Guest Post: How I Figured Out I Was Trans, the short version

When people ask me how I knew I was trans, I often don’t know where to start.  There were all sorts of signs that I was trans throughout my childhood, but being as this was before the internet, I had no idea that transitioning was a possibility.  Like many trans people, it wasn’t one thing that let me know I was trans, it was a thousand tiny things that piled up into a narrative.  Eight years after transitioning, I still have moments when I remember tidbits from my life that confirm my transness.  These tiny moments didn’t make sense at the time, but in hindsight I can see what they meant.

Some trans people talk about being in the wrong body and some talk about not liking their social role.  For me, it was a strange combination that led me to transition.  The biggest thing, the one that trans people don’t like to talk about, is sex.  Yes, sex – I figured out that I was trans through having sex.  It started in the summer of 2000.  I was a junior in college and had just started dating a older man (lol, he was only 26, but it felt like a huge difference at the time).  The sex was great in the beginning, as I had gone a long time without any sexual contact due to my extreme studiousness and shyness.  After a month though, the sex turned bad; I felt locked up, stoic and frigid.

Being the perfectionist that I was, I spent days poring over sex books to figure out what I was doing wrong.  Convinced that I just wasn’t doing it right, I made it my goal to explore sex like I never had before.  I watched porn, bought toys, went to the strip club, read erotica, subscribed to Abercrombie & Fitch’s catalogue (my first softcore gay porn!), but nothing helped consistently.  I started to think it was physical, so I went to the doctor’s – nothing wrong there.  I practiced kegels, read up on kama sutra and tantric sex, tried the positions with my boyfriend, all to no avail.  Slowly sex became a chore that I loathed doing – a fact that is depressing as hell when you’re horny.  The only thing that helped was having sex right after waking up.  Curious, I started a dream journal.

One afternoon, I was waking up from a short nap in which I hazily remember having sex with a man.  Normally, this would have just been considered a good use of daylight hours, but this time I had a penis and I was the one penetrating him.  The dream was so vivid, so electric, that I thought about it for months, totally confused as to why I would have a dream like this.  It didn’t make any sense.  I tried to put it out of my mind, but a big part of me liked it so much, I started to have this dream every night.

After a few months of this, I furiously started researching the internets.  I came across a picture of a masculine presenting female-assigned trans person.  Floored, intrigued, excited and scared, I slowly I came to accept that my dream was telling me something important and that the only way I would figure it out was to break up with my boyfriend and explore my sexuality with other people.  Three months later, I chopped my hair off, graduated from college and somehow became convinced that I should start my experiments with women.

When graduate school started in the fall, I started dating another grad student – a woman.  My goal was to somehow embody my dream, to somehow feel male, so dating a woman seemed like the natural thing to do and I went with it.  At first it was new and exciting, just like my last relationship, but after a month of sex in which I never took off my clothes, I got bored and anxious.   I also felt like a fraud cause she thought I was a lesbian, but making her come did absolutely nothing for me.  After five months of exploring sex (including BDSM lite) with her, I took to the internet once more.

This time, thankfully, I came across a message board full of queer and trans people.  I spent months reading the archives, searching for some truth that mirrored my own.  I stopped having sex again, started to obsessively study myself in the mirror and make myself as masculine-looking as possible.  I lifted weights every day, starved myself, started shopping in the men’s side of the store and, most importantly, I started having the special dreams again, except this time they were more explicit and longer.  Jolting energy spilt through my penis, like I’d imagine a cis guy would feel and it was very unlike the orgasms and feel of vaginal sex.  I had a masculine chest, fur, fuzz on my face and I found myself furiously sucking my imaginary partner’s cock like I never had in real life.

Up until this point, it had never occurred to me that gay trans men existed.  In my dreams, I was a man having sex with a man, but acknowledging this out loud to other people scared the shit out of me.  So I continued on my quest to look more masculine while entertaining the possibility of sex with lesbians who digged people like me.   Convinced that I was disgusting, not worth dating and certainly not sexy, the attention and ego boost were nice.   I had some odd encounters with lesbians, but the spark wasn’t there.  I felt mostly dead down there when it came to having sex with women.

