Life Insurance

I just wrote an email summarizing my experience thus far with attempting to get life insurance, so I figured I’d also toss it up here.  I wrote this email to a regional advocacy group, seeking advice in case they have seen experiences like this before.  I first wrote about this issue back when it happened in the beginning of 2012.



I was wondering if you have had any experiences with transgendered persons being denied for life insurance for reasons related to their transition?  

I transitioned female to male in 2009-2010.  During my transition I completed a MS in physical chemistry and began teaching college-level science and technology courses full time.  I saw a therapist regularly for nearly 2 years and participated in a FTM support group at the <place I’m not mentioning>.  There were no complications from my top surgery and I am physically fit.

I applied for life insurance in October 2011.  After a delay, State Farm’s underwriters denied my contract in December 2011 for the following reasons:

– I was within 1 year of my top surgery (January 2011)

– I had mentioned in therapy sessions that I might be getting a hysterectomy in the future

– My initial gender identity disorder diagnosis was accompanied by a mild depression diagnosis, which gave them cause for concern of a “suicide risk”.  This diagnosis was removed by my therapist when I began hormones in March 2010 and was able to function fully.

– They were concerned I was not “well adjusted” or “functioning normally”.

I have decided that I do not desire a hysterectomy and am attempting to clarify their other items of contention.  I had an appointment with another therapist at the <place I’m not going to mention> recently in an effort to show that I continue to “function normally”.  I am concerned, however, that the underwriters may still pick and choose details from my medical file.  

It took some time to get back to trying to get life insurance because it is so frustrating that I did nothing but help myself become mentally healthier for 2 years and the insurance company is holding that against me.  As my wife and I continue our life together, it is important that I do have a life insurance policy.  

If you have any advice or resources that might be helpful that would be much appreciated.

I have my emotional energy back and am determined to get life insurance taken care of before my 28th birthday (October this year).

I’m approaching 5 years on T this spring and with the shift in my administration method from shots to pellets, I’ve been paying attention to the effects of testosterone.

While it took a few months to really get going, testosterone did significantly change my voice. That said, I just don’t have the general mindset that I need to constantly use the lower range of my voice that many guys (cis and trans). That’s not to say I don’t love it when my voice is lower and has the slight rumble, I just have more trouble consistently using it on longer days.

Life is Continuous (4)

Another GOTE (goals obstacles tactics expectations) for the next year, because I really appreciate both looking forward and backward as the year flips.

For the next calendar year:


1) Take at least 1 SQL certification test.  I live and breathe in SQL every day but haven’t taken the time to dig into a certification.

2) Finish paying off student loans.

3) Join the 800(lb) club for squat/deadlift/bench.

4) Become a better listener and be more considerate of my wife.


1) Time seems to be very limited outside of work for extra computer time.

2) Stuff always comes up and eats into the money I should put towards the loans.

3) Potential injury when training and stalling on lift progression.

4) Letting less-important things get in the way.


1) Have the certification be sponsored by work to add accountability.

2) Set aside minimal (near-zero) money for extra fun until the loans are done.

3) Posting form videos for feedback and sticking to programs for at least 3 months at a time.

4) Setting aside time every day to focus on her and being willing to do that on her schedule.


1) Take the test in August.

2) Pay off the loans by the end of June.

3) 300lb squat during the summer.

4) Feel more in tune with her perspective so when she explains something to me I’m not as clueless.

Looking back 2 years to 2012:


1. Credit card debt eliminated by trip to NYC, above minimum payments on student loans post-trip.

My credit score is excellent and I have been making significant payments towards my student loans. Success!

2. Multiple home run season, OBP around 0.750.

I hit more home runs the next year, but this last year was a bit off.  I was out of shape and out of gas.  At the end of the season I tore soft tissue in my hand and had to sit out a few wees.

3. At least 6-8 meetings during the year with 5-10 members.

Not even close, didn’t even form the group.  The area FTM gathering, (aka “boys night”) is restarting this January and I’m excited to attend.

4. Raise based on positive performance reviews in 2012/2013.

I completely changed jobs from teaching to IT, became a developer, and now run an IT department for a strong small business.

Testopel Testosterone Pellets

The doctor I see for almost all medical care, including T, has always been very open to discussing alternative forms of testosterone to injections. Namely androgel, but pellets have also been mentioned. In the past I have passed on the pellets because of the significant cost increase and shots had been going just fine.

However, after about 4 years on T, it became increasingly difficult to insert the needle into my thigh muscle without significant pain. I might be overly sensitive, and I’m certainly too lazy to look into injecting into a different muscle. Because I lost resolve to do my injections with good regularity, I sought out alternatives.

The cost of pellets runs over $1000 after the insurance company negotiates the price down. Because of high deductible health plans, I am eligible to put away money pre-tax out of every paycheck into a health designated account (HSA). While the $1200 each set of pellet implants (3 times a year) is steep, once I get around to setting aside the money regularly from my paycheck it will essentially be more like paying $600 each time.

So, how are pellets? They’re an alternative to regular injections, with significantly more convenience and level hormones for a good portion of the cycle. The cycle lasts 4 months, and in my first cycle the ramping up feeling from testosterone leveled off about 3 weeks in and felt steady until about 3-4 weeks before the end of the cycle.

The pellet implantation procedure was nearly painless thanks to local anesthesia. The aftermath of the procedure was an annoying 24 hours of severe tenderness and a very large bruise that lasted well into a week. The pellets are inserted through a small incision that is closed with a bandage, no stitches required.

