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My Ignorant Blog Post About Trans Issues (MIBPATI) #3 of 6


Hello trans people? Here's how to talk to a non-trans person.

Don't. Or do it with a huge level of cynicism.

You will never make us understand. You say things like "gender and
orientation aren't the same thing" and we don't understand. We're still
stuck on the idea that "men and men, and women are women".

This is because you've read Pat Califia, Michel Foucalt, Susan Sontag, and
Erica Jong. Maybe you have a Masters in Queer Studies and wrote your
thesis on something like "A Hagiography of Ontological Semantics in 18th
Century Metaphysical Gender Identities".

We have no idea what you're talking about.

What do you mean that sexual identity is different that sexual expression?
Being transgender and being transsexual aren't the same thing?
I think any attempt at explanation or education is doomed from the start.
We smile and nod politely, then go back to wondering if you have a penis.

If you are reading this and you are not trans... this means that you will
NEVER win an argument about gender with a trans person.
So don't even try. They know more and have thought more about the topic
than you ever will. Give up now.

If I was trans and wanted to have a discussion with a non-trans person, I
think I would start with:

"You know I'm trans, right?"

There it is, right on the table. The non-trans person will smile and nod
and say, "Oh, sure. Right. I knew all along."

In reality, they probably had no clue. But my little formulation above
lets the non-trans person in on a Big Secret, and lets them know that it's
not a Big Secret at all... that the trans person is still their friend,
and the two of them are having a friendly discussion about something that
both of them already knew.

In reality, the head of the non-trans person is exploding, and they have a
million questions. They probably feel stupid, like they should have known.
They should have seen the signs. Didn't you mention having a partner? That
should have been a dead giveaway! And then last summer when you went on a
bike ride! Don't transmen love to ride motorcycles? Or is that just
lesbians? And I think I saw a penis in their jeans!

Shit. Now we're thinking about your genitalia. Because people suck.
It's human nature. If a woman tells me that she had breast reduction
surgery, I HAVE to look down at her breasts. If I'm polite, I will grit my
teeth and struggle to maintain eye contact. But at the first opportunity,
I want to look down and decide for myself... how big are they now?
How big do you think they were? I wonder what that must have felt like.

If you were a straight man and said you were shot in the groin, I would
start wondering if anything got blown off. People in wheelchairs are asked
if they have any sensation "below the waist" but we all know what the
questioner is asking. Human beings are sexual creatures, and we want to
know about other people's junk. Even if we're too polite to talk about it,
that's what we're wondering.

Maybe after coming out as trans, you should follow it up with something
like, "But I still have a penis." Because unspoken or not, that's what
we're thinking. But then, we'll be wondering why you haven't had surgery
yet, so that's not a good solution, either. So please ignore any advice
I’m giving here.

To be charitable, non-trans people aren't really nosy... they don't really
care if you are sexually active or not. They're just trying to make
conversation, and if they've never talked to a trans person before, they
pretty much only have two questions: are you a man or a woman? And do you
have a dick. That's the complete extent of everything they've thought
about the topic, and after those two questions are covered, they are
intellectually spent.

Maybe you could throw the non-trans person a bone and say, "Could you
tell?" Because that's probably their next thought. Because you know that
none of this has to do with YOU. To a non-trans person your coming out,
your transitioning, your identity has everything to do with THEM. How you
will affect their workplace, their family, their kids. Unless you are a
close friend or relative to them, they don't really care. You are just an
anecdote to them... a little story they can share with their husband of
wife later. "Guess who I ran into today? And guess what I found out?"

I'm being deliberately flip here. I apologize if I'm trying to be funny
and failing horribly. I can imagine what it's like to be gossiped about...
to have your history and process of self-acceptance turned into an
anecdote. But  gay men are bitchy.  But unless you are coming out to
an easily-offended religious fundamentalist, I think to most
listeners, the fact you are trans is about as interesting as if you told
them you were Mormon, or into bingo, or have an artificial leg.
If they are religious, they will react as if you just told them you were a
Satanist or a shoplifter. But to everyone else, it's a personality quirk and
nothing more.

People don't care. And in return, I think most transpeople don't care what
people think either. That's a fallacy of the majority: for example,
straight people think that Proposition 8 was about the gay community
asking for acceptance. Nothing could be further from the truth. As long as
I get complete legal rights as a gay man, I couldn't care less what the
nosy neighbor down the block thinks of me.

I think one of the hallmarks of a civilized society is that we all have
strong opinions, but people don't really care what everyone else thinks,
and long as everyone acts with mutual respect and boundaries.
At least that's what I think... if that's ok.

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Well overall I think that some of your ideas are in line with the waywe think in our various cultures.