Slowly my dreams became more elaborate and I started wondering what else was possible.  Just going to a gay porn website was enough to make me start shaking and sweating at this point.  It felt forbidden and wrong.  It took me a full year of thinking before I finally downloaded some gay porn.  At first, I was confused.  I mean, I had sex with plenty guys growing up and I’d seen plenty of penises, but seeing gay porn for the first time made me feel completely ignorant of male sexuality.  I watched the twinks giving each other blowjobs, examining their bodies and noticing how skinny and smooth they looked.  Then one of them starting topping the other and my mouth literally gaped open – I thought “that’s exactly what my dream was like!!!”.  A part of me didn’t want to watch anymore (they weren’t my type and they looked rather sickly), but I couldn’t look away – it was calling my name.   Scared to death that I was really a gay man, I told myself that it wasn’t my cup of tea and that perhaps I was into the type of sex that has never existed in real life.

Meanwhile, I took steps to start testosterone therapy for my physical transition and graduated from college.  I moved to a new town and met some gay men for the first time in my life at age 23.  This is when my life started – I’m not exaggerating.  My new role as a man was being accepted rather easily with the help of testosterone-induced masculinization, a very trans-friendly community and top surgery, but making that step into gayhood became some sort of looming monster.  The closer I became with one of my gay friends, the more apparent my sexuality became to others, the more I couldn’t ignore the truth.  I finally came out, which surprised no one (apparently I make a rather fey man).  In less than a week after coming out, I was making my privates hurt from the constant masturbation from just the release of finally accepting myself.  Soon, I went after the real thing and for the first time in my life, my sexuality felt easy, not forced.  I no longer had to get in the perfect position, think of England, or imagine I was somewhere else.  I could be in my body and feel the electricity and most importantly I could share it with someone else, like humans were meant to do.

This isn’t to say that my sex life is easy and that I have no issues.  When I’m with a cis guy, I immediately feel less than a man – how do you come to terms that someone ran off with your penis before you born and not feel inadequate?  A lot of times, men aren’t interested in having sex with me once they know I’m trans.  On the street, if you saw me you’d never know that my package was manufactured at some plant in China.  Naked, well, you’d be really dense not to notice that my penis is quite small, much like an overgrown clit (testosterone makes it grow, a lot) and that I can’t fuck you with it.   Some don’t care that I have a vagina and some really like it.  I try to tell myself that being trans is like being short – it’s much harder to find people that are into you, but it’s not impossible.  Sometimes, my lack of a penis keeps me from cruising for a date.

Those times I’ve had sex with men who didn’t care, who fucked me all night (yes, I’m a bottom), who either didn’t notice or didn’t care that they had the only penis in the room when there were usually two, have given me years of contentment.  I was a gay man with them, just like any other guy and we enjoyed each other’s bodies like gay men tend to do.  I’ll never forget those times when I could forget that I was born female.  Like the dreams that started it all, they are seared into my brain and they make me feel alive even when I’m alone for yet another saturday night.

I may not make sense to you.  That’s alright.  It took me years for me to make sense of myself.  But I do exist – I’m not weird, or disgusting…. I’m just gay and male and trans.  For a few years I lived my life as a straight women, but not since my first gay sexual experience have I felt any longing for my former life or like I could just turn back.

You’ll never know what it’s like to be trans (unless you are actually trans) and that you’ll never know what it’s like to be a gay trans man (unless you are one), but that doesn’t mean you can’t accept it.   This is me.  I am gay and I am a man.  Take my word for it, otherwise I’ll have to bore you with more details of my mostly uninteresting life and then you’ll be really sorry you asked because you couldn’t understand.

Kian currently lives in NH with his two cats. He would be wicked excited if he didn’t have to move to a ginormous city to the south in order to have a fulfulling sex life (he’ll miss the snow and the ice-skating too much.) He can be reached at kian217 at gmail dot com if you’re interested in conversation, an argument or in sending a nicely worded hate letter.