For the first week following the implantation of the pellets, it is advised to avoid heavy lifting as you do have a huge bruise on your backside and the pellets seem to be settling in. After about a week of healing, I was able to resume normal activities. This meant that I was able to do plenty of squats etc for the first time in a very long time since I wasn’t dreading an upcoming testosterone injection. Major bonus.

My next implantation is in the first week of January. Knowing more of what to expect, I am both dreading the implantation a little but also completely happy to have made the switch from injections. I haven’t had to deal with a needle in over 3 months! I haven’t had to make sure I have enough testosterone in my vial or syringes in my bathroom. I schedule the next implantation procedure each time I have one, and the cycle continues.

As I mentioned, the cost of pellets is significant and is higher than what injectable testosterone costed me. I a fortunate to have a job and enough financial flexibility to be able to dedicate some of my funds to this. I feel it is absolutely worth it.

Five Years In

It was resolved 5 years ago that I would begin the new year living “full time” as a male, but truth be told I had been operating as a guy for quite some time.

Five years is a good chunk of time. In the 65(!) unpublished posts I have saved in wordpress, one of them is titled “Post Transition?”.  I discussed some feelings of being past the transition in many ways, having achieved my main goal of top surgery and after a few years of T having experienced most of the symptoms.  Life was getting much bigger than the emotions and feelings of dysphoria, depression, and helpless struggle.  I chuckle now that I wrote that post over 2.5 years ago.

I was nervous then that the transition would fade off into distant memory and I would lose connection with the good times on the front end of my transition (and during my transition).  I suppose with effort, I could let that happen, but it hasn’t happened organically.


The more comfortable I get with having transitioned and being on this side, the more connected I am to my entire life.  It’s multi-faceted, a mixture of slight discomfort with rationalizing my experiences for others, guilt being priviledged to experience a survivable transition, and curiousity for how intertwined all experiences I have are.

Despite having a wonderfully sapphic wife, my queer life is extremely heterosexual and lacks diversity of many kinds.  I work for a company in an industry where certain ethnicities generally hold different roles in an office where we have 5 women and 50 men.  Being introverted, it has been my choice to withdraw from many social events, including most that link me to the GLBT* community.  My transition isn’t a topic of conversation, almost ever.  Only at home and on other rare occasions is my pre-transition life included in discussion.  I don’t need to talk about my experiences injecting testosterone, but I need to talk about growing up as the oldest of 4 sisters.  I don’t need to talk about the strategies I employed for binding, but I need to talk about being a small girl trying to play soccer with mostly boys in grade school.  I’m slowly trying to establish more relationships in my day-to-day life where these things can be understood, but it’s a slow road.

Life has gotten to be so grand.  The middle-class life I had growing up led me to college, which through hard work and parental support led me to graduate school, which through hard work led me to a few good jobs.  My current job is an 8-5 job that lets me have evenings and weekends for enjoying the rest of the fun life has to offer.   I’m sure the rest of the things that life has to offer will continue to intertwine with my transition.


I’m Still Here

I’m still queer. (I’m still here)

It’s been years now, since top surgery and starting testosterone. I don’t have the chance to regularly blog, but I do try to get back to everyone who emails me about my experiences.

Lately I’ve been working hard – I run the IT department for a medium sized business in the Twin Cities. I find work exciting and almost always interesting. I’m continuing to work through some of the changes in the way I process information with what I feel like is actual improvement in the last year. I still struggle to remember as many little things as I thought I used to, though honestly I’m not certain what I could handle before. I put energy into keeping all those balls in the air instead of putting energy into not being quite as introverted outside of work. I’m sure many people think that I’m a strange character for having so little social interaction, but it helps me feel more focused.

I’m much more comfortable with groups of people and communicating confidently with them now. I’ve played on 5 different softball teams, and each one of them have handled me slightly different, and vice versa. It doesn’t take as much out of me now.

My wife and I are thinking about starting a family in the next year. It’s certainly not a straight forward road, but beyond being logistically confusing, it’s also emotionally unclear. First things first, I’m ecstatic to potentially have children with my wife. My conflicting feelings are about having children who are biologically related to my wife and not biologically related to me when it would appear on the surface that they should be related to me. More about this later, it’s still all very fresh.

It’s been 3 years and 9 months and some-odd days since my first injection of testosterone.

I don’t really look forward to my next injection of testosterone each week.  I’m not sure if I take the transformation for granted (I probably don’t, because I wouldn’t dare skip a shot), or if I just dred the pain associated with the 23g needle stick in my thigh.

There are a variety of methods for testosterone administration, the main 2 being injections and gel.  The only other option I have seen utilized in the trans* community is subQ pellets.  Gel administration, daily with a 15(?) minute waiting period after application doesn’t seem like a reasonable substitution for the 10 minute dredded needle stick. Beyond not being able to shower or cover the area with clothing within a short period of time following the application of gel, you also cannot come into contact with other creatures.  The only time I wouldn’t cover myself up or shower would be to enjoy contact with my wife.  So no, not likely to be able to work the gel in.

I’m at the point, professionally, where the costs I could barely handle at the beginning of my transition (copays for every mental health visit, testosterone, surgery) seem much less of a worry now.  Maybe it’s because the bulk of them are behind me (except testosterone on a 6-month basis), but it’s probably because my income is both significantly higher and more stable.  I’ve been working in the professional world for 2 years since graduating with my masters degree and have a position with a growing company that has me reporting to top-level management.  Long paragraph drawing to a close, I’d like to look into pellets.


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