xxboy Meets World

When Laneia and Riese first contacted me about writing for Autostraddle, I had a whole bunch of mixed emotions.

The fanboy in me who’d read every Real L Word recap pretty religiously had an “OMG THEY LIKE ME?!” moment.

The queer in me was honored and excited about the opportunity to write for a site that is so prominent in the world of non-hetero culture.

The man in me felt a little out of place and possibly ignored.

The opportunist wondered if this would help me get jobs and/or girlfriends.

And the pragmatist in me thought, “Well there are a lot of trans men that aren’t going to get this.”

You see, I am a man who was assigned “female” at birth. And I lived as a female for 21 years before I transitioned (more on that in a later post). I am a transgender man. For some trans men, the trans part of our identities is nothing more than a medical condition or a piece of our past that is no longer relevant. For others, being transgender is something a little more significant. I fall in this latter group. My experience living as a girl and as a female for so long and my experience transitioning to and living as a man are central to my identity – to who I am and who I am becoming.

But I am a man. And my initial understanding of Autostraddle was that it was a “lesbian site.” THE lesbian site. Was there room for me as a man on a site covering “girl-on-girl culture”? Would my writing for them mean inaccurately emphasizing the female part of my history and downplaying the male part of my present and future? Would their lesbian readers want me there? Could they welcome me as a queer-identifying, straight-leaning dude? Would my trans readers resent me for thinking I could be included in this female-focused arena?

When I wrote to The Editors about my concerns they broke it down for me, explaining that “indeed [Autostraddle is] lady-focused, but not lady-exclusive.” They wrote, “We hate the gender binary thing and want to celebrate gender and sexuality diversity. We really really really want to talk as often as possible about re-conceptualizing gender in general.”

Well, as one of those trans men who identifies with his past as a woman without seeing it as a challenge to his maleness, I definitely am an example of a re-conceptualization of gender.

I also identify as queer. I was recently asked how I could identify as a straight guy and as queer. (I am attracted almost exclusively to women and would categorize my sexuality as largely heterosexual.) I listed multiple reasons in the initial answer, but the gist of it is that I acknowledge that I identify with parts of my past that are not solely male and with parts that are not solely heterosexual, and I ultimately believe that queer is more of a mindset. Riese shared a quote with me from Jack Halberstam that seems to fit quite well: “The sexual encounter is queer because both partners are queer and the genders of the participants are less relevant.”

2006 to 2010

So I’m a queer straight dude who has some interesting and important (if I do say so myself) insight on gender, gender relations, gender transition, transgenderism, sex, sexuality, pop culture, politics, and all sorts of queer things. And it seems to me (and to Autostraddle) that I may just be a good fit after all.

And in closing, I’ll get serious for a bit and say that I think it is important for us queers to stick together rather than adhering to identity boundaries and other lines drawn in the sand. Being a woman interested in “girl-on-girl” sexuality is a form of sexuality variance. Being a man who lived as a woman and has two X chromosomes is a form of gender variance. It’s not the same thing, but we’re both battling against assumed and socially enforced norms and struggling for large-scale identity affirmation. I’m thrilled to be a part of this step toward a more inclusive exploration of gender and sexuality diversity.

Profile photo of Sebastian

Sebastian has written 16 articles for us.

217 Comments

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          I have been with Autostraddle since it was just L Word recaps, like about 2 yrs. I am a very pro-gay person. I don;t know what it is specifically but I just like gay culture. I’m almost like a gay groupie. My sister and boss said that I am a gay man trapped in a woman’s body but anyway..

          First and foremost Autostraddle is a great site; witty, informative, cool,serious, alternative, sarcastic, silly, dorky, open minded, mainstream, entertaining, etc. It’s filled with the best of contradictions. Autostraddle has a unique blend of niche and mainstream focuses that you rarely find but that are so necessary to becoming a well rounded person. I also like that there is an open forum to discuss various things with people from all over the world with various identities and perspectives. Plus I like reading and making comments. Autostraddle has exposed me to so many important/amazing/entertaining things and until they kick the straights out I will always be a loyal fan.

