HYPER/TEXT: Transitioning in Secret

I Extend My Arms 1931 or 1932 Claude Cahun via TATE

Transitioning in Secret asks:

Is it possible to start hormones if you aren’t out to your family but still talk to them regularly?

I’ve been thinking about taking hormones since 2018. I finally scheduled an HRT consultation, but I’m not out to my very Slavic family. They keep asking me if I’m actually a dude, but they’re still pretty confused about trans people. If I could start hormones without having to come out, I would say “HELL YES” to T.


Transitioning in Secret, the short answer to your question is “yes.” The slightly longer answer is “I’ve kind of done this myself.” The even longer answer is “yes, but only for a limited period of time.” And the longest answer? Well, jeez, man, give me, like, ten minutes to bang it out.

Testosterone has a number of effects on the human body. While no medication’s side effects are universal, common perceptible changes include increased face and body hair, increased lean mass and muscle growth, and lowering of vocal pitch

Now, I’d fucked around with testosterone for short spurts in the past, but I committed to taking it for six solid months during the meat of the pandemic. For whatever reason, drugs have always hit me hard and fast, so it only took a few days for my voice to shatter like a middle schooler’s. And boy, it didn’t take long for people to take notice. 

“Still dealing with that cold, huh?” my mom would inquire over the phone each week, concerned and not thoroughly convinced.

“Oh, yeah,” I’d lie, sniffling and coughing and slapping on another pump. “It fuckin’ blows.” 

My family knows I identify as nonbinary, but in the way a child quietly “knows” their sibling is the result of an affair. No one has ever spoken to me about it, sans a brother referring to me as his “sibling.” Likewise, I’m sure my mother has caught on — my voice has dropped several octaves, and I’ve only recently mastered its cracks —, but she’s too polite (or afraid?) to mention it. 

So, in short: it’s doable. It all depends on how long you think your family can comfortably stay in denial. For mine? That’s forever. For yours? Only you can suss that out. But at some point, the cat’s gonna leap out of the bag — with a baritone voice and a handlebar mustache.


HYPER/TEXT is a queer advice column for the digital age: a space for subcultural dilemmas that leave offline friends scratching their heads. Should you block your best friend over lesbian discourse? What on Earth is a “kinnie?” Check in biweekly for answers to these questions and more as we explore the lives of the hyper-online!

Got questions? Submit HERE or via hypertextterse@gmail.com.


Fox Auslander is a nonbinary poet born, raised, and based in Philadelphia. They are a chapbook editor at LUPERCALIApress, one of three co-lead poetry editors at Alien Magazine, and one of two co-editors at Delicate Friend. Find them on Instagram @circumgender.

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