I went to see Dr Curtis yesterday, which was overall a very positive meeting, full of laughs. However, one of the things he pointed out (that I was already feeling) was that I am at “That Awkward Stage” of transition.

According to him, most transguys go through three to six months of looking very androgynous, before the body really starts to masculinise fully. When I first started to take testosterone, changes started, slowly but definitely. It’s kind of hard to put your finger on a lot of changes that have occurred, but you only need to look at a recent picture of me to see that I am considerably less feminine in appearance than I used to be.

I certainly cannot claim to look fully masculine. My body is doing its best, with fat moving from my hips and bum to my stomach (thanks, body), and facial hair starting to become a reality, along with all the hair now bedecking every limb, nook and cranny. But being realistic, anyone who takes me for a man is either being terribly polite, or should have gone to Specsavers.

This stage, where I am neither one thing or the other brings out mixed feelings in me. I have always been attracted to androgynous looking people, so I can’t say that the image I see in the mirror is unattractive, or distressing. A wicked side of me quite likes messing with people’s perceptions of what gender ‘should’ look like. However, on the flip side I feel like a fraud – I am unable to prove physically that I am who I say I am.

If I were transitioning on a desert island, I’d be super-happy with the way my body is changing, but I don’t, I live in a social context, and whether I like it or not, the interactions I have with other people do count. And a lot of people do not currently know what to make of me. I exist outside of most people’s normal frames of reference, and they are left scrabbling for gender signals and some sort of context through which to read me. Unfortunately, in my experience, failure of others to slot me into a gender category can lead to ridicule, embarrassment, and even hostility. Unlike others, I have never been physically threatened, but if looks could kill, I’d be writing this several feet under.

When dealing with people on a more personal level, it is hard when I know that my physical appearance does not match the masculinity I am claiming. But then, not every trans person “looks like” the gender by which they identify. Some cannot, some choose not to, and others, like me, are simply at the start of a very long process. But why should we have to look a certain way in order to be taken seriously? Until we as a society find some sort of acceptance that gender is not just a binary fact, us ‘in-betweenies’ face a rough ride.