Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I'm going on a field trip tomorrow night- a friend of mine is taking me to the Eagle for Code Night. It's a gay leathermen's bar, and on Thursday nights they enforce a dress code: leather and uniforms only. I'm going to whip out my leather pants for the occasion, and my friend told me that I would probably be fine wearing those and a white tank- he could loan me a uniform shirt if I wanted or, he told me, "since you've had surgery, you could just take your shirt off!"

I certainly could, but it's funny to me that he'd assume that I'd be fine and anxiety free about taking off my shirt in front of a bunch of gay men I've never met before. Certainly before I'd had surgery, I envisioned surgery as an answer to all of my chest anxieties, as an utterly freeing experience. It definitely has been freeing, to the point where I hardly remember anymore what it was like to be worried about my chest and whether my breasts were visible...but I remember enough to not be so eager to give up the safety/invisibility that a t-shirt gives me and my scars.

Particularly in a space where I know my masculinity is going to be noticed and evaluated (hello, gay bar!), I'm still wary about taking off my shirt, at least now while my scars are still pink against my pale, relatively chesthair-free skin. I'm not saying that I intend to try to hide my trans identity/experience from anyone that I meet, but it'd be nice to keep feeling like I have some measure of control over who is aware of the complexities of my manhood.
I know part of why I'm feeling wary again is a combination of nervousness about entering an environment that I'm unfamiliar with but excited about (the Eagle) and some tiredness from yet another interaction I've had recently with a well-meaning but totally drunk and therefore pretty out-of-line acquaintance.

In the event that I do get around to publishing a book, or taking part in anymore Trans 101 seminars, I think I'm going to try to get the word out about a few things that are pretty much not okay to say to me, or whichever transdude you've managed to corner . Topping the list:

1. "Do you like your vagina? Are you going to keep it? Are you going to get a [real] penis?"
2. "What was your name...before?"
3. "You are soooo good looking! I never would have known you were trans!"

Maybe later I'll have time to get into some of my thoughts about why these aren't questions that are particularly appropriate to ask, but at the time, I've mostly just tried to be good natured about them- particularly since, as I've mentioned before, it's not very easy to explain to drunk people why they're being offensive. And I figure it's a bit easier on everyone to hold my ground and refuse to answer truly offensive questions, but be a bit indulgent on ones that are merely curious, if perhaps inappropriate. Particularly when they come from someone whom I'm fond of, or whom I know to be a generally good hearted individual.

At any rate, it does make me a bit nervous about going into gay men's space, because I seem to be entering the phase of my transition where I'm hardly ever read as trans, and if and when I do "reveal" my status, I have to put up with a bunch of left-handed compliments about how "good" I look...that is to say, how "real" I look. Almost like a real boy, not one of those trannies!
On another note, I updated my voice posts last week with # 17. I don't think there's been much difference for a while, but I'm hoping my voice will continue to fill out and mature over the next couple of years- much like my beard!

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