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            Love this comment, couldn’t agree more. You’ve been around these parts forever and I’ve always appreciated your perspective. The day when the straight girls get kicked out will never come – lesbians love straight girls, I mean have you seen the formspring? (Lol, I kid.) But seriously never leave.

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            Word. I got hooked via TLW recaps. From elementary school, I’ve been interested in queer culture. I was never a boy-crazy girl, so once I got to university, I thought, “Maybe I like girls?” I started watching TLW…I KNOW that it truly is not representative of lesbian culture as a whole, but I wanted to make sure that if I realized that I was gay, that I’d be okay with it. I wanted some sort of proof that it wasn’t this “underground” thing that no one talked about.

            Alas, I like dong (sorry!). Nonetheless, I remain VERY pro-gay. At the risk of sounding weird (not sure how you’ll take the comment…I mean no offense!), I’m one of the gayest straight girls you’ll ever meet. I like to challenge my (if not bible thumping, then very conservative) family to think differently. I have a somewhat queer perspective on many things (I think, at least for a straight person). I read up on issues in the gay community. As far as I’m concerned, these are not “gay”, “lesbian”, “transgender”, or even “woman” issues. These are HUMAN issues.

            Honestly, I’m on AS more often than any other site. I like that it’s intelligent and informative, but also hilarious and snarky.

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            Y’all are totally not alone. My sister-in-law is pretty much as straight as they come (she gets it that women can be attractive, but they lack that… certain something, she says), but she is actually more comfortable in our mostly-gay social circle. She comes out swing dancing with me & my wife, hangs out with our mostly-homogay friends, and all that. So, yeah, welcome allies. We like you. We actually got the tagline of the dance night we go to changed to list allies along with the whole rest of the alphabet soup of queerity.

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      Omg yes. Glad i’m not the only one that feels this way. Intellectually I feel guilty because i DON’T want to mean disrespect in any way, but my feelings/attractions haven’t seemed to get the memo yet…

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      yeah that comic is really not ok. “they transform their bodies to pass as male”

      are you kidding me? no how about we are male and we transform our bodies to fix a medical defect, not to “pass” (offensive term BTW)

      and not all trans men are gender variant or have a “transformation of gender perception”

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        Looks like you missed the memo after the comic:

        “Clarity for Posterity: In no way did I intend to imply through my imperfect wording that transgendered men are women masquerading as men, as that is absolutely not an opinion that I hold :)”

        I really doubt it was the intention of the writer to imply what you’re saying.

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        it was probably not her intention to insult/disrespect anyone anyways, she used the vocabulary she knew to describe things from her point of view, not realizing her error/lack of education on the matter, being a lady-lover, her slang is going to mostly be woman-centered

        also, nearly ALL the lesbians i know are scared out of their minds of this exact reaction, which is why they don’t know how you feel about it, which is why this situation happens in the first place

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          saying that it was not her intention to insult or disrespect anyone is irrelevant. you may not have the intention of being ignorant but that doesn’t make you any less ignorant. i can go about saying things that are homophobic, racist, sexist, etc and i might not intend to insult anyone, i might be completely ignorant that i’m offending people, but that doesn’t really matter does it? that’s not the point. the point is that the comic is offensive to some trans men. case closed. end of story.

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          That comic always puts me on edge because it does single trans men out as being inherently different from cis (non-trans men). And it is offensive

          I thought her apology was appropriate and I think it should be tacked onto the original comic so as to avoid further misuse.

          But I will also say that Amanda is very right that often times discussion halts because people are afraid to sound ignorant. And then ignorance continues. I hope to be able to discuss this particular issue of lesbian attraction to trans men as well as the issue of offensive vocabulary (that most non-trans people don’t know i offensive) in future articles on here.

