My only suggestion is livejournal. There are a lot of communities for gay and queer trans men over there and they might know of places where you could meet other trans men interested in FTMs or you could maybe just meet some of those guys?
Anyone know of other sites?
I think this is actually a valid thing to consider. First of all, it is a misconception that it is impossible to find partners if you are trans. I haven’t had much difficulty (I don’t mean that in as dick of a was as it sonds) and don’t know many trans men that have. I know trans men with straight-identified girlfriends, trans men with queer-identified girlfriends, trans men with girlfriends who had never even thought about queer issues.
Now, there are straight women who will respond negatively to trans status. I won’t sugarcoat that. And there are lesbians who aren’t going to be interested in you as yr body masculinizes because they are attracted to women. But there are lots of women (and men actually, but I’ll still to women for now since that is who you are asking about) who are attracted to you for you and either don’t give a crap about what you were born with and may or may not continue to have, or can get used to it, or actually enjoy that as a part of you.
So I think yr fears are not something you actually need to worry too much about.
That said, I think part of deciding to transition is considering the impact of transitioning on yr life and whether those sacrifices are worth it. Medically transitioning is huge. Hell, socially transitioning is huge. I thought I could approach it as “no big deal” and quickly learned that wasn’t the case. It’s going to be a big deal. And you gotta accept the bad with the good and if you really can’t, then you should consider living without transition. This is a good conversation for therapy because you can be really open about all this and if you receive counseling with someone who has experience with trans populations, they can help you understand the realities and myths of transition (i.e. dating).
Good luck buddy
Amos Mac recently interviewed some non-trans guys who have been mistaken as trans men. (Read the interviews in full here.) There was one instance when one of these cis men was read as trans in a semi-sexual situation and the person who had mistaken him for trans was actually upset to learn that he wasn’t. I’m going to talk about that now and I’m going to throw a little warning out because it could be triggering (particularly for binary-identified FTMs and MTMs) for reasons I will discuss further on.
Here is an excerpt from Rico’s interview:
I don’t know, but it was like the queer bar or whatever so we were there. I was dancing with all these beautiful ladies and I was like, “Yay, they love me here in SF!” I was super excited, and one of them started like gettin’ all over me and I was like, “Alright, she’s hot, whatever, I’m into it.” We made out a little bit, then I went to get a drink at the bar. She came up behind me and grabbed my crotch. I looked at her and she turned PALE face white. She was like, “What are you doing here at DYKE NIGHT?” And I was like, “I didn’t know that was what night it was.” She got super offended even though I was the one who just got groped.
So I go to my trans friend and told him what happened and he was like, “It’s because they all assume you’re trans.”
This bothered me a lot. Trans men are men. Someone who is attracted to us should be attracted to us as men, otherwise they are not seeing us for who we truly are and are not affirming our identities. Along the same line of thought, it’s a little upsetting to me that the woman in this story would be so outraged that he was at “dyke night” though she was more than accepting (I’d say excited even) about a trans man being at dyke night. While I’m certainly (and obviously, given my writing for Autostraddle) open to discussions about where some trans men might fit in queer women’s spaces, depending on histories, motives, and identities of everyone involved, I would say that a club night is much more about pure attraction. And if this woman believes a cis man should not be at dyke night, I’d assume it’s because he is a man and what dyke would want a man… and a non-cis man should fit into that logic, as well.
I read this story as someone failing to see the maleness of a trans man or at least minimalizing it in the face of his female history and/or anatomy.
Which brings me to the other thing that bothered me about this story. When she groped him and assumedly felt his penis she immediately “knew” he wasn’t trans. There are a LOT of assumptions made (especially in queer circles) about FTM/MTM genitalia. A lot of trans men have penises, people. Some of them are packers, some are prosthetics, and some are the results of surgery. I recently met a young man who had bottom surgery when he was 18. Not all trans men lack dicks. This misunderstanding is becoming a growing pet peeve of mine.
AND if a man is trans, he may have bottom dysphoria and might not want to be touched (a good amount of pre-op trans men prefer to not have sexual contact like that) especially so early on into a “romance.” I mean, I think it is incredibly offensive to grope anyone like that and is actually sexual assault when consent so clearly has not been given. But it just adds insult to injury that she was doing this to someone whom she believed to be a non-/pre-op transgender man.
But back to my main issue with this story… this is not me saying that I disagree with a queer women’s ability/right to be attracted to a trans man and claim queer status. I even support a lesbian-identified woman claiming that label while being involved with a trans man as long as she is attracted to him as a man and he is okay with her identity (lesbian is often an important political and/or social identity, and I know lesbians who have had relationships with non-trans men and continued to identify as a lesbian)… that’s an issue of identity politics for someone else to debate. I don’t like to get bogged down with who has a “right” to certain labels.
This is also not me taking issue with people who may be particularly attracted to trans people. Or to the bodies of trans people in particular stages of transition (i.e. someone who is attracted to pre-T trans men because they like feminine men or someone who is attracted to transitioned non-op trans men because they like men but not penises, etc.). I’m actually really cool with that. And I don’t think this story is an example of that. This is a woman who based upon her defensiveness about dyke night identifies as a lover of women. She was attracted to a man based on his trans status because she saw it as making him less of a man.
