A Neutrois Introduction: Physical Expansion Pack

The Question

On the last post of this series I received an interesting question from a reader:

Are lack of facial and bodily hair and a voice unchanged by testosterone neutral-gendered or rather female characteristics? You don’t have the male primary sexual characteristic, but I assume you have the female one. I’m reasonably sure a vagina is not gender-neutral! Even a flat chest — is that non-female or actually male? It matches male morphology.
You wrote of not taking testosterone. Do you still produce estrogen and progesterone? Those are definitely not gender-neutral.
I’m not trying to give you a hard time. Just trying to understand

My response was way too long for a comment box, and a lot of things were left unsaid, so here’s a more detailed explanation of my answer. At first I was wary of this kind of question, but I took it on good faith that the reader did not have bad intentions (this turned out to be true). Although many trans people will get offended with inquiries about their genitals and other private bodily matters, I wrote this blog as a safe space to learn and ask questions. Therefore I welcomed this as honest curiosity and a chance to provide information on a little known topic. Although there is a fine line between that and mean-spritited prying, so please tread that line carefully.

The Reponse

Genitals

As for my “primary female characteristic” – a vagina – you’re right that it’s not neutral-gendered, but it’s not as prominent as its male counterpart, which most male-born Neutrois do want to get rid of. As medical science stands now, there is no way to truly “nullify” one’s vagina, but there are ways to “nullify” one’s penis. In addition, I’m asexual, so I don’t care much about those genitals.

As a clarification, a vagina is never “in the way,” I don’t see it often, other people don’t see it ever, and it’s not something people use to decide my gender on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, my bottom genitals are not an issue. (That said, I’m actually quite shy, so I’d prefer not to discuss this again.)

Hormones

As I was born female, I do produce estrogen. But as someone born male, they produce testosterone, even though they can no longer be a man (a transsexual for instance). FTM’s usually don’t stop production of estrogen, they just counteract it with testosterone; conversely with MTF’s. If there were a way to get rid of the feminizing effects of estrogen without adding the masculinizing effects of testosterone, I would take that path. But again, medically there is no way to get rid of hormones in an adult body, you can only override them with more hormones.

And yes, some MTF’s do stop production of testosterone, and some FTM’s may stop production of estrogen, but they are not hormone-free. Moreover, the effects of either hormone are not reversed. So if I were to stop producing estrogen (say through a hysterectomy/oophorectomy) the feminizing effects it has had on my body would not be reversed. The only possible way of reversing it would be, again, by overriding it with testosterone, but this has other unwanted consequences.

Voice, Hair, and Chest

Many female-born Neutrois do want a slightly lower, more neutral voice, but not as low as man’s. Conversely with male-born Neutrois who have a distinctly male voice. As it is, my voice is a mild cause for dysphoria, since it does consistently give me away on the phone and such. But I’d rather keep my voice as is than risk botching it (you never know what you get with T, it could go higher or lower).

A person with no facial hair can still be read as a man, or as a woman, whereas a person with facial hair is usually read as a man; thus lack of facial/body hair is neutral. I think that prescence/lack of bodily hair might more of a personal choice – I honestly don’t know what other Neutrois’ opinions are on this. I’m going to guess that a very hairy male-born Neutrois would prefer less hair, while female-born Neutrois don’t necessarily care.

A flat chest is leaning towards male, which is why some agendered people don’t care about that. Generally, male-born Neutrois do not want to add breasts to their body, and some female-born small breasted Neutrois are not that concerned. But it’s more the case that breasts are a signifying feminizing feature, hence why they are such cause for dysphoria. Think about it – breasts are often the one factor used to distinguish an ambiguously gendered short-haired person as a man or a woman. To reiterate, if it’s a prominent and genderfying characteristic, it is most certainly not neutral.

A gender neutral body

Now, think of a child. A child’s body is neutral gendered, save for the bottom genitals, even though the child has a gender. However, a child does not produce testosterone and/or estrogen, yet it’s a boy or a girl. A child has a flat chest, yet it’s a boy or a girl. A child has an unchanged voice and no facial / body hair. So, the hormones your body produces or does not produce, or having a flat chest, or an unchanged voice, does not make you less or more of one or the other gender, as children can be read as girls or boys – in this case, it’s more about outward appearance and being “read as” than one’s actual body.

As many others have said before, being Neutrois is more of a substractive process – trying to remove what was added during puberty to adulthood. To be honest, I, (as well as the reader) was hesitant in bringing up the subject of a child’s body, but it is what best describes a neutral body, although children themselves are not neutral gendered. (This can be mis-interpreted in the same way other forms of transgender and transsexuality can be, hence the risk of bringing it up.)