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            I think one of the things the strip doesn’t say and is something that is attractive to some of us gay/queer girls is the fact that although we are in no case saying you are not men, the struggle you went through to have the people surrounding you accept that you are men does make you different from cisgender male, in that they never had to even think about gender theory in general and know nothing about queer matters. The fact that you are trans* does make you queer, even though you are perfectly in your right to want to put that behind you.
            I’m not sure I’m expressing this properly, mostly because English isn’t my first language and it’s hard to put my thoughts into words, so I hope this isn’t offensive to you or anyone. If it was, I apologize.

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    OMG EXCITED.

    xxboy is one of my favorite blogs, and I’m really excited to see more of your writing here, especially because I’m a queer trans guy too. It sometimes feels weird being on this site, because I still identify so strongly with queer women and those communities, but I am totes not a queer woman anymore.

    But yeah, I totally “get it.”

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    Absolutely. Awesome. Article.

    I very much look forward to continuing to read your articles, your perspectives, and your experiences as a straight queer trans man :)

    Anything that speaks to your lived experience and speaks against the gender binary rocks my world, as a girl and boy lovin’ (cis) girl. Trans issues are queer issues are gay/lesbian issues are human issues.

    Loved this: “And in closing, I’ll get serious for a bit and say that I think it is important for us queers to stick together rather than adhering to identity boundaries and other lines drawn in the sand. Being a woman interested in “girl-on-girl” sexuality is a form of sexuality variance. Being a man who lived as a woman and has two X chromosomes is a form of gender variance.”

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    I’m looking forward to reading your perspective, but frankly am more interested, as a woman who is attracted to women in women writing for this, and more specifically trans women.

    If autostraddle is bringing in a ftm perspective, I’m curious about the regular MtF writers it might have, that I’ve never encountered especially here, and if not, about what you’re going to do to support more trans female participation in what is, essentially, a women’s space.

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          As another FTM who’s lurked on Autostraddle through the start of my transition and felt serious ambivalence about hanging out in a rad women’s space, because I don’t want to be That Guy Who Crashes The Girl Party but I still adore & primarily fall for dykes and my dyke history is a crucial part of who I am and how I got here. So I’m glad Sebastian’s blogging here now, and am excited to feel slightly less like an interloper.

          But I see where K’s coming from, because I wondered the same thing: if Auto’s embracing gender variance and a vast range of perspectives, where are the transwomen? I’m always enraged that dyke spaces will still often welcome me while edging my MTF girlfriend out. Transwomen face blatant, brutal misogyny so frequently in this world, and having doors slammed shut by a community that prides itself on acceptance is especially disheartening. Just sayin’.

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            As a transwoman, I would have to agree with your post in that I have felt discriminated against by many lesbian groups, as not being a *real* lesbian, etc. However, I think Autostraddle as a whole is not really like that. The lack of MtF perspective, I imagine, probably occurs because they probably don’t know the right person to write for them, either because most FtM are afraid to out themselves to lesbians (I know I am still wondering if I should post this) or because they are just now breaking into the trans-perspective and it is probably easier for a ciswoman to understand a transman’s perspective than a transwoman’s.

            Just my two cents, I hope I don’t offend anyone and please correct me if I’m wrong!

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    I have a secret, which is that actually I have followed Sebastian’s blog for…over a year now? I’ve always thought Auto would make an excellent home, maybe just because I like you and also I write here and secretly want to be your friend. NOW WE CAN BE FRIENDS, RIGHT?

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      Hold the phone! You’re a Smithie?? Awesome! As a fellow Smithie who has a few trans Smithie friends I have always been too shy to ask how they negotiate the having gone to a women’s college and the job search.

      I imagine it sometimes goes like the time when I struck up a conversation in the elevator with a random professor and when he found out I went to Smith for undergrad he proceeded to ask if it was co-ed now. I assured him it was not. I caught him doing an awkward boob check and then we said our goodbyes. I hope he has as much fun telling that story as I do.

      So yeah, I imagine it goes something like that minus the boob check and more the oh so now it’s co-ed thing. I’m sure your future writings will probably cover work/employment challenges, but I hope you will address that particular twist on your story as well.

      Oh, and if it wasn’t clear: So glad you’ll be joining the Autostraddle team!

