I didn’t realise I was transgender until my mid-twenties. Growing up I knew that something was awry, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was. There wasn’t much information about trans people when I was a kid. The most I saw was from late night documentaries on channel four in which trans women spoke about being a ‘woman trapped in a man’s body.’
It was always filmed in a ‘look at the weirdos’ fashion that makes my skin crawl just thinking back on it. I do think that a lot of my internal transphobia in the beginning of my transition came from those documentaries. And due to only seeing trans women being talked about, I didn’t think that it could be done the other way too. Of course looking back it should have been logical to think that transgender men could exist. But I was a child, both fascinated and frightened by what I was watching.
I came out as transgender first and then a few years later I came out as gay. I suppose I just wanted to have to deal with one thing. Thinking that, if I could make things simpler for myself, if I could just try to be as ‘normal’ as I could; then life might be a little easier. But, life is rarely simple or easy.
As expected, me coming out as gay brought out more questions. But mostly, it had confused people. Some had been under the impression that I had transitioned so that I could date and be in relationships with women. After pointing out several times that lesbians do indeed exist and that if I was a lesbian, then I wouldn’t be transitioning, a couple of people slowly started to get it. But most were still unsure and often the words ‘real man’ would come up.
How would I expect a gay man to want me? Why would they date me when they could have a ‘real man?’ Would I be getting surgery ‘down there’? Because that’s the only way I could persuade a gay man to go out with me.
( I would like to point out that these people are no longer my friends )
As much as I tried to ignore this, it was something that filtered into my sub-conscience and I ended up thinking about it far more than I wanted to. My google search history became a long series of the same question asked in different ways.
Would a gay man date a trans man?
Do cis gay men have trans man boyfriends?
How to get a boyfriend if you are transgender?
The information I got back didn’t look good at all. I had managed to stumble upon a couple of TERF forums which probably didn’t help. And then there were the forums in which trans men were asking the same things I was, posing the question to cis gay men ( instead of just aimlessly throwing questions at google ).
The responses I found were mixed. There were a few who said they would be happy to date a trans man, some said that they’d consider it if the trans man in question was ‘masculine enough’, others said they weren’t sure. And then of course there were the ones who decided that harping on about needing a ‘real man’ with a ‘real dick’ was the right option.
Real sensitive of you there, guys. Thanks for that one.
It’s because of these worries that I am still slinking around the edges of the gay community. This was going to be a blog post about my first time in a gay club as a gay man, but it seems to have veered sharply off into another direction. But that first real ( for me ) night in the gay club still has a place here I think. I had wanted to go for such a long time, but that fear was there. What if I wasn’t gendered correctly? What if someone ‘found out’ I was transgender? I have been trying to be ‘stealth’ in order to just get on with life and not be bothered. And so the idea of being outed in the middle of a club was terrifying to me.
I am certain that no one would have really cared, and if someone was put off by it, then they wouldn’t stick around and nothing of value would be lost. But that fear clung to me and I needed to just jump in and, in a way, get it over and done with.
By the time I managed to go to a gay club, I was being gendered correctly 90% of the time and I hoped that would be enough. I took one of the housemates with me as back up and took a couple of shots of liquid courage. I had no real goal, only to go out and dance with my friend and have a good time. Bonus points if I got to dance with a cute guy – But not the main objective.
I did in fact get to dance with a cute guy, but alas! Due to me not knowing the flirting etiquette, I gave the impression that I wasn’t interested in anything other than a friendly wriggle on the dance-floor. And yes, I wasn’t really ready for more than that, but I still kicked myself when I realised. I’d accidentally been playing hot and cold with him, and I feel rather bad about that.
I’m kind of learning as I go. Learning how to date, figuring out how to navigate hook ups and in general I’d like to get more gay friends with whom I can talk about these kinds of things. I am very lucky to have Comic Dad ( Pseudonym used to protect both our identities ) and his lovely Husband in my life. He takes and answers my questions graciously and holds my hand as I pick my way across certain minefields.
I shall go more into the actual experience of being gendered correctly in a gay club and how that felt in a different post as this one is getting rather long. But I am glad to say that the world didn’t end, the sky didn’t fall and no one begrudged me being there.
There have been other times after that which didn’t go as well. But I will tell you that story another time.
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