Let It Grow
By Jude Samson
While there are some instances where hormonal issues or particular genetics may cause cis women to grow excessive hair including facial hair, one tends to assume by default the appearance of a beard means that person is a man. Even if that person is a trans man, they are still perceived overall as being a man which is typically what most of us FtM guys work very hard toward. Whether we already have high levels of testosterone or we’re on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to increase our testosterone to more appropriate levels, the appearance of facial and bodily hair, how much of it, and how quickly it grows (if at all) is largely already determined in our genetic coding. I am far from a scientist, so I won’t even attempt to explain that aspect but suffice it to say, if your father were bald or gray early on in his life, you may well share that fate. If you happen to be from a family lineage that’s prone to being more endowed with hair, such as many of Mediterranean descent, you may enjoy the fruits of that genetic coding while, alternatively, you may be from a fair-haired line and wind up with light whispery whiskers. The HRT itself does not dictate the outcome necessarily, it merely “activates” the coding (in the most basic and simplest of explanations).
“WHAT BECAME A CURSE; HOWEVER, WAS HOW THE SECOND THAT BEARD WAS REMOVED THE WORLD COULDN’T SEE THE MAN ANYMORE.”
Along these lines, I was graced with good genes and a purely off-handed comment my mother made that has helped me grow not just a fair amount of body hair, but a nice and dark beard. I often have to trim the mustache portion, otherwise I’m eating it and if I don’t buzz down and tame back the beard part it not only looks unkempt, but my one-year-old niece has taken to grabbing it. This occasional grooming need is by no means a curse. Not the way I viewed so many of the female grooming rituals. What became a curse; however, was how the second that beard was removed the world couldn’t see the man anymore.
Three years ago I shaved my face for my sister’s wedding and despite the hairy legs, the men’s swim trunks, and the deeper voice – without those stupid hairs on my face I was suddenly no longer a man in the eyes of society as a whole. Some people have asked me more recently why I don’t shave over the summer when it’s so hot and this is exactly why. There have been times when I’ve considered shaving it off completely under certain circumstances where I have momentary blips of bravery but then I cave and opt to let it grow. I love my beard. I worked very hard to get to the point in my life where I can wear it and I like how it looks on me and how I look with it. I would, however, like to feel as though society will gender me correctly with or without it.
” I’VE OFTEN LOOKED AT MEN WHO HAVE SUBSTANTIAL BEARDS AND THEN REALIZED I NEEDED TO STOP CUTTING MINE IF I INTEND TO SEE HOW LONG OR FULL I CAN REALLY IT.”
I am expected to have my top surgery before the New Year and so I’ve come to the decision to let it grow. As fall eventually comes around I’m also curious to explore not trimming or shaving it at all for an extended period of time. I’ve often looked at men who have substantial beards and then realized I needed to stop cutting mine if I intend to see how long or full I can really it. I’m going to estimate that around October is when I will stop shaving it entirely and definitely during the No-Shave-November. While getting that little soul-patch to eventually grow is also a goal of mine I’m going to enjoy the summer as a bearded man, I’m going to explore through the fall, and come the following spring after my surgeries and recovery time I’m going to do a little spring cleaning. But, until then, I’m going to let it grow.