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          Hi Smithies! I believe I have the honor of having been in the first class that graduated a legally-transitioned guy. I think.

          I’m actually also really interested in the whole women’s-college-on-the-resume issue. I know of at least one person who left a women’s college for his senior year so that his resume would list a co-ed school as the degree, even though he loved the school he was at.

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            I’m a stealth trans guy who graduate from Smith. So far, nobody has ever questioned me about going to Smith. Most people think it has gone co-ed already like most of the other 7 sister schools. Or sometimes people assume I was in a special 5 college program (which do exist). I have said the whole “Every year a few men graduate from Smith” line, which is not a lie, and nobody has questioned me any time I’ve said that. Also there are quite a few grad programs at Smith which are co-ed and a lot of people know about those. When people look at me they see a guy who they assume is cis because I’m stereotypically masculine (hairy, beefy, etc) and the last thing on their minds is “maybe he is trans” because for most cis people that is so far removed from their thinking, especially when they look at me. Even when I tell someone I am trans, like a close friend, a lot of the time they don’t believe me at first because I look so masculine and they assume trans people are androgynous or gender ambiguous-looking.

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            I go to Mount Holyoke and I find this conversation so interesting– especially that our policy (Smith’s too, I believe) is that people whose birth certificates happen to be marked ‘female’ are allowed to apply, not transwomen. There’s a huge moral dichotomy for me because I love Mount Holyoke as it is- a women’s college- but also realize that this identification is problematic. One of my best friends is FTM and he has remained at the school because it is a perfect fit for him, but he also struggles with the questions that come with his diploma, job interviews, etc. We had a discussion about it last year with students + administrators about this issue, and our ideal solution was that it become a gender-neutral “historically queer college”, which would never happen, but we can dream, right

            P.S. Most of the Seven Sisters have actually not gone co-ed. Only Vassar. Radcliffe doesn’t exist anymore, but the rest are still women’s colleges : )

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            “people whose birth certificates happen to be marked ‘female’ are allowed to apply, not transwomen.”

            actually, trans women could apply but only if they have already had their birth certificates changed. you do know that trans people can change their birth certificates after surgery right?

            there was an ada student at smith who was a trans woman a few years back

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            Ally, i was speaking more to the case of students of traditional age who might not have had the opportunity to change their certificates yet

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      Welcome! I have not read your blog, but I will check it out, and I’m super excited to read what you have to say on Autostraddle. Gender is a fascinating and confusing topic for me, and I appreciate a different point of view on this subject.

      As a Smithie I am also interested in the experiences of “men who graduated from women’s colleges,” either as transmen or biological males from grad programs. I don’t know if you’ll be speaking about your college experiences here, but I think that’s an important conversation for Autostraddle.

      Also, my cat’s name is Sebastian, and I am absolutely in love with him.

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        just so you know, the term “biological males” is considered offensive to many trans men. please use the term “cis male” or “cis man” instead.

        the reason “biological” is offensive is because trans men ARE biologically men. biologically speaking, there is much more to sex than chromosomes.

        i’m pretty sure sebastian has written more about why the term cis is more accurate than “bio” on his blog.

        he has also written a lot about men at women’s colleges.

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          Well said “trans educator”. This is why I’m so excited to write for Autostraddle. If I had never written this article, “saltybox” would have never made her comment (which was largely well-written) and unknowingly used an inaccurate/possibly-offensive term and “trans educator” wold not have had the opportunity to politely correct that terminology for her and whomever else is reading this and didn’t know before.

          Hoorah!

          And yes. I use “cisgender” and “cis” to refer to non-trans people. Some members of the community just use the term “non-trans”. I like using these because it is a way of saying “trans” is not a signifier to my maleness. I am a trans man, he is a non-trans or cis man. We’re both men. If I used biological male as the “opposite” of trans men, it sets up trans men as not being biologically male which is almost as offensive as calling non-trans men “real men.” By the way, cis is pronounced “siss”

          And I will add Smith and women’s schools to my list of topic ideas for AS articles.

