Birth control is generally marketed and designed for women, but they’re not the only ones using it. We reached out to transgender men, nonbinary and genderqueer people for their experiences and advice.
“Birth control made it possible for me to enjoy sexual encounters”
I use the pill, I've been on it for half a year now. Initially I mainly took it to stop menstrual bleeding. Actually I tried to avoid going on the pill, I viewed it as something feminine that required me to visit a gynecologist, and that was hard to get over. Menstruation was a huge factor in my dysphoria, and stopping the bleeding helped me to forget that I have a uterus at all. Another reason I'm on it is that I'm a gay trans man, so I just want be on the safe side when it comes to pregnancy (one of my biggest fears). It works well enough. I don't bleed, yet I still suffer from PMS-like side effects and chest pains. Also I'm not a fan of taking additional “female” hormones, for quite obvious reasons.
My advice about hormonal birth control: Don't take the choice too lightly, and consider the side effects. Though for dysphoric trans masculine individuals it can be a good way to minimize dysphoria until they can get on testosterone. Always listen to your doctor folks, and don't shy away from questions. Birth control made it possible for me to enjoy sexual encounters without freaking out completely in the aftermath. Not being forced to buy menstrual hygiene products has been a great relief also.
—Aiden H, gay, trans man, 23, Germany
“The pill helps me avoid dysphoria”
I’ve been using TriNessa birth control pills for 5 years to lighten my periods and make them more manageable. I’m nonbinary and having heavy periods (bringing attention to my body) can give me dysphoria. My experience has been good, i have considered changing to one of the 3 year implants because I’d like my period to be light as possible, but I've avoided it because it’s invasive. My advice? Research the effects it may have on your hormones, and keep in contact with your doctor.
—Charlie, bisexual/demisexual, nonbinary femme, 22, Wisconsin, USA
“I wanted birth control without estrogen”
I use a copper IUD (without hormones) and have done for two years or so now. As an AFAB (assigned female at birth) genderqueer person I didn't want any additional estrogen! I'd previously been on the pill and had very bad experiences—it led to me gaining weight, making me feel dysphoric and depressed, coupled with an increase in my anxiety.
My advice? Do as much research into different kinds of birth control as you can to make sure you've found what's right for you. Don't just go with the easiest option.
—India, bisexual, genderqueer, 20, Bath, UK
“It’s crucial to find a doctor you can trust”
I've been using the pill for four months. I wanted to have artificial, more manageable cycles so I wouldn't have periods at all anymore. I'm nonbinary, and periods and the possibility of pregnancy were really dysphoria-inducing. I feel more at peace in my body now that I don't have to worry about it anymore. Fortunately, the first pill I tried was a good match for me and I haven't experienced any unwanted side effects yet. My periods have stopped completely, I haven't put on weight and my libido hasn't changed.
I have a long medical history and finding a good, non-judging doctor I feel comfortable with has always been tedious. It is crucial to find one you can absolutely trust with things regarding your sexual orientation and/or gender, so you can talk about your reproductive health effectively.
—Cam, bi, agender, 25, Nantes, France
“I use an implant to stop my periods”
I use birth control to stop my periods because I am a transgender male and periods make me very dysphoric. I got Implanon inserted 6 months ago and my experience has been pretty successful, although it took awhile for my periods to stop. I basically forgot about it after a while to be honest.
—Anonymous, asexual, male, 16, Ireland
“The thought of being pregnant was giving me nightmares”
I had a tubal ligation done about a year ago. I am a bi transmasculine person. Before I had the procedure, my fertility (the thought of being pregnant) was giving me reoccurring nightmares. I was limiting my sexual encounters out of fear of pregnancy. I’ve never tried any other form of birth control besides condoms and my tubal ligation. After having the surgery I have so much less anxiety around sex. I still use condoms to protect myself from STIs but I’m not paranoid about them breaking. The recovery was so easy for me, way easier than top surgery.
—Parker, bi/queer, nonbinary transmasculine, 23, North Texas, USA
“I wanted a birth control I could use while on T”
I’m on the IUD to lessen—or hopefully eliminate—my periods even before starting testosterone (T). I chose the IUD because I wanted a birth control I could use while on T in the future, that I wouldn’t have to think about often. My experience has been a little rocky so far, as is often the case with early months of IUDs. But I think my shark week (menstrual bleeding) may finally be calming down so fingers crossed. My advice? Do your research; there aren’t any wrong answers. I wish there was more information out there about what the first months of having an IUD are like.
—Anonymous, queer/gay, trans masculine nonbinary, 26
“No pain, no pregnancy, no periods”
I’ve been taking an oral combined contraceptive pill (Lucette/Yasmin) for around 6 years. I’m an AFAB trans/non-binary person, and I use birth control to stop myself having periods. Periods for me can be debilitatingly painful and cause gender dysphoria.
My experience with my current pill has been excellent—no undesirable side effects. I was previously on the Nexplanon implant as I was in a relationship with a cis man and Nexplanon has no risk of human error, but I had some issues with irregular bleeding on that, so I started taking a combined pill (recommended by my doctor) to mitigate that. When I left that relationship and entered a new one with a trans male, I had my Nexplanon removed because I no longer had any risk of getting pregnant, but stayed on the pill as it allows me to skip the seven day break between packs and have no periods.
You don't need to be a straight woman dating a cis man to want birth control. You don't need to be having sex with someone with a penis to be able to access birth control, and any doctor who tells you otherwise is misinformed.
—Anonymous, queer/pansexual, nonbinary, 21, United Kingdom
Use Clue to track your birth control, symptoms, and period, and get reminders to help you be prepared.