So first of all, I finally found the time to finish, “The Gender Outlaw” book and was very pleased with everything the person in it had to say. I have been struggling with having to “choose” for the past 2 years. I have also become pretty active about reading and researching more of the emotional/psychological side of transitioning. I will say that I don’t want to CHOOSE a gender and frankly I feel like people should not assume what my gender to be when they meet me. BUT I also know that I can’t change the world and often radical ideas and social changes are brought on by radical changes and people. So anyway I do struggle daily in the world – because all people assume I am female – mainly because I am overweight, have large boobs, and my voice sounds like what they define as female. This fact drives me crazy and frankly I find it offensive and annoying – which is why, from my understanding, why many transgender people choose to alter their bodies. I think the part I don’t like about the people “altering” their bodies is that many of them, especially FTMs, just disappear into the distance – ashamed of their vagina – and doing all they can to hide it. Recently, I have been paying more attention to Buck Angel and Ian Harvie. They have both inspired me, not only to work on body building in order to look more masculine but to even consider taking hormones. Let me offer you a little background about me.
7 years ago I met 2 FTM people. One of them I assumed had a penis until he informed me otherwise, and he did so in private. We were part of a large community and I was just beginning to question gender and explore the transgendered world. The passing transitioned FTM was a great guy and I love him dearly – but I found that he would barely talk about being transgendered and wouldn’t allow me to see him totally naked, even though he would engage with me sexually. He was also ashamed of his vagina and live a very secret, closeted, and private life. No one knew he was FTM unless you were considering going to bed with him. Then there was another FTM – that I met in this same community – when I met him he wasn’t on T and he certainly had huge breasts. He at least was open enough to talk about the process of transitioning and even welcomed me to talk more about it with him. When we had a sexual encounter I found that again – he was incredibly ashamed of his vagina, on or off Testosterone… Neither of them will do penetration or even oral!! These sexual facts were enough for me to step back and question AGAIN if I was transgendered at all – I don’t identify with this shame or hatred of my genitalia! THEN how do you bring this up with others without embarrassing them into a closet? Anyway as time passed I would meet more and more transmen that ALL preferred anal sex over vagina sex, and frankly preferred if you didn’t touch their genitalia at all!!
Ok, so I am a sexual person and frankly I just can’t imagine getting rid of my vagina! Even if there was surgery, as good as the MTF genitalia surgery I WOULD NOT do it. But as I looked at pictures of Buck Angel NAKED I was very attracted to his “cunt” as he calls it! What he had was EXACTLY what I identify with and I immediately began to question my choices about transitioning. And Now that I am watching and listening to what Buck and Ian have to say about transitioning, gender, and sexuality – I am again considering transitioning.
For certain though, for now… I am losing 2lbs a week in order to slim down and hopefully help my body appear more masculine. I am bodybuilding and doing cardio…
Also, I am waiting to start my nursing training so that I can begin that, so either way I have no way to financially afford to transition… but in the meantime I can lose weight, body build, and consider my options…
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I think it’s a mistake to assume most or all trans people who transition do so because of other people’s perceptions of their bodies. Sure, some people alter their bodies to meet other people’s expectations, but go read Lisa Harney’s “Pain” at Questioning Transphobia. For many trans people, body dysphoria is a constant, daily pain of some sort or another, and transitioning merely alleviates some of that. I think the shame people feel can be complex or, for some, even entirely social, but it’s quite possible the trans guys you talk about would want to avoid the painful reminder of their wrong anatomy even if there were absolutely no social implications (and, in fact, when they’re having sex with someone they trust to appropriately gender them, it seems pretty close to that situation). Not having that body dysphoria doesn’t make you or I any less trans, but it’s a huge mistake to misunderstand and misrepresent transpeople who do, who’d need to change their bodies even if our society had no concept of gender.
But again this leads us back to the main point of my mentors that I have mentioned. Buck Angel explains it the best in that my genitalia has zero to do with my gender and in fact it is simply just my sexual parts. I know there are all sorts of dysphoria and discomfort, but I think most of it is influenced by our culture. Simply because we have tied genitalia to gender, just like you have even in your post. I think I will try to expand on this in a future blog post in order to show the “way over here outside the box” POV that I am taking. AND be sure that a blog is a personal view point of the world, that’s its beauty. I am in no way capable or even trying to represent all transpeople… I just am showing my POV of transpeople. My experiences, my analyzation of our culture and how transpeople live within it and how we are effected by it.
At Adair I think I have had this conversation so many times as to is the root cause social or not. What I should have said is that “most trans people I have met” would have been a better word useage. I apologize for not being that clear in my post. Nothing is for everyone or blankets anything because people are all different. Its just that when I was first on the early part of my transition I asked a lot of questions about what we would do in other societies, just to be sure I wasn’t doing it for social reasons. But time and time again me and another transperson found that the shame was socially based, not that it limits it at all. Frankly we do a LOT of things socially…we eat a certain way for social reasons, we walk, we talk, we even have certain body languages…and so on. Social pressures can lead us to suicide, self hatred, and some really dark places. Bullies have showed us the biggest horrors in our world as we watch our children kill each other over it. Social pressures are extreme in most cultures around the world. In fact lessoning the impact of our social constructs would be foolish. I believe trans people are special people…the ones that choose to transition are leading a path, they are showing that with just a hormone and a simple surgery someone is perceived differently. They also usually, in my experience of many trans friends, break huge holes in gender roles. I believe they are a large impact on our culture as much as a drag king/queen, as a gender queer, and as a super femme lesbian. I believe we all play a role and its really just about what hat you are wearing.
I am totally aware of the genitalia issues and it still seems to come from social bull shit drilled into their heads as a child, its sad really. I certainly also suffer from genitalia dysphoria of sorts, but I try to embrace it as flexible talent (cause I can be he, she, or both at any time) rather than a handicap. I am just treating it differently. I have some of the same and similar symptoms, but I believe that the need to take hormones and risk losing sexual pleasure are an extreme side effect of our culture. Not that they have these issues, but rather the ANSWER to the solution. Although right NOW its the ONLY dam answer for many of us and those that choose to take that road I totally support their decision and love them deeply.
I have numerous very close trans friends and I totally honor their journey as much as mine. Mine is different then theirs, one is not better or worse than the other. Simply, its our PERSONAL journey – and each one of us is unique.
I have also discussed that I think transpeople that are raised as their preferred gender would have different bodies naturally. Native cultures talk about late entering boys and girls in both directions that showed signs of body modifications. For instance a young girl that suddenly starts hunting, lifting heavy things, and other masculine tasks will (over a period of time) begin to look masculine. I believe in the power of the brain and I am in the middle of proving it to be true, at least for me. Someday I will post a girl picture of me, but I want to wait till I am done. Unfortunately its taking me a LONG TIME….But what I am saying is that if transpeople were raised more like the kids that go to Camp Aranu’Tiq then their bodies would be less disturbing to them and there would be no social pressure. I also believe in the power of the brain in that if you try hard enough you can make your brain create more testosterone by simple food choices, activities, level of activity, and sex. I also believe some of us have more than others naturally…I don’t believe modern medicine has all the answers. I think they are wrong about a lot of hormones, like they have been in the past.
I encourage you to continue this discussion, I love to hear your thoughts about this stuff. My favorite discussion is gender.