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    What a refreshing perspective…This made me laugh and cry a little. Mostly, though, it made me really proud to be a part of this community. Thank you Sebastian – I really look forward to reading more from you.

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    <quote.For some trans men, the trans part of our identities is nothing more than a medical condition or a piece of our past that is no longer relevant. For others, being transgender is something a little more significant. I fall in this latter group. My experience living as a girl and as a female for so long and my experience transitioning to and living as a man are central to my identity – to who I am and who I am becoming.

    For some trans men, it is both – they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I acknowledge my history as female and do not hide it, but I refuse to encourage lesbians to claim me as a source of pride and education.

    And as a queer man, would you feel the same way about writing for a straight male publication or a gay male one as well? Does it bother you that these types of publications will never ask you because you were born female? You will always be relegated to women’s publications – your choice to accept this position does nothing to change the fact that most people see you as woman. In fact, your decision to highlight this fact makes it more difficult for other trans men to be taken seriously as men.

    Autostraddle hiring you as a voice for “re-conceptualizing gender” makes the editors seem lazy – how am I not surprised that a lesbian-focused publication chooses a trans man to educate them about gender? Answer: I’m not. It’s been done a million times and will continue until we really start re-conceptualizing gender in ways that don’t reinforce cissexist ideas, like assuming that a trans man could communicate with women about gender better than any other kind of person.

    Where are the trans women? When will you hire one of them to educate you? Did you even try?

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      Autostraddle hiring you as a voice for “re-conceptualizing gender” makes the editors seem lazy – how am I not surprised that a lesbian-focused publication chooses a trans man to educate them about gender?

      We’re not “choosing a trans man to educate us about gender” or be The Only Voice for re-conceptualizing gender. Everyone here is that voice, and everyone approaches the material from their own entirely specific gender identity and everyone is a unique special snowflake, including the gay and straight men who’ve written for us. The main “goal” here, if any, is just more inclusiveness, and uncensored representation of underrepresented queer voices. Taking that statement out of the context of the post and imposing your own pre-conceived ideas about how all lesbians feel about all transmen onto it is dangerous and ultimately counterproductive. Every human, regardless of gender identity, is entitled to choose for themselves which varying communities they engage with — even you!

      If you care to converse about these issues in a tone that isn’t antagonistic, judgmental and condescending, we can do so. Your comment is an example of the exact behavior I believe you are condemning, w/r/t making assumptions, generalizations and stereotypes about a certain group of people. There’s no need to bring negative energy into this thread when everybody has good intentions, regardless of your personal perception.

      You’ll catch more bees with honey than vinegar around here.

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        Perhaps you are different, but it doesn’t change the fact that historically trans men are allowed in lesbian spaces and are encouraged to educate them about gender. Trans women are similarly NOT allowed. Your reasoning doesn’t sound very different from the reasoning I’ve heard from other lesbians regarding this fact.

        You also ignored my questions about trans women and instead told me that you’ve asked straight and gay men to post here. I didn’t ask about that, as having Bastien (a queer straightish man) already revealed that you do in fact ask gay and straight men to write for you. So, I’ll ask again, did you search for other writers, specifically trans women?

        I’m not interested in catching bees and I could care less about what you think of the tone of my comment. I just want to know what your reasoning was – because so far, I’m just not buying your assertion that you are a special snowflake that is immune to acting in the cissexist ways that everyone is trained to do.

        Also, you’re right, every person has a right to do whatever they want to do. I have also the right to criticize those actions – a fact that you don’t seem to appreciate.

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          i addressed only one aspect of your comment and told you i would discuss other things and answer other questions if you cared to share your criticism in a tone that is not disrespectful, condescending or antagonistic. you have a right to criticize, i’m not taking that away from you — i also have a right to not engage.

          if you genuinely wished to open our minds to your opinion, increase understanding or promote more genuine inclusion; you wouldn’t do so by calling us names and insulting us or judging us harshly based on “history” rather than familiarity with our website or, i guess, assuming that this is the last writer we will ever hire and today is the last day we’ll publish anything.

          you say it yourself — you’re not interested in ‘catching bees’ and i’m not gonna wade around in vinegar all afternoon for no reason.

          thank you for sharing your viewpoint, i will think about it.