In sum

I’d like to add that when I say “this/that is neutral” I don’t mean this as a pronouncement or decree on what is and isn’t neutral. This is simply my feeling towards the neutralness of one or another characteristic. It may or may not be true for other Neutrois, other agendered people, or others in general.

This can be summed up as, if it’s a prominent sexual characteristic, it’s automatically not neutral. If it’s something that is used to gender someone, it’s not neutral. If it’s non-obtrusive or not used to gender people on a regular basis, then it can be neutral or neutral-leaning.

And then there are just some things which are not possible with modern medical science. Not to mention the complex social interactions that come into play. Remember, a significant part of a transgendered person’s life is based on other people’s perceptions of them. This goes the same for Neutrois people, albeit the tangles get more intricate. People always try to gender someone into male or female, and a Neutrois wishes to be neither.

Please feel free to ask more questions on this, honest curiosity is still welcome.

8 responses to “A Neutrois Introduction: Physical Expansion Pack

  1. I read this yesterday in its shorter comment form, but something new you mentioned caught my eye — the voice thing. I was just having that conversation yesterday with my SO. I feel like I sound like a doll, and I’d love for my voice to be more neutral, but I don’t know exactly what T would do to it. Apparently sometimes you can get a voice trainer or tapes to listen to to help you change it? I haven’t had time to look into it yet.

    (Also, did you mean to type “transgender” or “transgendered” instead of “transgered” in “a significant part of a transgered person’s life”?)

  2. If I ever ask a question that crosses a line, please tell me. In the blogs that T-Central links to, there tend to be few if any boundaries of propriety. But that doesn’t mean an individual blogger can’t set their own rules.

    Thank you again for the detailed information!

    • Your questions were great. I was just being extra cautious, as I’m a bit new to this. Thank you for reading, and feel free to ask anything!

  3. You wrote “If there were a way to get rid of the feminizing effects of estrogen without adding the masculinizing effects of testosterone, I would take that path” – I hear ya! I’ve actually done T to look more androgenous in the long run (after looking more male for a while), and don’t feel particularly bad about certain things being irreversable. I’ve stopped taking T and I’ve had chest surgery. I dropped out of the official genderprogramma in Amsterdam here, and all seems fine and neutroid now… All that’s left now is trying to loose weight I gained from hormones.
    – greetings! Jiro.

    • Hi Jiro,
      Thanks for dropping by! I thought you were identifying as male, so it’s surprising to hear you are more neutral. Maybe you can tell me more about your experience with T, and what aspects of it you liked or didn’t like relative to having a gender-neutral presentation. I’m still trying to learn more about this.

      • Oh no! Never in my life have I would want to either _be_ male or _feel_ male. The word ‘transman’ is not a word I can use either, but I use it on my website as a starting point to make people understand what my cartoons are about. I’ve been calling myself an ‘it’ for the past nine years.
        Things I liked about T: faster metabolism and weight loss; lower voice, psychologically more ‘focus’, physical strength, growing clitoris, hair on my pinky finger, flirting with gay men, and most importantly: after using it for 1 year I got granted permission for chest surgery within the offcial genderteam system here in the Netherlands.
        Things I didn’t like: change of facial features, not recognising myself in the mirror, body odor, immense growing of hair EVERYWHERE (whatwhat in my butt?), a strange kind of aggression that didn’t fit me and I couldn’t vent off because it just isn’t me, lint in my bellybutton, using androgel daily was a difficult chore for someone with lack of discipline (and T-injections are horrible, too much fluctuation), no flirting opportunities with lesbian women anymore, most importantly: people suddenly perceiving me as male, instead of androgenous.
        Note: many of these things differ from person to person.

  4. Pingback: Testosterone, part 2 « Neutrois Nonsense·

  5. I know this reply is YEARS after the fact, but I started reading your blog and I just had to comment on this post. Given the recent turmoil within the LBGT+ community I found myself without a role to play in binary society, trans culture, or gay/lesbian circles. Thus, I have been trying to find my own place and others who identify as I do. I believe that I am neutrois, asexual, and biologically female. In slightly interesting contrast if given the choice I would rather not have my breasts, uterus, or vagina; neither do I want the narrow pelvis and penis of a man. Unlike the commenter’s above, or yourself, (for whatever reason) my body makes too much testosterone. However, do not let that last statement mold a false image of what you may imagine me. I have an hourglass figure, and thick hair pretty much everywhere (that for social reasons I keep well in check), as well as a deep voice. I don’t have any major qualms about my body, but I think it just is complacency of the realization that I can’t afford to become gender neutral surgically. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, I just wanted you to know that there are people like you (and unlike you) out there. I’m sure you’ll get more replies from me in the future (please feel free to email me, I would love to talk, ask questions with you)!

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