Which it doesn’t.
I’ve debated for a long time putting my trans status on my OKCupid dating profile (yes, I’ve got one - I’m told lots of cool people do, okay…). As a non- or pre-op trans guy, it is important that I tell my romantic partners at some point previous to a physical encounter, so disclosure is something I definitely intend to do with anyone I meet through OKC. BUT, I worry that putting FTM on my profile will attract women like the one in the story, who may be attracted to me, but would be for the wrong reasons, which would actually make me feel pretty awfully.
Disclaimer - still sick with fever. I know, it’s been going on for forever - I relapsed! But anyway, not totally positive I’ve written this with clarity and conciseness.
Yes. For lots of reasons
That said, in the past 6 years, I have only dated women. And am at the moment sexually exclusively attracted to women. So I’m a queer straight guy. (It’s also fun to claim the label straight because it still messes with some people’s ignorant conceptions of gender and sexuality.)
in response to 1. : do you think that a straight, cis couple with the same mindset can identify as queer, or is that appropriation?
Yes, I do, and I believe I know some couples like that. I also know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, and there is some importance in queer as a political term that is not misappropriated. BUT I think queer is most powerful as a political term when it can be applied to LOTS of different kinds of people. Thanks for asking - it’s a really good question. I hope I explained my thoughts well in that brief response.
Hey Brandon. First of all, I’m really sorry you’re struggling with this.
I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to transition at yr age. Obviously, there are times I wish I had transitioned younger so that I could have started my “guy life” earlier. But early adolescence is so difficult anyway and few cisgender people are blessed with a healthy dose of self-esteem at the age. Everyone is awkward and figuring things out and are launching into life and sexuality with little to no experience. Self-confidence is something that I think largely comes from surviving this time in yr life. It comes from accruing experience. From making it through the hard stuff.
I’m guessing a lot of what you are feeling in terms of self esteem isn’t too far off from other 15 year old guys. But you also have other challenges because you are trans. Dealing with dysphoria and social situations is a lot easier when you go into it with self-confidence.
Like most things, dysphoria gets better with age. With experience. With maturity. It also gets better with time because of the nature of transition.
But I do think you are right to suggest that part of the dysphoria may be due to you identifying “just as a guy.” This is not to say that you must identify as trans to feel better, but it will help if you identify in such a way that allows for yr body. You are a guy with a female history (however you want to think of that - as living as female, as being seen as female, etc.). You’re still just a guy. Just a guy without an anatomical penis. Just a guy with a body that doesn’t naturally produce enough testosterone.
I think it will help you greatly if you can expand yr concept of what a guy is. Of what a guy’s body is. This isn’t to say that you won’t want to physically change yr body when can. Medical interventions can go a long way in helping us feel right in our bodies… but they won’t magically erase our female history. And if you are in denial about that and about its effects on yr body, I think you will have a hard time being comfortable with yr junk and whatever else, even after a full medical transition.
I know this is a heavy order. Try some reading about queer theory (Judith Butler and Kate Bornstein are good places to start). Look at images of all the different types of male bodies (both cis and trans, non-op, post-op, etc., etc.) Again, I’m not saying this will solve yr body issues. If we could make dysphoria disappear by “expanding our minds” we wouldn’t have to transition at all. But it will assuage it greatly I think. It will make you as comfortable as possible.
Now, dating-wise.. if you are attracted to people, I see no harm in putting yrself out there a bit and dating or even getting romantically involved. It’s going to be awkward. It’s awkward for everyone. You are literally learning how to interact romantically with others. I remember how awkward it was for me and I remember stories of my cis friends for whom it was just as awkward. Dating can definitely be fun, though, and you can chalk the bad experiences up to experience. You learn from everything.
And physically, don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with.
Many trans men are sexually stone butch, meaning they don’t “receive attention” during sex. No need to even take yr clothes off. And honestly, you are still young (which you said). A lot of people yr age aren’t doing anything sexually, either, because they aren’t ready for their own reasons.
I hope this was helpful - I feel like it was all over the place. I didn’t transition until I was 21 and have a sort of crazy dating history (I started dating boys when I was living as a girl, then started dating girls, then came out as trans and had a girlfriend through the early stages of transition, then dated around a bit after I had begun transition). So obviously I can’t draw a lot of parallels to yr experience.
I do think that you may be assigning more issues to yr female history and not enough to just being 15. I also think that this is something a good therapist could really help with.
Best of luck - I really admire you and yr courage at this time in yr life.
To begin, let’s catch up on the basics of what disclosure is and isn’t. A lot of people attempt to extend the metaphor of “the closet” from LGB identity to the issue of trans status disclosure, but it’s really a different situation. Cis (non-trans) LGB folks who are closeted are presenting a fake image to the world and hiding who they really are. What makes “coming out” so liberating for them is that they finally have the chance to be and be seen as who they really are.
Being a trans woman living as a woman, I get to be who I really am regardless of whether or not I disclose my trans status. However, telling people I’m trans can result in people suddenly no longer seeing me as a real woman. Contrary to the experience of coming out, disclosure of trans status often puts me at risk for losing the ability to be seen as who I really am."
A really really great article about disclosing trans status.