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            I don’t know, I think the history argument holds at least a little weight. Ignoring the historical treatment of FTM men seems to be taking a page from Derailing for Dummies.

            On the other hand, I feel like Kian isn’t taking a few things into account. First, as you said, Autostraddle does take great pains to be inclusive! Secondly, he (I’m assuming, sorry if I got that wrong) seems to be treating Sebastian as a passive party in this whole situation. I’m sure he has his reasons for wanting to write for Autostraddle – hell, he laid his reasons *right out on the page.*

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            i’m not ignoring the history argument, i don’t know what i said to imply that, sorry. i’m very well aware of the history… i mean, we’re trying to change that history, obvi. if that argument was delivered in respectful, productive language which implied a desire to exchange ideas rather than just yell with no clear point/desire in mind, i would have addressed that argument, and other issues raised, in depth, but it wasn’t. i can’t believe you just linked me to derailing for dummies, dina!! zomg.

            i agree that i think the most important thing is that sebastian explained his motivations and feelings in the piece very well and i don’t see kiran’s comment as a reaction to the piece itself so much as it seems to be a general complaint about lesbian/trans relations in general.

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            This website is all about the inclusiveness anyway. I mean for reals, we have a blogger that’s a chihuahua who’s is love with a dinosaur People just have to give it time.

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        The only reason I was even lead to this website is because I follow Sebastien on tumblr. I wasn’t looking for a fight.

        I called you lazy because your choices were lazy. Trans men are always included in lesbian spaces – this is nothing new. You’re acting like you’re breaking new ground, when really, you’re not. You chose someone using the same reasons I’ve heard so many lesbians use to justify trans male inclusion in lesbian spaces while systematically ignoring trans women. I could have called you transphobic, but seeing as you like certain kinds of trans people, I figured I’d choose a less loaded term. And since you haven’t answered my questions and attacked me personally more than I’ve attacked you (I’m apparently condescending, negative and judgemental), I’m going to assume that you can’t actually respond to my points.

        For the record, I thought I was being polite seeing as my hands were shaking with rage and I managed to not call you more than just lazy.

        Inclusion for inclusion’s sake is good, but why can’t I ask why certain people are included and certain people aren’t? Why are you including a trans man in your space as a regular writer when you could have chosen a lesbian trans woman who would at least have more in common? In my mind, choosing a trans woman would have been the ultimate act of inclusion, considering how they are systematically excluded from women’s and lesbian spaces every day.

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          While I understand that people have their own spoons and limits on engagement (I certainly do), I appreciate that you’re speaking up for something that does sadly happen a lot in queer spaces – transmisogyny. I’m sorry that the tone argument is being thrown at you and I hope there will be a useful discussion out of this (though honestly, given the pileon that happened last year over the calendar -and- how it got picked on again at the end of the year, I’m not positive).

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            Tiara, I want to personally thank you for responding to Kian’s concerns in a useful way and for calling out the “tone argument” defense which is so often used to shut down discussion on trans-related issues. This is how you create genuine inclusion.

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            while transmisogyny may be a thing, this post, and this thread, is not an example of it. kian came in here and called the editors lazy, cissexist, and implied that they were transphobic even if he didn’t say it outright, which is rude. HE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE (jk)

            AND YOU KNOW WHAT??

            transwomen not being included in queer spaces is an important discussion, yes, but it doesn’t mean that ftm inclusion is less important or valid! everybody should be included! why are certain commenters hijacking sebastian’s space as though ‘oh YAWN ANOTHER TRANS GUY ON A LESBIAN SITE’ like wtf, suddenly we’re ‘over’ including transmen? ouch!

            i feel like people here are acting like trans is trans is trans and it’s insulting! i can’t think of any reason why people are bringing mtfs into this other than the fact that the author of this post is trans? transmen and transwomen have different histories, different links to the queer community via those histories, different identities, different reasons for wanting or not wanting access to different spaces. different stories of oppression and exclusion. including a transman on this site SAYS NOTHING about whether or not transwomen are welcome and it’s certainly not “transmisogyny.” this whole thing is fucking STUPID. it’s THREADJACKING.

            i personally would LOVE to hear about and talk about transwomen’s experiences of in/exclusion w/r/t the queer community. i would love to! but this is sebastian’s fucking first post! people need to back off and let the boy speak!

