Unlike most trans men, I never really suffered from a Napoleon complexion, feeling emasculated due to being short. (At least … not until I moved to Missoula.)
Because transsexual men are still born female, we’re genetically going to end up shorter than what’s “typical” for men. Unless we could get puberty blockers and otherwise be able to transition medically early on, we are predisposed to ending up at heights typical of other women.
Growing up in a state with a high immigrant population, I was able to avoid this “height dysphoria“. Many of the men I have met and interacted with in school, at church, at work were all shorter than the typical white American who was born and raised stateside. Even at a height of 5’5” (165 cm), while below the “average” or “desired” minimum height of 5’10”, I could be considered “average” for a typical New Jerseyan.
Local celebrities like Danny DeVito and Joe Pesci are my height or shorter. Big shots like Tom Cruise, same thing. There’s a whole list of them!
But I get it. Men’s jeans at most retail stores, especially big-box or discount retailers, don’t come with inseams for people with short legs. (I can sometimes find a 29” inseam, but those are rare, and often can only get one pair at a time. I just ordered 3 pairs from Carhartt online [not an affiliate link], all the same style, all 28” and fit me perfectly!) For curvier guys, they have to find widths based on their hips, not their waist—which can induce dysphoria; they also have to deal with a super baggy, sloppy look, or pay for tailoring, and most of us just can’t afford such a luxury! I have been grateful that I was not born with wide hips, and since adolescence (barring the two years living with my ex and undergoing conversion therapy) have been lucky to be able to find and wear men’s jeans that generally fit well. You also have the problem with packing; I choose not to, because it worsens dysphoria for me. Being overweight with a large labia covers up my lack of a penis.
As well with other clothing… Tees usually look big, baggy, and sloppy. Shoes and boots are usually too large (if not too wide), rarely getting below a men’s size 8. Blazers look too long and too big, or maybe too tight in the chest but too big on the waist; for me, wearing blazers means tucking in my stomach so it’s not tight around the stomach while not looking baggy on the chest. Long sleeves cover the majority of the hands. My “no-show” socks still stick out of my sneakers and work shoes. Jackets in the winter time are longer on us, which makes it harder to shovel. If you’re curvy (even if you’re binding), this further limits to finding clothing that can properly fit you.
I know how we all love the fact big hoodies can hide our curves and anything else that causes body dysphoria, but sometimes, sadly, you can’t wear those hoodies and sweatpants for some situations. 🙃
Not to mention how many things in life still center around men with that 5’10” height: reaching from the top shelf at home or a grocery store. Furniture where my feet don’t touch the floor. Room temperature (being shorter, thus smaller, makes you more prone to feeling colder, as you produce and retain less heat in the cold). The heights of standing desks that don’t readjust their heights. Countertops. Dating (which is further complicated being transsexial). Being stuck behind taller people at concerts and parades. People associating class, intelligence, sexiness, and career potential with height.
We still have our advantages. Looking younger compared to your peers (maybe not a plus when you are young, but at 35 I’m getting older, and will use every benefit I have to my advantage), and if you still have that student ID after graduating, the number of student discounts you can still get. Getting prime spots in group photos. Being able to still fit in ever-increasingly small airplane seats. It builds personality, character, resilience. People underestimate me. I can get into and under things that would be harder for my taller peers to enter, which is good when needing to fix furniture and other fixtures (which, after I lose the weight, will be far easier to do on my joints). I don’t have to worry as much about bumping my head into anything hanging off ceilings. I could easily sleep in a full-size or queen-sized bed when I move in with a future girlfriend, and I definitely can fit under blankets, even those light ones meant for the couch. I can fit more of my clothes into the laundry, thus fewer loads to wash. And if it’s something you don’t mind, you can shop the boys’ or teens section and save some money!
Probably the best advantage I have is when I hear other guys complain about their height—being transsexual—is being able to reply, “Hey, at least you’re not short at both ends!” 😝