More FTM Saturday

An adorable chubby transman

Not the actual FTM

Start the day here.

No sooner had the guy left, then a vaguely Latin man gave me a big smile and waved me onto the floor.
“Come dance with me!?” He requested genially.
“Okay.” I replied, drawn to his positivity despite myself. “As long as you know that I’m a lesbian.” I did not feel like getting hit on by anyone else–especially a man that night!
“Oh that’s okay–I’m FTM.”
I commenced to dancing with him–wondering if it was, indeed, okay because he was FTM.–I mean, of course for dancing it was okay if he was an FTM, I would have danced with him as a straight man too–It’s just, for anything beyond that–I’m not sure. How far can a woman go into masculinity before she becomes a man? And isn’t that the whole idea? Why do FTMs pursue lesbians? How “should” I feel about it? Was I attracted to him? I wondered.

“Don’t mind this.” he said, gesturing to the neat ring of facial hair around his mouth. “Two years ago I was named Hannah.”
I tried to assimilate this information as I followed him on the dance floor. It was really hard for me to see him as female when everything about him screamed “male.” I can’t imagine what it must be like to spend so much energy convincing the world that you’re male–only to have to turn around and convince the females you’re interested in that you’re still, somehow, inherently female.

“It’s my birthday!” He informed me with a smile.

“Yours too?” I responded ungraciously. I was having trouble believing anything anyone said that night.

Finally, as I matched him beat for beat, I realized that I believed him about being FTM. He still smelled like a woman–like a woman, and yes, like my favorite complementary odor, cocoa butter!

Did it matter? I wasn’t sure, but I relaxed into the dance. He was a good dancer with an engaging smile.

He thanked me politely when the song ended, but didn’t try to engage me further or try to get my number. I felt a little disappointed, although I guess I was less than encouraging.

It was time to go home anyways, I had a long drive ahead.

FTM Saturday

Wheel of FTM

I was at a cookout with my kids, when I looked up and spotted Mike, my childhood role-model.

Only back then Mike was called Pam.

Back when she was my dad’s roommate, Pam was a full-figured, confident queer pagan, with long brown hair and a penchant for wearing purple. She was really one of my first role models of what a strong confident Pagan woman could be like.
As I grew up I often thought of her as the epitome of womanliness–not that fragile femininity that the magazines tout–but real, down-to-earth femaleness.

Now Pam is Mike. Thinner, with short hair and male pronouns. He still has the same great cheekbones and smile. There’s something a bit fragile about him, though. Maybe it’s age–I see a faint quake to his hands.
He’s with his girlfriend, a loud gothic femme with eight earrings in her left lobe. She keeps the male pronouns going–which is good, because Mike still doesn’t “read” as female to me. After knowing him almost my entire life as Pam, it’s hard for me to make that switch.

He seems somehow vulnerable to me now. Still strong, but I don’t know, it seems like transitioning has taken a toll on him. His eyes beg me to help maintain his new identity. With my knowledge of his past, I can unman him with a pronoun.

But I don’t. I’m mindful and maintain his trust. We talk for hours and hug goodbye.

I don’t know what it means that the woman I admired so greatly as a child now considers herself as a man (did she always want to be male? Or did those desires come on gradually?) but, as I hugged him goodbye, it occurred to me that it didn’t matter. That was a different person in a different time. I can hold the memory of Pam sacred as I perceived her, and still honor and get to know this new person, Mike.

Queer Boi Holding Hip Hop For Ransom

Micah Speaking into the MicCheck out this Boston Talent! I wish you could see him in person. Check this queer anthem out!

Butch Acceptance

I wanted to share my response to a comment on Why I Let Go Of Butch that is actually asking the opposite question:

What I am trying to understand is how a woman can be comfortable identifying as butch. I’m talking about butches who have considered being trans, and have opted to stick with the butch identity instead (kinda the opposite to what the author of this post went through). I can understand how someone does not want to be a transMAN, and how someone does not want to be a WOMAN (been there, done that); but butches are somewhat gender-variant, yet some of them are very comfortable identifying as WOMAN. Why is that?

Here is my answer:

A friend of mine (who’s a stone butch) and I were talking about the first time she was called a Dyke–she looked the word up, and saw that it was defined as “a masculine woman”

“I liked that.” she told me. “I felt like they saw me.”

