Whether you're just starting out on your transition, or have been at it for a while, there are always ways to make your journey smoother. We've compiled a list of 10 FTM Essentials every trans guy needs to make sure you're ready for all the ups and downs your transition with take you on!
1. Self-care products
This 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 — physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are numerous ways to do this. From taking long soothing baths and 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 our immune system! As an added bonus, 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! It's very durable, meaning it could last you a lifetime (provided you care for it properly). It also has ink-proof paper, meaning you won't see what you have written on the other side of the page, so you can make the most of the space you have. You can even use watercolor paints if you want to! There are built-in index and numbered pages, so you can quickly find what you're looking for later.
2. Emotional support
We think emotional support should is an essential for everyone. Whether you are going through an FTM transition, MTF transition, or dealing with life in general, everything is a lot less heavy if you have a solid support system. This can be in the form of friends and family, but there are always new groups you can join where you can find the support you need, both online and offline.
For a lot of people, a transition means feelings of and loneliness and alienation. Even if your friends and family support you, they might not always understand what you are going through. That being said, it's important to remember that you're not alone. Nowadays, you can always find groups of people that can relate to your experiences and support you online!
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!
For a lot of trans guys, the first step in the transition process is social transition in which you actively adopt express your gender identity. This can include coming out, changing your name, changing your pronouns, and changing the way you dress! For many guys, socially transitioning means getting a new wardrobe and the rediscovering your 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 top for hot summer days. Especially if you are wearing a binder, it will help you stay cool — literally and figuratively. 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 really distressing when people refer to you with the wrong pronoun, but remember - people rarely do it with malicious intent. That being said, it's okay to feel distressed or frustrated when this does happen. At Paxsies, we find that educating them is more effective than demonizing them.
A great way of doing that is pronoun pins. This works really well for non-binary people as well. Trans people are becoming more visible in every day life, and it's amazing to see people coming out and becoming their authentic selves! Still, society is a stubborn thing, and change doesn't happen overnight. Pronoun pins can be found widely on the internet, but if you want something unique and handmade, we recommend you check out Etsy.
5. Chest binders
For many trans guys, one of the most pressing sources of dysphoria is their chest. Using a chest binder is a life-changing experience for many , and is often a significant step toward bringing out the person they really are. However, binding should be done safely, and we don’t recommend creating DIY binder from tape or bandages! Besides being very uncomfortable, it can cause serious and irreversible injury.
Fortunately, there are already many brands that provide safe options for people who wish to bind. It's important to remember that binding is never completely risk-free. We recommend binding for a maximum of 6-8 hours a day. This should be sufficient for a school or work day. If you want to know more about binding, check out our article on binding here.
6. FTM All-in-one Packing Boxers
Packing is another excellent way to help you express yourself in your new gender role. You can make your own DIY packer, and if you're not the DIY type, there are many packing options available to you. Paxsies offers the only all-in-one packing solution! These boxers have a firm removable foam packer that can easily be washed. It is lightweight and creates a very natural-looking bulge (and they're stylish, to boot).
Because your packer is secured in your underwear, you can use it during exercise as well, whether you're running, doing yoga, or even swimming! You can feel comfortable and secure in any situation (and you don't have to worry about your packer going rogue)! 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 reliable 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 recommend you 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 starting hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. For a lot of trans guys, this is an important part of their transition. That being said, remember that you are handling and carrying delicate equipment that may break or even cause injury! This obviously holds true for anyone 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 FTM essential. We recommend having a hard case shot kit, that way you are absolutely sure your T remains safe and secure, especially during travel.
9. Pantothenic acid/ Vitamin B5
For many trans guys, an unwanted side effect of the testosterone shots is acne. Which makes sense, because the FTM medical transition is often seen as a second puberty. There are various ways to treat acne, but many swear by vitamin B5 supplements, which reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks on the face. It's also known under the names Anti-dermatitis vitamin, Calcium-pantothenate, D-pantothenic acid, Dexpanthenol, Pantethine, and Pantothenate.
Apart from the benefit of acne reduction, vitamin B5 has many other health benefits and is an essential nutrient for the body. Taking supplements has some benefits, but results backed up by studies include accelerated wound healing, reduction of stress and anxiety, immune system boosts, and the stimulation of physical growth. It's widely available in powder, capsule, and tablet form. 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, where you only swap the razor blades as opposed to the whole razor head. You’ll end up saving a lot of money in the long run (and they're classy). Some other types of razors actually shave too close to the skin (or even under 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 ingredients. Using natural ingredients doesn't only help the environment, but are ultimately also better for your body. Check out Aveda’s Pure-formance shave cream for an example of a shaving cream with natural ingredients.