.

In my transition I have found a new voice to stand up for my fellow members of the LGBTQ+ family. A sense of passion for our rights and visibility has re-emerged from my college days of ACT UP, a group which worked to end the AIDS pandemic.

I have also become intensely passionate about our government and its inner workings and cogitations. I watch C-SPAN and yell at the TV like it is a sports ball game. I can name and tell you the state of origin and party of far too many House and Senate members. I even hate-watch specific networks in order to hear what they are saying about us.

The fact that any politician still has a say in our inalienable human rights is infuriating. The fact that our rights to live normally are still being legislated is maddening. I do not understand it and I will not be quiet about it.

But all of this is me. When or if you are considering your transition, you do not have to be as public. It is perfectly fine if you want to just be yourself. “Passing” and gender are social constructs that are outdated and overrated, which brings me to the biggest thing I’ve learned in the last year.

You don’t have to fit into any mold. The best part about living your truth is that it is yours.

Berry Ayers, aka Beneva Fruitville, has performed for audiences onstage from New York to Fiji. She has been honored for her theatrical roles and volunteer work.

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