I think that accepting yourself as a butch woman (if that’s what you are) is just that. Accepting that you are a woman, that you have masculine qualities, and that some other women find that super-sexy, and just leaving it at that.

 

On Intersex and Trans

I found this video and though I would share. I’ve edited this post (03-26-11) in response to some feedback that I’ve gotten.

I’m 80% Girl, 20% Boy

Though Adele is now pursuing gender reassignment surgery to become a woman, she muses as the film ends “I’ve lived 30 years of my life as a man, and I’m going to live the next 30 years of my life as a woman. But, eventually, when I’m an old person, hopefully society will have moved on to a point where I can live as myself — which is an intersexed person — neither male nor female.”

I’m not sure I’m any more ready for a post gender world than I am for a post racial one, but I found this moving and thought provoking. The interesting thing for me, was that while at first I saw Adele as mostly masculine with some feminine features, by the end of it my mind had made that mental switch to thinking “she’s pretty” pretty much effortlessly. My point with this is that it was completely my perspective that changed. Adele was still the same intersex person, regardless of how I saw her, or which gender society attempted to impose on her.

Watching this video brought up some issues that I have been trying to deal with regarding the whole trans thing–issues that are mine, not anything I want to put on anyone else. I know that although Adele’s story superficially parallels the experience of many transgendered people, her experience and the experiences of intersex people worldwide are unique and different. I would not even begin to speak for them or anyone else.

So here are my fucked-up thoughts on the issue of transgenderism–not intersex– as of writing this post, I thing I’m coming to a better place of peace and acceptance, but it’s nice to have this space to work my thoughts out:

I think the hardest part for me with dealing with people who are Trans, is that although I want to respect the gender that they feel themselves to be, some inner part of me is always screaming “no, that’s not a dude, that’s a stud!” Or, honey, with those cheek-bones do you really expect me to take you for a girl?

On the other hand,when I dated men, they almost always had a lot of strong female characteristics, and I’m often attracted to women with strong masculine traits. I’m not sure why taking it to that next level bothers me so much?

Maybe it’s the question: How do I deal with attraction to someone who reads like a butch woman–which I want, but perceives themselves as man–which I don’t want…maybe even has man parts? That’s the problem that I have with a Trans Man that I met recently—I mean, even as a woman, he’s not really my type…but he’s just attractive enough to cause that internal dissonance.

One of my Dad’s housemates growing up was an openly Bi, Pagan, full figured woman. I always saw her as exemplary of strong femaleness. Not femininity, but the essence on woman-ness.

Then the last time I saw her, she looked a little more butch, short haircut and what-not. Still I was shocked when he told me to call him Mike.

Bah maybe when I’m 60 we can all be post-gender!

The Reluctant Femme

If I was to write a blog with a less confrontational name, I would call it “The Reluctant Femme.”

I’ve never felt such pressure to be feminine since I’ve been actively engaging in the lesbian communities. I know I bring a lot of this on myself, since I seem to be attracted to bois, tombois, and–my favorite–studs. I’m attracted to women right up to the razors-edge of Trans. (I don’t think I’d want to date a woman who was actively trying to turn herself into a man. I support his right to do it, but I think that the chemical and physical alterations would turn me off.)

Of course, I’m also attracted to femmes. But the thing is, I can pull both dressed as a femme, and I can only pull femmes as a butch.  (And I don’t think I would be attracted to the kind of butch who likes other butches.)

I’ve been having dramatic gender-identity swings: I feel like a femme to a butch and a butch to a femme. But I do have a preference for butch women, and they want femmes!

I keep being told I’m a femme, and  I dress very femme when I go out to the club…but then the next day I wear my baggiest jeans, boots, a big T and chain. I’m a big woman with broad shoulders, and never learned the lady-like thing all that well, so trying to be femme can actually be harder than being butch…but I don’t yet know which side I’ll end up coming down on. If I come down…

After one of my “boi day’s” as I call them–which happen about once a week–I’m tired of the hostile looks from other butches (hilariously, the butch at my office practically hisses at me like a cat guarding her territory when I dress butch, but is totally friendly when I’m dressed femme) and some men–tired of, I don’t know–the type of energy I’m putting out…and I settle back into my normal girl jeans, blouse and necklace–my  low-key femme thing.

I can’t help it if I like auto mechanics and knitting

Fixing computers and fixing dinner.

