Finding Our Place: Social Acceptance for Non-Traditional Transmen

I tend to get into fights when in areas designed solely for transmen.  Actually, I tend to get into fights when in areas designed for transpeople in general.  It’s odd for me because I do have trans friends (both men and women), it’s the only way I would have managed the early days of transition.  However, I can’t seem to get along with the trans community in general.  At least, I can’t online.  In person it’s a little better.

The reasons for this are two-fold.  First of all, I’m not a gender/women’s studies major.  I don’t do queer theory.  I don’t care about the latest research on gender socialisation.  Just about everything being said now was debunked with the Reimer case in 70s so I’m not sure why we insist on going back to it.

The second reason is that I’m simply not like the vast majority of the trans community.  Rather, I’m not like either of the sides that present themselves online.  I’m not masculine enough for the man’s man FtMs, but I’m also not genderqueer.  I have a very distinct, binary gender identity, but my expression isn’t stereotypical.  I like glitter and I’m not afraid to say so.

I’ve come to terms with this.  I no longer really care if I’m accepted within the trans community because I don’t need a trans support system.  I’ve hit a point where every few years I may need a factual answer to a specific question, but beyond that I’m pretty good.  What concerns me is what will happen to the guys coming out who are like me.

That’s why I have this blog.  There aren’t a whole lot of guys like me, I realise that.  Most guys fall into one of the two major camps, either masculine or genderqueer.  However, if I help even one scared kid realise that he isn’t alone then the time and effort put into this are worth it.

I do wish there was somewhere else these guys could go.  Somewhere that has passing tips for effeminate guys, suggestions on how to bind while still wearing tight shirts (hint: it’s not always possible), ways to pass without sacrificing who you are.  I can do some, but let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like having a bunch of people you can go to with a problem.  Unfortunately, I don’t know enough guys like me to set up something like that.  Let alone guys like me who have transitioned, most of us simply assimilate into the gay male world.

There’s Femme-FtM on LiveJournal, but they’re more genderqueer than FtM transexual.  Beyond that, the vast majority of guys on there aren’t effeminate in the “flaming queen” sense of the word.  Lots of emo, scene, and punk.  If you want to gauge your ears you’ll be welcomed with open arms.  Some anime-style bishounen (did I spell that right?) if that’s your style.  Not so much for the guy whose ideal look is a cross between Brian Kinney and Emmett Honeycutt (from Queer as Folk for all you youngin’s).

Dreamwidth has a few trans groups that are more open to effeminate guys, but none of them are very active.  I’m not sure the mod for most of them has checked in in a few months.  Other than that there’s not really anything.

It’s too bad.  Effeminate men in general are marginalised, transmen even moreso.

17 Replies to “Finding Our Place: Social Acceptance for Non-Traditional Transmen”

  1. I am also an effiminate transguy. I am straight, yet so often thought of as a gay guy. Good to find others like me out there.

  2. I know exactly what you’re talking about and I’m not even from the US. I have come to find that ftm like “us” usually hang out at gay male places. sometimes at girlfag groups and in slash communities. or they come out of a straight marriage 😉 often with a gay man (seriously, that happens a lot).
    where we are rarely to be found is the “genderqueer” community, because that has strong roots in the lesbian community, and the last place that a gay male identified, gay men loving fag would hang out is the lesbian community. the same goes for gender studies courses and the like. they are a good place for guy dykes and trans dykes though 😉

    • Yeah, I’ve found that I’m most likely to find guys like us while hanging out at the local gay bar. Problem is, those guys are always stealth like me so we don’t have much to offer the guys just coming out. I’d try to find more of us willing to be out, but I know how much of a hassle that is in day to day life. I’m not willing to do it so I can’t exactly ask others to.

      • I just re-read you text and *lol* because of: “suggestions on how to bind while still wearing tight shirts (hint: it’s not always possible)” – made me think of a no-surgery gay ftm friend of mine 😉 We should write a Passing Tips for Flaming FtM manual.

  3. It’s unbelievably hard to find any info even relating to gay FTMs from anything other than a purely medical standpoint, much less effeminate gay FTMs. I’m not a total flamer…actually tbh my current look is more “girl wearing her fashion-resistant straight boyfriend’s ill-fitting wardrobe” – but I do love glitter and looking nice, it just doesn’t work with my current body.

    And you’re right that it’s particularly hard because we don’t tend to come through the lesbian community. I know I feel acutely uncomfortable in “women’s spaces” even when they’re of the accepting, gender-deconstructing sort. I tend to feel like some sort of impostor.

