By Matt Kailey
I recently participated in a book reading at the Mercury Cafe in Denver, offering up a couple of essays from my latest book, Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects.
Here is “Let’s See What You’ve Got.” (Note: The text of the essay follows the video.)
Let’s See What You’ve Got
“I’ve never met a female-to-male transsexual before.”
Yes, of course. I get this all the time
from gay men. But this particular gay man had just spent the last
fifteen years living in San Francisco. If a gay man lives in San
Francisco for fifteen years and has never met an FTM transsexual person,
I can only assume that he spent those fifteen years:
C) in a hut on the far side of Alcatraz island.
Almost every major urban center in the
United States is teeming with trans men. If we don’t live there already,
we often migrate there in search of a more welcoming community, better
access to health care and other resources, and a larger trans population
with which to connect. San Francisco, with its rainbow flags down
Market Street and its “anything goes” Castro district, is particularly
attractive, especially for gay trans men.
In reality, my fine gay friend from San
Francisco, who apparently had to come to Denver, Colorado, to actually
meet a trans man, has probably met many of them throughout his decade
and a half in the City by the Bay – he just doesn’t know it. Thanks to
the incredible transformative powers of testosterone, trans men rarely
have to come out publicly unless we choose to, and we are hardly ever
read as trans, even if someone is looking extra hard.
This invisibility is great for someone
who is trying to quietly assimilate into mainstream culture, but it can
lead to a lot of misunderstandings, unpleasantness, and even downright
nastiness if the guy is simply trying to get a date or a trick for the
night. A non-trans gay man can quickly turn ugly when he picks up a guy
and then finds out later that his cute trick doesn’t have the expected
“equipment,” no matter how hot the guy is overall.
This particular predicament is cause for
ongoing discussion in trans man space: when, exactly, do you come out
to your potential partner or one-night-stand? I always advocate for a
“the-sooner-the-better” approach, primarily for safety reasons. I have
no desire to be in a strange apartment in a strange neighborhood with a
strange (and maybe rather large and burly) guy who suddenly feels that I
have “betrayed” him by not intimately discussing my physical
configuration beforehand. It’s true that I might get rejected and left
standing at the bar with only my beer for company, but I’ll take that
chance a lot faster than I’ll take a chance with my physical safety.
The guys who feel as if they don’t need
to go into a “tell-all” confession prior to a little play have a very
good point, however – how many non-trans gay guys honestly share their
stats before leaving a bar or a party with someone? I’m not talking
about all those 9-inched hunks who only seem to exist on the pages of
the personals. I’m talking about real guys who hook up in real
circumstances. Unless you both strip down right where you are and show
each other all the goods, there might be any number of things about your
trick that will disappoint you, and vice versa. These things don’t come
with a written guarantee.
So while I’m all for safety (mostly
mine), I also understand the desire for privacy and anonymity, along
with a person’s right to possess the body he has without explanations or
disclaimers. We’re out there. You’ve met us, whether you know it or
not. And we’re not trying to fool you. We’re just being ourselves,
looking for the same things that you are.
So – let’s see what you’ve got.
This post originally appeared on Matt Kailey's award-winning website Tranifesto.com. Republished with permission.