That I worked for years as an adult to teach myself how to apply make-up–only to have my date ask why I don’t wear any!

The closest thing I had to a successful relationship was a totally non-sexual arrangement I had with a male friend of mine: he cooked and cleaned and took care of my kids, and I went to school and worked, paid the bills and shopped.

Which makes me think I should cut my hair and find a nice femme to settle down with.

And then I see a sexy stud across the room, and just want to giggle and twirl my hair.

I’m Not a Stud-I’m Just Stud Curious

I had way too much fun as a stud last night.

First we had to go the costume shop. As I helped my friend with Tina with some last-minute costuming, I noticed the costume girl smiling at me a little flirtatious, giving me that “extra” smile. It’s hard to know when a woman is smiling at me if she’s just being friendly or if she likes me, usually I don’t know if she can tell I’d even be interested. In this case it was such a knowing, friendly look that I knew she knew I was into girls…then I realized how I looked.

I realized that, dressed as I was, anyone could look at me and just know that I’m gay. And what a liberating feeling that was.

***

I rolled into the club with my girl Tina–I had my fitted cap cocked to the side and my street strut on. The first place I hit was the men’s room (you can do that on a Lesbian night.) As I washed my hands the boi next to me fiddled with her hat.

“I can’t wear ball caps.” She complained. Her green cap was on backwards over her long blond hair. She had that clean-cut college boi look going on.

“You’re wearing one now.” I observed.

“Yeah, but you don’t understand…I don’t usually dress like this.”

“You look good.” I said. “What do you think of mine?”

“Well yeah, you look good!” She replied with a tinge of exasperation, “But I can tell you wear a cap all the time!”

“Actually I don’t.” I said, smirking slightly. “I’m a femme.”

“Really?” She looked me over skeptically.

“Yeah. This is my costume. I call it my ex’s worst nightmare. Actually–she’s probably here tonight–well, she wasn’t really my girlfriend.” I amend hastily as Carlotta, a woman I know steps out of one of the stalls. The pseudo boi I’m talking to gets distracted talking to her and I slip out to join my friend by the bar.

Now the thing about Carlotta is that shortly after I started talking to Mena (the stud I used to have a thing with) she was talking about a Spanish girl she was considering, but decided against fucking because she was bi and too boyish. (Or maybe she did sleep with her, would she tell me?) Every time we went out to the club Carlotta was constantly either trying to dance with Mena, or dancing seductively with a slender white femme in front of her. Me she either glared at or favored with sickly sweet smiles. Finally I introduced myself to her, and she said she was a “very close friend” of Mena’s. Even after it ended with Mena, I always dreaded seeing Carlotta at the club.

So imagine my feelings as Carlotta stood next to me at the bar ordering a drink–and my shock as she favored me with a genuine and flirtatious smile.

“So how are you doing tonight Carlotta?” I asked her gamely.

“Oh my god!” She replied. “How do you know my name?” She really didn’t recognize me as a stud! I guess the clothes really do make the man.

***

Tina and I headed to our usual corner at the edge of the dance floor. As we walked my ex caught my eye where she sucked the light out of the opposite corner: a small thick dark stud dressed in green-embroidered black. Smoke swathed the room. Multi-colored lights danced off women all colors, shapes and sizes in a riot of costumes. Strong thick studs strode the room in hard scary costumes. Curvaceous femmes swayed in slinky costumes that revealed just too much booty.

Tina and I danced. It was strange dancing in my stud clothes: the baggy pants constricted my movement, while at the same time I felt I had to be harder, more aggressive in my movement. I definitely felt that dressed this way I could act out parts of myself that I normally repress or try to conceal.

I also wasn’t entirely focused on dancing because my attention kept being pulled like a star ship to a black hole towards Mena.

After we danced for a while I wandered the floor, dancing either by myself or with the women there. At one point Carlotta and I had a very sexy go on the floor. She obviously liked me as a stud, and I liked her as a friendly person.

Finally I wound up near Mena. After dancing not far from her for a while, somehow we ended up face to face.

“I miss my friend.” She told me. We talked a bit, and danced. She laughed in a friendly way at my costume, giving me a dap like a man.

I agreed to drive her home and Tina and her seemed to hit it off. Walking home we talked dirty and checked out all the scandalously dressed women roaming the night.

***

I woke up the next morning with a deep feeling of peace.