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Neither Male Nor Female: Why Some Nonbinary People Are ‘Microdosing' Hormones

Nonbinary advocates are calling for a broader definition of medical transition as more Americans identify outside the gender binary

At the end of June, Marisa Rivas went to the Los Angeles LGBT Center in West Hollywood to talk to a doctor about going on “low-dose” testosterone, known colloquially as “microdosing.” Rivas hopes to achieve a sharper jawline and a more androgynous physique without overtly masculine features like facial hair. The goal is an appearance that is not clearly male or female, NBC News reports.

“I still want to be somewhere in the middle,” Rivas said.

Hormone microdosing is of growing interest to some nonbinary people like Rivas who want to masculinize or feminize their bodies in subtle ways. There is little research on the technique’s prevalence, but doctors who treat transgender and nonbinary people say the medical community should consider the needs of those who want to change their bodies without medically transitioning fully to the opposite gender.

Not all nonbinary people seek medical transition, and it’s unclear how many do, since medical systems in the United States typically only track sex assigned at birth. But for those who want to move toward a more gender-neutral appearance, microdosing is an increasingly discussed option. Several YouTube videos describing the experience have received thousands of views.

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