I personally feel comfortable talking about the gay community, the gay latino community, the leather community, the gay leather community and the gay latino leather community. These are all subcultures that I am part of... but I don't think that I can fully understand or can voice what the other communities are about. I can have intelligent conversations but will never fully understand a culture or subculture that I am not part of.

Perhaps my experience is not the norm, but every so often I run into people who really and honestly care. In fact, they can't stop blathering on about my transition. In my case, I find my trans status pretty goddamn boring. (I have been at this for almost a decade after all.) And I know I have much better anecdotes than what my name used to be and what the letter next to it used to be (and in some legalese places, still is).

i think it's funny that maybe the best way to get trans acceptance is to convince non-trans people that you are *boring*. Hey! Come over and watch a trans person eat dinner and watch tv! Heck, even see a trans person shower... yeah, when they blink the morning sleep out of their eyes and accidentally drop the shampoo they look totally unique! {grin}

My new favorite hobby is making up nonsequitur causes for my chest surgery scars. "Why yes, it's funny you should ask...I had an accident while juggling chainsaws." or... (says in a whisper) Chestburster... *shudder*

I'm told our bilateral surgical scars look identical to lung transplant scars. Some nurses in my leather family think this makes a great humbler of a comeback to the question "What's that?"

I once told a guy that they were from a double masectomy and his very earnest reply was, "but if you don't loose the weight then they are just going to come back!"

An anecdote of trans rejection: At The Pittsburgh Eagle during the Mr. Pittsburgh Eagle Contest, I was cruised hard for over an hour by a smallish furry pleasingly red-neck looking guy. Finally he approaches and confesses great attraction and desire. Do I fist, he asks. Yes. I am a longtime fister. The red hanky hanging out of my left rear pocket is authentic. Care to take him home right now and have him? No. But, I am willing to exchange email addresses or phone numbers toward a fisting date on another night. And by the way, I am a transguy, just in case that effects your desire. "What's that?" I am female to male. He asks, "Does that mean you feel like a woman in your head?" No. Quite the opposite, I started female and transitioned to male. "Do you have a cock?" He asks. My answer, "Thought you were looking to get fisted. You obviously already eyed up my hands and are quite hopeful of my making good use of you with them. What do you care what is in my jeans?" Uhh, never mind. And he walks away.

I got over it and was feeling pretty good about what I had lined up next anyway, then a club brother came over and asked how I was doing. I said, that guy right over there wanted a fisting date, found out I was trans, and ran the other way. My brother says, "Can't really blame him if he isn't interested in rubber, Dude."

Some people were looking for submissions to an anthology called The Body as a Site of Discrimination, and I wish the deadline weren't over because I would have loved to pass it around to get more input from transguys within the gay male scene.

Sad story about the Eagle, Sir. Especially as a slave, i never think i have a right to the Master's private parts. So, i am happy serving any gender. Of course, i can hope i'd get to please the Master someday by "going there" - but it's not for me to say.

"Can't really blame him if he isn't interested in rubber, Dude."

i'm into rubber. But i also love it when rubber is into *me*.

Greetings, just going to dip my furry toe in the pool.

I don't disclose on all occasions. If there's no compatibility (i.e. we're both looking to top or he wants to gag on 10 inches), then there's no point getting bogged down in conversation when there are other pickin's and I'm on the prowl.

If it looks like it could get hot and heavy, I never say "I'm trans" when coming out because my experience has been a rather quizzical look, followed by some pretty decent conversation, inevitably followed by:

Him: "Dude, I hate to tell you this, but I need to be honest"
Me: "mmhmm" waiting for a thanks but no thanks
Him: "You're going to spend a fortune in electrolysis and . . . um . . . err . . .your going to make an ugly woman".
Me: typically shooting beer or soda or some other liquid I've been drinking through my nose as I try not to choke while laughing my ass off.

Here's a prime example of a true life experience

I also avoid saying "female to male" because it tends to conjure an image of who I never was (i.e. feminine).

I've been on hormones for more than 18 years. Learning the rules of engagement when it came to cruising in male space was a little challenging at first. Those days are long gone. I can hold my own.

My scars are hidden by my fur and/or tattoos. I stopped "packing" years ago simply because I got tired of it. I don't worry about getting groped. I've learned that there are substantially more than a handful of guys who have preferences between sucking dicks and fucking dicks. Some guys want to suck dick and not worry about their gag reflex. Cool, I'm comfortable with the full mouthful that I have.

The gender 101 conversation can get old or be rather entertaining. If someone says no, I just see that as an opportunity for someone else to say yes. And frankly, there's not much worse than bad sex. The mutual respect and boundaries that you mentioned are all I'm really looking for . . . well . . . that's not true. That and a hot mouth or a sweaty romp or whatever we happen to negotiate.

Trans or non-trans the bottom line is you just have to figure out what works best for you then open your mouth to ask for what you want. As a dear friend says - if you wanna eat, ya hafta order.

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