I have become familiar with feminists against the trans community, specifically trans women, but always found it amusing that barely anything is said about trans men—til I recently came across this article:
The writer Danny Lavery has a piece on his Substack about how common it is for trans men to minimize our desire to transition. Many of us embark on transition stating that we only want small, subtle changes: a deeper voice, a more cut jaw, things that won’t necessarily divorce us from the feminine beauty standards most of us grew up with. I have heard many trans masculine people say they fear some of the most common effects of T: growing a dick, getting hairy, sweating more, weighing more, eating more, and needing more sex. It can all come across as apologetic, even a bit Puritanical. We’ll gladly take on the changes that jibe with a fatphobic, beauty-worshipping culture, but wanting to become larger, pricklier, or lustier is somehow something to apologize for.—Devon Price, ”Irreversible Healing: What Testosterone Has Done For Me”
I mean, I have heard that transsexual men were just ”women” who wanted to take “shortcuts” to ”benefit from the partriarchy”, or that gay trans men are ”confused” women who are taking extremes to get it on with cis, gay men; but this article added a lot to British TERFism that I didn’t realize was commonplace thoughts about trans men.
I find these TERF thoughts appalling and emasculinating not just as a trans man, but simply as a man. Growing up others attempted to socialize me as a woman—but from that day on November 14, 2015, I have lived my life as a man, so my experiences in life from that point forward have me sharing a bond with a universal brotherhood. Men, like women, come in all shapes, sizes, and experiences; the wealthy jock who could just surf through adolescence will have an entirely different experience in life compared to the poor nerd who had to work his ass off to get scholarships to get into college—why should my experience, albeit way more fringe than most, dismiss my experiences as a man? My health requirements will require occasional trips to a gynecologist instead of an andrologist, but that makes me no less a man. My vagina instead of a penis makes me no less of a man; there are men with many other ”intersex” health issues, but that makes them no less men, so why should I be an exception?
I didn’t delay coming out like the author above due to any latent transphobia or others’ antitrans rhetoric, but because I was going through a shit load of things during the early ’10s—parenting my son, trying to maintain work and schooling while raising him, treating my recent attempts of suicide to prevent them from happening again—even though I had inklings since childhood, always wishing I were a boy.
When I first came out IRL as a transsexual man on April 26, 2014, I was rejected by my circle of mainly cis, gay men who thought I was still “latently lesbophobic”, suffering not long prior from two severe, grueling years of a ”double dose” of conversion therapy that not only tried to make me attracted to men, but insisted on making me live like a woman. These “friends” thought I was confused and continued to call me a ”mother” in front of my son; they referred to me with female titles, pronouns, and language in front of strangers; dismissed any inkling I wanted to finally undergo a sex change and become a man. So, I dropped them all and was lonely until I made friends with coworkers at my first job since coming out in August of 2014.
I didn’t give a discourse on gender and queer theories with my parents when I came out to them that same summer—I just said I wanted to finally live my life as a man from that moment forward. My parents would finally accept me as their son once they saw me undergo a sex change, and they would allow me to live at home while doing so, but wouldn’t contribute financially to my medical transition directly.
I knew from early on I lived very secluded from the larger “trans community”. I didn’t want to live “authentically”; I wanted to live as a man. I was looking forward to increased body hair, my chest beginning to shrink (and be rid of 6 months later in 2015 as soon as I got top surgery), gaining a bit more weight (even if that meant more fat, but which would relocate on my body), the increased libido. I had every desire to distance myself from my female past, both physically and socially, that my maternal family and most of society have tried to grind into me since I was born as quickly and as powerfully as possible. (My dad, with whom I was most hesitant to come out to, never cared and was always fine with my ”butch” and ”tomboy” way of life.) I wasn’t looking forward to look like an androgynous twink like Ruby Rose—I was looking forward to looking more like my dad, a ”bear”, even if that meant balding on top and regrowing it on my back. 😆
I barely used binders, as they hurt my back. I never used a packer for more than a few days before trashing it, as it worsened my bottom dysphoria. I still don’t pack to this day—my large labia and spare tire stomach mimic what look like a penis in my pants.
Testosterone I will refer to as ”my meds” if I am talking with someone I’m not out to. My surgeries I will use other euphemisms to show they were medically necessary, without mentioning them by name. As far as they know, while I take no meds for my generalized anxiety and bipolar disorders, they know I have a physical health issue (which I view as a physical problem) that requires being on something for the rest of my life. Because it is medicine that has started to, continues to heal my body.