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            You obviously experience Kian’s posts as an act of hostility, which isn’t how I experience them at all. I think he was just pointing out a persistent issue in many queer women’s communities where trans men are included while trans women are not. It’s context. Why is that so threatening? Sebastian is an adult and, moreover, a trans adult, and knows very well what these conversations are about and their importance.

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            it’s not that it’s threatening, it’s that it’s derailing. coming into a post to complain about who’s not being included in said post is not exactly fresh material around here. and if kian or anyone else wants to see more trans women represented on AS he can communicate that with the editors via email, not slam them publicly on his (admitted) first visit to the website.

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            An important thing to remember.

            I know of a number of women’s/womyn’s-only events that do not allow trans men.

            Frankly, I think that if something is going to call itself women’s-only then it is appropriate that trans men not be there as we are not women. BUT I think there is definitely room for a discussion about how often such exclusive lines need to be drawn. (Not sure where I stand, by the way.)

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      “In fact, your decision to highlight this fact makes it more difficult for other trans men to be taken seriously as men.”

      There is no “universal” trans experience this speaks to, and it is offensive. Some people choose to embrace or emphasize different parts of their gender history/journey through gender.

      Links and resources (and good natured advice) would be welcomed and appreciated, as always

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        “There is no “universal” trans experience this speaks to, and it is offensive. ”

        THANK YOU. This is one person’s perspective as someone who is FTM. NOT EVERY FTM OR TRANS PERSON’S EXPERIENCE EVER just like Autostraddle is not EVERY LESBIAN’S EXPERIENCE EVER let’s cut this universal *insert favorite group* experience bullshit and just all be people sharing the experience of being people and sometimes having the same ideas and same things happen to us and sometimes being extracting the same meaning from things and sometimes (always) needing each other

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      i’m having a hard time figuring out what your beef is, exactly.

      sebastian shouldn’t contribute to autostraddle because while he identifies as male he was born female-bodied and people won’t fully understand or respect his male identity? transwomen would be better-suited to contribute because they identify as women? who’s being reductive now? do you assume all the readers of this site are cisgendered lesbians?

      nobody suggested that sebastian is here to “educate” everybody about gender, and sebastian didn’t claim that as his role either. nor did anyone suggest he’s here to speak on behalf of all transmen. he’s a writer. a good writer. he has ties to the queer and trans communities. he has his own online following and he chose to contribute to autostraddle by his own volition while also acknowledging, if you read the post, the complications that come with that and did so with admirable transparency. i’m sure that you, kian, can appreciate everyone’s right to self-determination; this is sebastian exercising his. you don’t speak for all transmen either, and it’s an insult to sebastian to suggest that he’s somehow making it harder for transmen to be accepted as men by contributing to a lesbian publication. what a reductive, exclusive and insular way of viewing our overlapping communities. autostraddle is one of the few publications serving the queer community that is constantly, actively seeking to better itself in terms of inclusivity and diversity of voices and experiences; this is a step in a positive direction and you’re grasping at straw men in an attempt to discredit it. and for what. as a newcomer to this site, coming into a post – especially a post that’s a departure in terms of inclusivity – to yell about who’s not being included is just. so. tired.

      i hear what you’re saying about transwomen not being historically given access to lesbian spaces. while that point is absolutely valid (though not absolute) it has nothing to do with sebastian’s post. transwomen’s voices would be more than welcome on this site and if you know any good writers, by all means refer them. otherwise stfu, you’re not helping.

