Transgender/Transsexual/Just starting transition
Heyyo. So after an intense bout of crying earlier this evening, I've decided that wallowing and being depressed is ridiculous and I'm ready to start doing something about this situation. I was DFAB, and I've since realized that I identify as agender rather than female. I'd still like to attempt a transmale transition, going on T and eventually lopping off the boobs, but I don't know where to start. Since coming out at fifteen, I've been to a couple therapists that didn't really do anything constructive. I emailed a specialized gender therapist and I'm waiting for a response. I assume that's the first step. Do you have any sort of advice as far as a timeline-type-thing would go?
My personal expertise is more on the male to female side, however many of the same standards apply to the female to male so I'll do my best to answer your questions. Please understand the procedure for transitioning is not reversible especially in the female to male. So you will need to do some serious soul searching and I believe you already have. Your next step will be to speak with a psychologist who specializes in GLBT issues. As you said you identify as agender, I assume this is the same as bi-gender or non-gender. If you make the step to transition you will leave this behind you and become male. Then again you can choose to live your life as an androgynous person living between genders it's all up to you and there is no set rule for what you choose to do. This will be part of the initial conversation you have with your psychologist.
If you make the decision to transition you will enter a very self-ish time period. Notice I didn't say selfish but self-ish. This is the opposite of self-less. For a period of time you will be focusing on own needs and you own body. Those around you likely will not understand your struggle and may accuse you of neglecting them. and likely they would be right. You will need a strong partner to help you and understand what you will be going through and they will have to understand if you neglect them from time to time it's not intentional. The reason I mention this is I've known many people who are in some point of transition from just cross-dressers who get into their wives things to those that have made the full transition. They will do crazy things from time to time. Like "accidentally" spend the money meant for the car payment on a shopping spree or something of the sort. It's like entering a 2nd puberty and you may even revert back to your teenage years mentally and emotionally.
Society is getting better but there is still a faction of haters who just don't understand the struggle. You will need to set down with your family and partner and have a good long heart to heart if you haven't already. Likely some may not support you and give you grief. I don't know if you consider yourself gay or bi, but many see the transgender community and the gay community as one in the same. They are not. Just because you are trans does not have any bearing on the gender you are attracted to. You can be a F2M and date men or date women it's your choice, however those you date will need to understand you may not be what you seem and being truthful may be difficult at times. So every decision will have to be made carefully and you should speak with your family and your partner to let them know of your decisions as it has an effect on everyone not just you.
If you begin HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) you will need to speak to a psychologist to insure you are doing the right thing and get the correct doses for your body type. Just so you know the effects of HRT on the female body are not easily reversible. Unlike M2F's who can start estrogen and then stop with little to no obvious effects, the female body will does not have that luxury. Your muscle mass will increase, your body fat will move more toward the waist like a mans, your voice will begin to drop, and you will develop more body and facial hair. Your sex drive will increase greatly and your clitoris may begin to enlarge as the testosterone tries to make it a penis, however it will likely only extrude from 3/4 to 2 inches if at all. These are just some of the more obvious changes. There are many more subtle ones including emotional changes and I'm not sure what effect it will have on your menstrual cycle. A professional will have to assess you and make sure you are ready to cope with these changes as most will be irreversible. Also your health will have to be monitored and you will require regular check ups with your general practitioner as the risk of blood clots increases over time due to the changes in your body chemistry. This can lead to poor circulation, heart attacks, strokes, and aneurysms.
I think you are on the right track, and contacting someone with expertise in this field is the best way to go. As far as a time line, that is going to depend on your body and the desired results. From my experience speaking with other M2F transsexuals, it seems 2 to 3 years is the average amount of time for the hormones to do their work. However testosterone is a very potent substance and will do it's work a bit quicker than estrogen. I would warn you however that if your body receives to much testosterone it will convert it to estrogen and then its all for naught. So your doses at the beginning will be small and I believe your doctor will prescribe you slightly larger doses as time goes to give your body time to adapt to it's new chemistry.
I would also warn you to always take your doctors advise. I've known male to females who have gone to the black market to get their meds and the results are usually not good. The quality and the doses are not regulated and sometimes they get stuff stolen from veterinarians and meant for animals. The results in these situations are usually never good.
As far as having your breast removed, that is a decision that will have to be made after you have been on HRT for a while. As I stated your body fat will redistribute and breast are mostly fat. If you are small (A or B cup) it's possible you may not need to have them removed as the hormones may shrink them to a pre-prubesent size. Then again it may have little to no effect. In the mean time as your body is changing, you can bind you breast down or wear tighter fitting sport bras until the time comes. Something you might want to look into is a gynecomastia vest. Some men will develop breast naturally due to hormone imbalances and for those outside the TG community this is a major source of embarrassment. So they wear a special vest that binds the breast down until they can be removed via surgery. This is something you might be able to look into until the time comes for surgery.
The final surgery is sometimes refereed to as genital reconstruction surgery or "bottom". For the M2F it's a fairly common and easy thing to remove tissue and convert a penis to a vagina. However the options for a F2M are not as easy as tissue has to be added. Very few F2M's have shared their experience with me regarding this. Therefore I have to conclude that F2M's usually don't have bottom surgery. Those that do have a few options. As I stated above the testosterone may try to lengthen the clitoris. It's possible through surgery to detach the clitoris from the hood and allow it to hang lower than normal. This will expose more of the shaft and could give you up to 4 inches when aroused. This would be enough for you to penetrate another female if you choose to do so. There is also the option of plastic surgery where a penis is fashioned through various techniques. From what I understand you will not be able to get an erection naturally and is only possible through the help of an insert or an implanted pump. From what I've learned there is little to know sensation as a result of these procedures and done more for cosmetic reasons. I believe this is why most F2M transgender people choose to keep their female genitals and opt not to have bottom surgery.
Also I should add if you begin testosterone, the doctors will likely recommend a hysterectomy to remove your ovaries and uterus. If you take these steps you will never be able to have children. However adoption is always an option.
I'm sorry if I rambled and covered more than you expect. In terms of time I would say 2 to 3 years depending on your development and the amount of surgery you choose. I hope this helps and if there is anything more please don't hesitate to ask.