Requisite disclaimer: All opinions expressed in guest posts are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NotAiden.

22 Replies to “Guest Post: How I Figured Out I Was Trans, the short version”

  1. Love this post Kian. My narrative is different but mostly in the sense that I experienced the same things in a different order – I knew I was gay before knowing I was trans, if that makes any sense, because I had the gay sex dreams and was watching gay porn as a preteen.

    • I think that if I was brought up in a less homophobic culture, that maybe I would have identified myself as gay before trans. Accepting my transness was the easy part, but the gay part was the most difficult.

      I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

      • I just had a lightbulb moment– I was brought up in a gay positive environment, but it was totally trans phobic. I always thought I was daft for not realizing I was trans earlier (apart from not knowing that ftm was possible, and apart from only hearing about straight clichee trans men after that). But maybe it was internalized transphobia? Where is a therapist when you need one—

        • Lol. No kidding. Too bad the therapist wouldn’t be all that much help. Anyway, I feel the same way about realizing I’m gay. I wish I’d realized it earlier – it certainly could have made college more interesting.

          • Too funny not to realize you’re gay while your cock is sticking up a guy’s ass so to speak 😀

          • Seriously. I was definitely sheltered and clueless when it came to gay stuff. A part of me knew it was gay, but a huge part of me wanted it to be something else entirely, while screaming to myself “I’m not GAY!”. The power of denial is strong some times.

          • It’s really fascinating for me too that it can be the other way around. I always thought everybody would want to be gay but nobody owuld want to be trans.

          • Yeah. It’s funny because my family had such an easy time with the trans thing and a very hard time with the gay thing. It makes sense that we’d have the same issues with acceptance regarding me being trans and gay, but it always strikes other people as odd. I don’t think it’s odd at all, because I know how hard it was for me to accept my gayness. I think that if were a lesbian though, my gayness would have been a lot easier to accept. Male gayness, well, growing up that was about the worst thing that could happen to you in my world.

          • Your family had an easy time with the trans thing??? :O That is totally inconceivable for me *blank* This is a bit like a proof that the enviroment influences how easily we can accept our transness or gayness.

          • Yes, fairly easy. It took getting used to, but once I started looking different and had top surgery, they understood that I meant it. They started using my adopted name pretty much right away. The pronouns took maybe a year to adjust, but they’ve been really supportive of me.

            The gay stuff, well, they usually try to ignore that and pretend it doesn’t exist.

  2. Why is it that I hear that so often from gay trans men, icluding myself- that we knew we were gay before we knew we were trans? I can totally relate to that coming-out-by-sex thing, too. It’s all very close to what I have experienced. Also that “first moment” of contact with gay stuff and being electrified for weeks or months.
    I *did* have the whole boyish childhood thingy, but I didn’t connect that to being gay or trans, probably because tomboys are no big deal. Things really got off when I started having early erotic thoughts about male couples, seeing myself as one of them.

  3. I’m thrilled that you’re happy. I guess that’s a weird thing to say since we don’t even really know each other outside occasional comments on Shakesville, but I still am. And those happy times you talk about when you find someone who gives you what you really need, I wish you more of that. As much as you ever want for as long as you want it.

  4. (This comment is kinda late, sorry.) I`m surprised too see that others knew they were gay before they were trans. I`ve known I was gay since I became sexually aware at about age 12. It took me 11 years to completely realize that because my body was female, everyone thought of me as female (they do? really?), then uh oh, wait, there`s something not right here. Go figure.

  5. I totally stumbled across this while googling something else. I am a straight female and I have been working on being an ally to the GLBT because I want to promote a society in which everyone can be themselves (without receiving hate mail, nicely worded or otherwise). Since I’m “normal” and I don’t know anyone who has had to deal with both being trans and gay, reading this was really eye-opening. Thanks for sharing your story!
    I wish you love and happiness in all your relationships, present and future.

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