“There is more than one way to have a male body you know”

Can we please stop saying any variation of that when a guy is experiencing severe dysphoria over his genitalia?  It dismisses the problem in favour of gender theory, an approach that is neither compassionate nor effective.

We know that there’s more than one way to be male.  Trust me, we know.  It’s virtually impossible to be part of the trans community for more than five minutes without being told that particular aspect.  That’s not why we’re upset.  Some people transition for social reasons, some people for a mix of social and physical, some for entirely physical.  Those of us who are more on the physical than social side of the spectrum shouldn’t be talked down to simply because the prevailing attitude says having a penis isn’t important.

Having a penis is important to me.  I don’t feel right having a vagina.  Fuck social gender, fuck theory, fuck anything else that says having a vagina isn’t relevant to my masculinity.  It’s relevant to me.  That should be all that matters.

When you feel like crap because looking down makes you feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach you aren’t helped by people saying “oh, it doesn’t matter, there are a ton of different ways to have a male body.”  In fact, that only hurts.  It says that what you feel isn’t important.  That your entire sense of how your body should look is irrelevant because being transsexual isn’t PC any more.  You can live without a necessary limb, you’ll be fine.  After all, these sixteen gender theorists say so.

Would you tell someone with severe depression that it’s ok, “there’s more than one way to be happy”?  I doubt it because there have been amazing shifts in the way depression is looked at.  That wouldn’t have been an uncommon response in an earlier time though.  It was perfectly acceptable to brush off depression as just another state of being, a personal flaw to be overcome rather than a debilitating illness.  Most people think that’s a horrible thought now, yet we do the exact same thing to guys with genital dysphoria.

I get that for some guys there really is more than one way to have a male body.  There are guys who love their vaginas, guys who don’t feel the need for T, guys with any number of different ways of viewing their bodies.  However, that is not the case for all of us.  Some of us really do have a very binary way of looking at our bodies.  That doesn’t mean we’re any better or worse than the guys who experience less genital dysphoria, it just means we’re different.  Acting like we’re simply in need of education fails to recognise that.

8 Replies to ““There is more than one way to have a male body you know””

  1. A trans friend of told me a while ago that a comment like this just means mixing different levels. One is a personal level, the other is a sociological/political. Also, one is practical while the other is theoretical.
    The question that remains though is, why don’t people see that? It’s about as sensitive as telling someone not to be sad that their child has died because “in Africa” children are dying every day, and it’s all about capitalism.

    For some trans people it’s probably a kind of rationalising to keep their own pain or feelings of inferiority at bay. Someone who is truely happy with his own body will probably be open for feelings of others and not try to talk them out of it.

  2. I hope this didn’t come out the wrong way- I didn’t mean to say that trans people should feel pain or inferior about their body. Quite the contrary. I was trying to say that when people are telling others what to do or feel they are often having problems of their own that they try to hide by putting down others.

  3. Aidan, if you haven’t already, you should definitely check out the UK shows “Hollyoaks” and “Hollyoaks: Later.” One of the main characters who appears in both is Jason, a teen gay ftm just figuring out his identity. There might be other similar characters out there, but he’s the only gay ftm main character on tv in the entire world that I can think of.

    Hollyoaks and it’s spin-off have always been incredibly inclusive of the LGBT community. Case in point, another major storyline is a same-sex domestic abuse one between two bi guys. You can find both shows on Youtube.

  4. Phuh… I have a sister who tried to do the same kind of thing to me: “I think that if you saw men who had boobs, you wouldn’t hate having boobs yourself.” No, REALLY? If men regularly had boobs I would associate having boobs with being male? OH MY GOD. I had no idea. Oh! Oh! You know what else? If men had tails and women didn’t, I would associate having a tail with being a man. If men and women looked exactly alike, I wouldn’t see any need to change my body at all!

    It’s so obvious that it’s pointless to even discuss. My sister seemed to think that I could somehow think my way out of wanting surgery by accepting that a man could have breasts because I was “socalized” into thinking that men didn’t have breasts by looking at these boobless men. Of course, if men ACTUALLY had breasts, it could still be argued with reasonable plausibility that the association between breasts and masculinity was genetic, not social, ergo the entire thought experiment was meaningless.

    Actually, the social vs. inborn thing could use a post of its own, but what I’d really like to know is: WHY do cis people think they need to expend so much energy trying to talk us out of surgery? They’re not the ones going in. They won’t even have to look at the results (at least until they’re healed and actually attractive). A lot of cis people have this whole “your brain is broken, let me fix it for you” complex that I just do not understand.

    And it sucks. Boy, oh boy does it suck. This is one of the reasons I do not plan to discuss my treatment plans with cis people who are not actively involved in the process.

    • Pfft, this was all based on things that have been said to me by trans people. I could write an entire other series of posts about the crap I’ve been told by cis people.

  5. Oh and here’s another good one:

    (After an evening of being misgendered) “Don’t let it upset you, you already know who you are inside, so why let it ruin your day?”

    Blank stare.

    This was said by a pansexual probably-cisgender person I was with, so not exactly from the uneducated demographic. So I suppose now that being seen/treated as one’s gender isn’t something that should be important, either?

    I’ve gotten the accept-yer-body spiel too, and it’s so totally infuriating. And now this current of yuck going around that’s pretty much the same, just applied to social gender instead of body parts.

    Don’t we all just love getting peer-pressured to be some kind of groovy po-mo walking advert for “enlightened” irony? *sarcasm*

    Yah, not on good terms with the girl who said that crap anymore.

    (Just realized my posts often seem spastic and like yelling. I don’t have rabies, I swear.)

  6. first of all, THANK YOU. i have directed several well-meaning people who don’t get it to your post.

    secondly, i’ve found that gay trans guys tend to agree with NA and myself, while straight trans guys seem to push the “it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a functioning penis, there are many ways to have a male body blah blah” thing. anyone with this experience, or a different one?

    • I’ve noticed that too and I have to wonder if part of it has to do with the lack of interaction with/interest in cis male bodies. It’s a hell of a lot easier to say “oh, bodies don’t matter” when your sexual partners don’t have one you can compare yourself to.

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