Sexual attraction to trans men

I’m going to tell everyone a little story.  It’s a short story, but the point of it is rather important.

About a year ago I met this guy.  Maybe 5’3″, very slight build, higher than average voice, effeminate in a somewhat unusual way, and pretty as hell.  I’ve rarely met women prettier than this guy, he’s the classic androgynous pretty boy type.  A bit too pretty for my usual tastes actually, but we started talking and hit it off great.

Well, we start talking and hanging out more and I start learning more about him.  Turns out he’s one of the few guys I know who will call out anti-feminist crap.  He has a ton of lesbian friends.  He knows more about women’s health than I do.  After a while I start realising that he has almost every single trans guy “marker” there is.

I am thrilled.  I’d gone through a series of bad transphobic rejections and was in serious need of an ego boost.  I figure this guy’s cute, we get along well, and it’s starting to look like he’s trans too so I have one less thing to worry about.

Then I take him to one of my kick boxing lessons.  We’re in the locker room getting showered and changed after and I catch a glimpse of his crotch.  Guy isn’t trans.  Not by a long shot (no pun intended).  He turned out to be trans-friendly, but is definitely not trans himself.  Luckily, I noticed before making an ass out of myself.

Point of the story is that even trans people can make baseless assumptions about another person’s genitalia.  I know that there’s no fail proof way of knowing what’s in a person’s pants unless I ask, but I did it anyway.  Why?  Because parts of the community (trans people and allies both) insist that it’s possible to have a sexual attraction to trans people — which implies that you can spot a trans person before they’re unclothed.

The truth is that there’s a difference between being androgynous or visibly gender non-conforming and being trans.  Do they often go together?  Yeah, especially for early transition people or those who identify outside the gender binary.  That doesn’t mean that they’re automatic trans indicators though.  In reality there are androgynous and gender non-conforming cis people just as there are ‘invisible’ trans people.  You never really know so it’s best not to assume.

19 Replies to “Sexual attraction to trans men”

  1. Can you send that guy over? 😀
    I always enjoy your texts NA.
    I have made an ass of myself so often when I *didn’t recognize that someone was trans while everybody else knew about him (What?? Him??– No!!! *general laughter*) So I never assume I can tell. And I can’t. Most trans guys I know are not at all androgynous. This is really a misconception.

    • Haha, you kidding? If we still lived in the same state I’d totally be dating him. He’s a sweetie. I just don’t do well with long distance relationships.

  2. Last summer I totally tried to make friends with this guy who I was SO sure was trans. He is kind of a big guy with a fairly ambiguous chest and looked like he was going through puberty. Worked at the local coffee shop. One day, he started talking about taking time off for surgery so I put on my supportive pants and told him “congratulations!” and asked him who his surgeon was. He told me, no one I’d heard of and gave me this weird look too.

    Several days later I realised he was having KNEE surgery. He’s fifteen. He IS going through puberty, it’s just his first one. So embarassing but luckily he had NO idea what I was on about. We’re still friends but it’s a little weird to think that I was trying to desperately to make friends with this 15 year old kid but hey, I live in a small town. I was just so excited to find another trans person. Oops!

  3. I used to know a girl that was thoroughly convinced she could spot a trans man a mile away. The thing is that when she was right it confirmed her thinking, but when she missed one, she had no idea she’d missed them and so there was no contradictory evidence that her thinking was flawed.

    • I’ve known so many people like that. More often with trans women than trans men, but the same idea. Once I went through and took a picture of all the women at a local trans group who were willing to be outed and had someone try to “peg the trans woman”. It was a rather educational experience once she figured out that they were *all* trans and she’d only guessed a couple of them.

      • I had a friend who after I showed him the FTM website XXBoys said that yeah he could totally tell they were all trans. So I put together a slide show on my comp of trans and cis guys and gave it to him as a little quiz. He failed it.

        • Isn’t that fun? I love showing people they have less of a clue than they think. If nothing else, it gets them to shut up for a bit.

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  5. What really sucks are trans people who play the guessing game and not to find other trans people but more to “look for the flaws”. I once knew a guy who said he could *always* spot if someone was trans (even after ten or 20 years of T!!). He was convinced that there were several minor things- like a small thumb. I got the feeling that he was projecting his own insecurity on others (he passed perfectly since a decade, so it was all in his head). Sometimes it’s trans people themselves who make life harder than it is.

