Non-genderqueer Transmen

I seem to be getting quite a few hits for variations on “ftm not genderqueer” lately so I figured I’d do a little post.

First of all, it is possible to be FtM without being genderqueer.  Actually, I’d say it’s the default seeing as how genderqueer is outside binary gender and FtM is inclusive of binary gender.  In fact, it’s so inclusive that it means going from one end to the other in terms of how a person is perceived.  Now, that’s not what most of my contemporaries believe.  Most of them seem to say quite the opposite, actually.  For more on why I think that’s illogical, see here.  For why I think transmen identifying as genderqueer due to non-stereotypical behaviour is problematic, see here.

Onto transguys who aren’t genderqueer.  There’s been a bit of a backlash against this lately, particularly towards those of us who aren’t stereotypically masculine.  I’ve been told that I’m self loathing, that I’m bowing to the patriarchal gender binary, that I can’t fully love myself until I accept that I am both male and female.  No one seems to understand that I do accept that there are some aspects of myself that are considered feminine.  I simply reject the idea that all effeminate men must consider themselves something other than male.

Why do I not identify as genderqueer?  I don’t have to.  I did for a few months before I first came out.  I hadn’t heard of FtM transexuals yet so the idea of being both male and female was as close as I could get.  Then I realised I could just be a gay man and adopted the identity of a gay, genderqueer transman.  That lasted about a month.  During that month I started paying more attention to the behaviours of my cismale friends.  They had gender expressions that varied from the uber-macho guy from my cadet corps days to the walking swish stick who introduced me to slash fiction.  All of them identified as male.  Well, if they could be just male even when they wore nailpolish or made daisy chains then why couldn’t I?  There wasn’t a logical reason so I stopped identifying as genderqueer and simply embraced my life as a slightly effeminate man.

What I can’t understand is why all other transmen insist on trying to force a genderqueer label on me.  For a group of people so adamantly opposed to labelling people without reason, they certainly seem to enjoy doing it to others.  Notice how Lawrence King was championed as a young man who died for being transgender.  In actuality, Larry was more likely than not a budding drag queen.  While drag queens/kings are included in the new “transgender umbrella”, that was not the reason he was shot.  His murderer simply decided that he didn’t like the idea of some faggot trying to ask him out so he pulled out a gun and killed him in the cafeteria.  It was Larry’s sexuality that was the problem, not his penchant for glittery gowns.

So what’s a guy to do when all the other transmen are talking about their genderqueer identities?  Honestly, I have no clue.  I withdrew myself from transmale circles early on for exactly that reason.  *I know that the FtM group on Dreamwidth specifically states no genderqueer issues, but the owner of that has had to deal with quite a bit of backlash.  Other than that I’m not sure there are places for non-genderqueer transmen.  The people who want a split between transgender and what they wish to call Harry Benjamin Syndrome are close, until you realise they’re going back to a 1950s model that wouldn’t include gay transmen or those of us who aren’t perfect stereotypes.  Really, there seems to be nothing for plain and simple transexuals anymore.

That said, if you’re a guy who’s trans and not genderqueer, you’re not alone.  Hang out in online groups, get a feel for how everyone identifies.  Often you’ll find someone to talk to when you’re least expecting it.

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