Regardless of where you are in your FTM transition, there are always ways to enhance your experience. Even if you have not arrived at a certain stage in the transition yet, with this list, you can adequately prepare for when you do. On the other hand, if you are already past a stage, you can use these tips to help others in the community.
An FTM transition (or any kind of significant change in your life) can both be scary and really beautiful. Especially if you have access to some tips and tricks to help you. We hope this essential list will help you achieve just that! We have ordered the list chronologically on the transition timeline. We wish everybody luck and fun on this life-changing journey.
1. Self-care products
The first one is actually something we recommend to anybody, regardless of their age, gender, race, or sexuality. For anybody to shine and be the person they were born to be, we need first take good care of ourselves — our body, our mind, and our soul. There are numerous ways to do this. From taking long soothing baths to exercising, to treating yourself with delicious meals.
We recommend all those things, but journaling has scientifically proven to be very beneficial for our mental health and even boost the immune system! Additionally, it's a great way to record the changes and feelings you are experiencing while being on your transition journey. Great to read for later!
We recommend the Leuchtturm1917 journal, due to its construction it is very durable, meaning it could last you a lifetime. It also has ink-proof paper, meaning you would see what you have written on the other side of the page, making the most of the space you have available. You can even use watercolors if you feel for more artistic expression. There are built-in index and numbered pages, meaning you can quickly find what you're looking at a later stage.
2. Emotional support
We think emotional support should equally be on the essential list of every human being. Whether you are going through an FTM transition, MTF transition, or dealing with other inevitable challenges of the human experience, everything is a lot less heavy if you have someone supporting you. This can be friends and hopefully family as well, but there are always (new) groups in which you can find support, both online and offline.
Unfortunately, for many, a transition means feelings of and loneliness and alienations. That is a heavy price to pay for being who you are, but you are not alone. And even when your friends and family support you, they might not always understand what you are going through. Nowadays, regardless of where you are, you can always find people groups online that share your experience, opinion, or ideology.
We recommend T Buddy, a support service aimed at reducing isolation for the experience of trans guys. Their sessions are 100% free and available 24/7 via text, phone, or Skype!
Usually, the first stage in an FTM transition is the social transition in which you actively adopt your new gender role. This can include a name change, use of different pronouns, different social roles, and physical appearance. Changing our physical appearance can be done in various ways, and often it means getting a new wardrobe and the (re-)discovery of your authentic style.
Some wardrobes will radically change, for others, it will mean getting rid of some items and replacing them with others. Either way, this process should be fun, and it should be exciting to look in the mirror. We obviously can’t tell you what your style should be, that is something only you can find out for yourself. It’s all about finding what makes you most comfortable!
Either way, we feel some items have a place in every (trans)guy’s wardrobe. One is definitely a cotton tank top for hot summer days. Especially if you are wearing a binder, it will help you stay cool — literally and figuratively. Plus it makes you look manly as hell! We recommend looking for organic cotton or hemp. These materials are not only better for our environment, but it also feels great on your skin! Rawganique has some amazing basic clothing pieces, such as tank tops and T-shirts. In many cases the items are unisex, something we also love.
4. Pronoun pins
Another big part of your social transition is the change of pronouns, and that involves the conscious effort of the people around you. It's not entirely in your hands. It can be terribly frustrating when people refer to you with the wrong pronoun, but rather than becoming angry, we should make an effort to educate them.
A great way of doing that is with the use of pronoun pins. This works really well for gender non-binary people as well. The rise of transgender and gender non-binary people coming out is a significant change in society. We should be patient and act with kindness if we want to expect the same in return.
Pronoun pins can be found widely on the internet, but if you want something unique and handmade, we recommend you check out Etsy.
5. FTM Chest-binder
For many, the gender dysphoria they experience that is most visible for the outside world as well is the absence of a flat chest. Using a chest binder is a life-changing experience for many and significant steps towards bringing out the person they feel they are inside. However, it has to be done safely, and we don’t recommend creating DIY binder from tape or bandages! Besides being very uncomfortable, it can cause —sometimes irreversible — injury!
Fortunately, there are already many brands out there providing safe options for creating that desired flat chest. Binding is never completely risk-free, therefore it is recommended to only bind 6-8 hours a day at the max. This will be sufficient for a school or workday. For many, this will be a temporary solution and will no longer be necessary after chest surgery.
6. FTM All-in-one Packing Boxers
Packing is another excellent way to help you express yourself in your new gender role. Packing can be done DIY, and there are many packing options out there. However, Paxsies offers the only all-in-one packing solution! The stylish boxers have a firm removable foam packer that can easily be washed. It is lightweight and creates a very natural-looking bulge.
Because it is incorporated in the underwear, you can easily use it during exercise as well. Whether this is running, yoga, or even swimming! You can feel comfortable in any situation! If you are not sure packing is something for you. We advise you to first try it with a sock and see how it feels before investing money in a packer.
7. FTM Packer - Mr. Limpy
The Cheapest most realistic silicone FTM soft packer
If you are looking for a more realistic look and feel and don’t care about the weight in your underwear, we would recommend you to check out Mister Limpy. They come in different sizes and you can find them online from €19.95.
8. Shot kit
One of the most exciting phases in the transition is the getting on testosterone, or "T". For the majority, this moment feels like the real beginning of the journey. It should be remembered, however, that you are handling and carrying delicate equipment that may break or become damaged. Additionally, it's what you need to maintain your manhood — it's precious! This obviously holds true for any kind of person that needs to self-administer their medication.
Therefore, having a shot kit to keep your syringes, needles, and T organized and protected is an absolute FMT essential. We recommend having a hard case shot kit, that way you are absolutely sure your liquid treasure remains safe, especially during travel.
9. Pantothenic acid/ Vitamin B5
For many transguys, an unwanted side effect of the testosterone shots is acne. Which makes sense, because the FMT transition could be seen as experiencing a (second) puberty. There are various ways to treat acne, but many swear that taking vitamin B5 supplements reduces the outbreaks on the face. It's also known under the names Anti-dermatitis vitamin, Calcium-pantothenate, D-pantothenic acid, Dexpanthenol, Pantethine, and Pantothenate.
Even if this is not the case, vitamin B5 has many health benefits besides the reduction of acne on the face and is an essential nutrient for the human body. Taking supplements has some benefits, but results backed up from studies are limited; accelerated wound healing, reduction of stress and anxiety, boost of immune system, and stimulation of physical growth. It's widely available in powder, capsules, and tablets. For those that want to refrain from taking a synthetic supplement, it can naturally be found in liver, queen bee jelly, yeast, rice bran, molasses, peanuts, tree nuts, whole grains, mushrooms, eggs, milk, and potatoes.
10. Razor and shaving foam
When eventually that facial hair starts to grow, you might want to get a proper razor to maintain the look you want. Since we should care for the environment, we suggest buying a stainless steel safety razor. You know, the one in which you only have to swap the razor blades. You’ll end up saving a lot of money in the long run, and it’s stylish as can be! Many claim other types of razors actually shave too close to the skin, which can ultimately lead to painful ingrown hairs. Check out the Art of Shaving for all your shaving essentials.
With a proper razor comes the right shaving foam as well and here we recommend staying green as well. Try to find a plant-based shaving foam with natural elements. Very often — if not always — using natural material and substances don’t only help the environment, but are ultimately also the better choice for your body. Check out Aveda’s Pure-formance shave cream for inspiration.