    So you’ve identified a real information gap (and your blog is really helping to fill it for me at least). Thanks.

    • Yeah, I got more than a bit annoyed when I was first coming out and couldn’t find a single gay trans guy to talk to who wasn’t either butch, genderqueer, or formerly a lesbian. It’s part of why I tried to stay in trans groups for so long, I wanted to make sure that my side of things got mentioned.

      It is possible to get away with a certain amount of effeminate clothing most of the time…it just can also be painful and constricting. I know guys who think the effort is worth it and other guys who prefer to wait until the T kicks in or they’ve had top. Just depends on how you’re happier.

      Glad to know I’ve helped. Stick around, there are a couple of us who end up stealing posts and turning them into giant discussions 😛

  4. i’m glad you have this blog, & glad i stumbled upon it.

    this is essentially how i feel about myself / i basically relate!

    i too find/found myself having trouble relating w/ the vast majority of posters on the trans & genderqueer communities on livejournal. conflicting feelings, etc., ensued.

    anyway it is nice to see someone making it & like, DOING OKAY, pretty much. g-glad to hear also that there actually exist gay dudes out there who m-might sleep with a dude without a penis? ahhhh christ. sorry so insecure. i have similar nightmares about straight girls lololol. in fact, about everyone. basically once i get started i am good at deathspiraling my way into thinking everyone will hate me and despise me. forever. rofl.

    anyway thank you for this blog. i am adding you to my google reader feed. reading you gives me a little confidence. i am seriously considering making That Change in my life. finally. maybe. i’m not sure. many things make me worry that it won’t be worth it; not because i don’t want it but because i’m not sure i am emotionally strong enough to deal with social fallout, i suppose. so i guess, to reiterate: it’s good to see someone else making it.

    anyway
    *thumbs up*

  5. but they’re more genderqueer than FtM transexual. Beyond that, the vast majority of guys on there aren’t effeminate in the “flaming queen” sense of the word. Lots of emo, scene, and punk. If you want to gauge your ears you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

    While that is pretty much me, I would love to hear how to make a community more inclusive of all the ways to be ftm, what do you think would help? Is it just critical mass? Or is their something those of us who aren’t binary id’ed or scene queens could do?

    • Hey, I’m sorry I managed to miss this comment for so long!

      I’m not really sure about how to help everyone fit in. Working with people’s personal styles would help. I’ve been in groups where guys in tight pink shirts and hip hugger jeans are told to wear giant fangs if they want earrings. That’s not a look everyone wants and assuming it is only alienates us. Also acknowledging that we all experience our dysphoria and gender expression differently. Some guys love the genderqueer label, others don’t. Insisting that anyone who doesn’t fit into strict gender roles is genderqueer implies that there’s only one way to be a man, something I don’t think people realise.

  6. >>Yeah, I got more than a bit annoyed when I was first coming out and couldn’t find a single gay trans guy to talk to who wasn’t either butch, genderqueer, or formerly a lesbian. It’s part of why I tried to stay in trans groups for so long, I wanted to make sure that my side of things got mentioned.

    Same goes for me, dude. I did not know of other transmen who had been mostly in the male gay scene even before transition. But let me tell you, bi guys are often okay with you having a mixed body (male but with vagina).

    • It’s only pretty recently that I’ve been comfortable enough with myself to consider dating bi guys. Before that I was just way too afraid they’d see me as a girl or something in between and I couldn’t handle that.

      There’s also issue is finding bi guys who I’m attracted to. I tend to like my guys at least as flaming as me, if not more. Most of those aren’t so much with the bi.

  7. i am an effeminite FTM. most definitely transsexual but not classically queer… at present i consider myself a straight male and i also find this an interesting topic. i often wonder why there even has to be a stereotypical gender conformity for surgery when it’s blatantly obvious that many genetic males come in all different varieties from the super masculine to the more effeminite and androgynous types. this one is a bit of a thorn in my side where getting help is concerned because i worry i may have to pretend to be someone else too just to get the treatment i need. thanks for the blog.

  8. Oh, I totally identify as a mix of Brian Kinney and Emmett Honeycutt, too. An effeminate gay guy, that is.

    I’ve been on this gender journey for only about one year and there are still months and months before I can even get T. It’s been wonderful to read your blog, these posts made me feel more secure about who I am. I really needed this reminder. So thank you, and may your path be filled with glitter ^^

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