Max Wolf Valerio crafts a raw, gripping, and poetic account of life before, during, and after injecting testosterone. Valerio’s detailed observations about a lesbian transitioning from female to a heterosexual male highlights the physical and emotional differences between women and men, and alternately challenges and confirms readers’ assumptions about gender.
Valerio presents his story in three parts: the height of his transition, in which he witnesses his own increased energy and sex drive while struggling with gaining confidence in his male self and bearing witness to his own demise as a woman; life before testosterone, when as Anita, a self-identified lesbian out for fourteen years, he confronts startling moments of awareness of a deeper, earlier dream of who he really is; and life after testosterone, when the experience of living in the world as a man is at once a homecoming and a confirmation that male behavior is at least partly rooted in biology.
The Testosterone Files addresses the most fundamental issues of transitioning, from buying men’s underwear to choosing a male name, as well as the profound subjects of male privilege, physical power, and existing as a male who was once distrustful and critical of men’s intentions. Valerio’s honest and forthcoming opinions on gender, identity, and self-perception comprise the core of this intensely personal and absorbing narrative which grapples with the tough and complex issues that emerge in a world whose assumptions about gender binaries are being increasingly challenged as more people openly self-define across the gender spectrum.