    • Oh I think it’s *usually* trans people who make life harder, at least for trans men. People tend not to know about us unless they’re trans or know someone who is so the misconceptions generally start within the community. Just look at all of the guys who insist that you have to be pansexual in order to ever be attracted to a trans guy.

      • God, I hate that. They’ve got me so that I hate “pansexual” as an identification, because every time someone tries to explain why they identify as pansexual, it always ends up with “and I like trans people too.”

        I could be down with “pansexual” as an alternative to “bisexual” if the explanation was “I like men, women, and people who don’t identify as either men or women.” I’m not sure I buy it, since I don’t really buy that people are attracted to gender identities, but I could accept it as non-insulting. But no, they drag trans people into it, as if a straight/gay/bi person couldn’t like trans people. And it’s the trans guys who do this the most.

        • Yeah, I have more internalised pan-phobia than bi-phobia thanks to all the geniuses who thought they could get me in bed by saying they’re pansexual. With all due respect to trans guys who consider themselves different from cis guys, I’m not special. You don’t have to change your orientation identifier in order to fuck me.

          Doesn’t help that all of the pansexuals I’ve met are of the “women and transmen” sort. I feel like if I knew at least a couple of pansexuals who were into, say, men and genderqueers I’d be more comfortable with the idea.

          • NA, I think that describes me. I’m like theoretically bisexual, mostly attracted to men though. I will occaisionally be attracted to a woman but it’s not very common. I AM, however attracted to men who genderfuck in some say. It could be as simple as a biker guy who has a stupid little dog or anything really. I’m not usually attracted to people who have no sense of play in their gender….I am terribly physically and mentally attracted to that little bit of deviance. It has nothing to do with whether they’re trans or not, though. I am not attracted generally to trans guys who can’t play at least a little with gender expectations (and there are many many who can’t and I respect that), nor am I generally attracted to cis guys who can’t find that play either. Is that sort of what you’re getting at or am I way off base?

          • Not quite just because that’s all about gender expression rather than identity. I often do things like go to a rifle range while wearing pink nailpolish, but that doesn’t make me any less of a guy. It doesn’t make a gay guy who dates me any less gay.

            Genderqueer as an identity is meant to be about being other than man or woman. Expression can be any number of things (I know a few female-bodied genderqueers who are quite traditionally feminine in their expression), but their internal sense of gender is non-binary.

            This, btw, is why I get into fights with pansexuals who try using their orientation as a reason for why they’re attracted to me. They tend to lump me in with genderqueers when I’m not. I’m just effete.

          • Sorry if I did that too, I certainly didn’t mean it like that. I think I don’t really have a clear definition of genderqueer vs variant in expression. I know what it’s supposed to be but it’s not used like that here regularly so it gets kind of muddy. I’ve frankly stopped worrying about it. I get attracted to people – it’s usually based on their identity but I rarely know what that is when I’m first attracted to them so I had to stop over analyzing it a long time ago to prevent insanity.

          • Oh no, I didn’t think you were doing that at all. At least, not intentionally. It’s a tricky area to sort out, especially if you’re not used to it. Most trans people I know manage to confuse gender expression and gender identity and we really should know better. It’s part of why I did the whole 101 post with the lines.

          • Could it be that people behave like such douchbags *because* they mix up expression and identity when they say I’m genderqueer, or even pan?
            During the last weeks I have explained to quite a bunch of people what idenity as opposed to expression is, and that trans is about identity and not expression. They were *all* surprised. and all of them had close contact with trans people. I think there is a very profound misconception as to what people mean when they say: I’m trans. everybody thinks it’s about expression. I wonder why–

          • That’s always what I’ve thought, at least partially. It’s why I try to explain it to people. Problem is, you’re always going to have the people who think gender identity is just a myth created by society. Even after explaining gender identity vs gender expression I’ve had people tell me that my identity is a myth based around the type of expression I’d like. That’s usually when I walk away. If they can’t see that being a straight girl would’ve been easier than being an effeminate man they’re not worth my time.

          • Yo, I stumbled across and saw this. I’m a pansexual (and a transman), and my “pan” comes from all gender expressions. I count transpeople as being either male or female, because duh. As you said, we’re not special.
            However, I’m attracted to genderqueers, crossdressers, genderless people, anyone. There doesn’t seem to be a given set of characteristics that make me attracted, it’s more about how well our personalities match, their style, voice and scent, behaviour and so on.

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