This question has received a major rewrite and restructuring but is still the same original question.
- Please see this meta-post, where I asked for advice on how to refocus this question. While I have taken everything mentioned onboard, all edit choices are obviously mine.
- In the meta-post it was advised to focus on sex rather than gender.
- I decided to still use the term transgender.
- This was so that historical options, and previous answers are still relevant.
In the very far future, on a planet very far away...I have a human societal structure that, on the large part, accepts the concept of being transgender. As in several pre-modern Earth societies these transgender groups have been incorporated into society in various different ways to various different degrees of acceptance. It is in no way a Utopia, so for the purposes of this question, we can just assume no social or legal issues.
This society has the same knowledge as we do today including knowledge of genes/hormones/genetic traits/dna/chemistry/biology/pyschology/ even physics etc. However they are limited in that their technology is not as developed as ours. They are working on it, but physical infrastructure takes time to rebuild. At a push they could recreate ~1850 AD European Earth Tech.
Several of my characters wish for their body's sex-based characteristics to appear more like their opposite sex. They require various strong hormones (either synthetic or natural) as well as much weaker herbal supplements in order to change their outwards sexual appearance. However, would they even have access to these highly processed and synthetic drugs without modern technology and infrastructure?
If we knew in the past, what we know now, what strength of medicine could be made available?
- Modern medical techniques such as plastic surgery & sexual reconstruction are not available.
- they are limited to what changes they can bring about through drugs.
the changes they are after are about changing their 'superficial' physical appearance as much as possible to that of their desired sex. Such as:
- reducing or limiting menstruation and PMS side effects (this can be useful for all women who may also suffer from painful or irregular menstruation)
- increasing breast development or if started early enough, limiting breast development
- increasing/decreasing the appearance of the adams apple
- voice changes
- facial hair growth
- increased strength (steroids, which anyone could use), and even
- reducing the effects of menopause (which affect 100% of the population at some time or another) etc.
Would there be natural, or easily recreated, hormone replacement therapy supplements that they could take, if my characters wished to make these hormone-based sex changes?
- Note: the question is not about those particular examples but rather if we can create strong enough medication that could possibly affect those examples.
If this is not possible with today's knowledge, a well explained negative answer can be accepted. If this is possible, examples of good answers I am looking for would be focussed medically and on changing the human body's sexual characteristics.
The rest of the text is just some of my thoughts on the problem and is not necessary to be read, but I have kept as it may help.
I need to know how I can describe my characters, which is most definitely story-based. So I am trying to figure out what alternate medical options would be available to them, I am thinking mainly herbal. However, I do not know if herbal supplements would be strong enough to make such changes to the body. I doubt very much that it would be able to do anything close to what modern medicine can provide. I'm not so much looking for answers on if they should or would take this medicine. That would be an opinion and story-based answers.
Historical methods of how transgender people lived in the past are very useful but not exactly what I am after either. I am genuinely curious about taking our current medical knowledge of hormones and supplements and how the body works, into a historical setting. So for instance, if we didn't have modern equipment but still had the modern day knowledge of chemistry etc., could we partly/fully replicate the extraction, processing and concentration techniques that would be necessary to make use of natural hormone sources from various plant and animal products eg the horse urine of a pregnant mare that SudoSedWinifred mentioned in an earlier comment. I am assuming there is some pretty high precision machinery and chemistry involved.
Positive answers could (but don't have to be an exhaustive list) include methods of reducing/increasing the testosterone/estrogen and other related hormones, as well as mention how effective each solution could be. Probably not as completely as possible as in today's time but hopefully to some noticeable effect. Traditional practises of castration would be acceptable but I am hoping there are some non-invasive options available to reduce undesired hormones etc. For the most part, there are not many non-invasive options before the advent of modern medicine.
I used the pre-industrial tag purely to emphasise that the infrastructure level is lower than the knowledge base. Please limit any technology for any processing of medicine, to technology that could be created with a ~pre-1850 European infrastructure base.
I've edited further. Just incase.