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      In response to Kian’s first comment, I would easily write for a male publication with a largely straight audience. I fit there as well as I fit in a queer space, because I am a straight male. And I could actually foresee such a publication offering me a position someday. It is interesting that you think they wouldn’t – and I’d love to continue a discussion about that and what yr attitude might mean for trans men, though I feel that sort of discussion should really relocate to my xxboy blog on tumblr.

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    I want to hug autostraddle with my legs in friendship a million times. I’ve always felt included by autostraddle as a whatever it is I am, I don’t feel like it’s a site for lesbians, I feel like it is a site for me, made so I can be more informed/less alone/less bored/less hungry. I don’t know how they do it, but I feel the love.

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        You know, I think I come on autostraddle to feel loved…as well as the awesome witty/informative/moving writing. It’s like autostraddle is the big (queer) sister I don’t have :-)

        And I think this guy is an excellent addition to the writers! And I think given what is in the article and the comments you all do an excellent job of being thoughtful and respectful.

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    First off, welcome, Sebastian! You sound really interesting and smart, and I look forward to reading your posts.

    Also, I have to add, serious thanks to Riese and everyone working at Autostraddle. It is obvious how much you all care about this site, and it is unfair that you receive so much undue criticism. I could never run such a balanced, informative, sexy, and funny website, and I doubt many of your critics could either. So there!

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    welcome!!!!!!!!! it means a lot to see you here :’D so thank you :D my genderqueer/transquestioning boo and i have been going through a lot of crappy issues in our lives lately, so something heartwarming like this column appearing on one of my fave sites is really, really wonderful :’D imma stop with the teary smiley faces now, i swear…

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    This is fantastic and I look very forward to reading these articles!

    I would love to see some MTF voices on Autostraddle, too, although I’m guessing they’re not exactly knocking down your door at the moment. However, if you guys get the chance, that would be amazing. <3

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      I’m going to go head and post a picture of my genitals just to make sure we’re all squared away on this point. Everyone else is required to do this also. Critically important.

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      Also – just in the interests of education, since this person obviously knows very little about transitioning – depending on where you live, surgery is not necessary for legal sex-switching. And a lot of people opt not to have surgery at all, or only have top surgery, or only do hormones, or whatever. There are a lot of options.

      But, yes, just so you know, this is considered a really rude question. Think about if someone asked you personal questions about your genitals before even saying “Hello.”

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        For many trans people who want surgery, it isn’t affordable because we have to pay out of pocket (for the most part, there are some insurance companies which cover sex reassignment). But if you can’t afford or don’t want surgery, you can still transition hormonally and legally change your sex. In many states (but not all) you don’t need surgery to change the sex on your drivers license. So you can be “legally” male and just be on hormones and not have surgery in some states.

        Unfortunately, you do need surgery to change your sex marker with social security, that is a federal regulation.

        And when it comes to birth certificates, the majority (but not all) of states require both top and bottom surgery for trans men to change the BC.

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      So a lot of people have responded with statements that I very much agree with, but I’ll go ahead and respond directly to jal, too.

      Actually there is no “the” surgery when it comes to transitioning as there are lots of options for medical transition that some men may need. If you are interested in my experience with top surgery (a mastectomy), definitely check out my blog where I talked about the whole process and my results.

      And for future reference, this is not a question to throw out to trans people. It makes the conversation of gender transition about a surgical option (or options) that are not actually the most important of everyone’s journey. It also is a really private manner that should remain private. Just because someone has told you they are transgender does not mean they have given you permission to ask invasive questions.

      Additionally, it is likely triggering to ask someone of they are “still female” in any way, even if it is just legal. There are better ways to phrase that question that doesn’t make it about not being male.

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    there are some really useful/interesting comments, and responses from sebastian, on the entry about autostraddle on his tumblr. relevant to the discussion here.

    ALSO i wanted to say that i have always experienced AS as more queer-in-a-general-and-open-sense than exclusively lesbian. i feel like “girl-on-girl” is used loosely and with the assumption that readers have a sense of humor and awareness of the limited nature of all these terms.

    AND it really seems like AS just keeps growing and you guys keep making just the right decisions, such as expanding the scope of who writes for the site. i see this as a sign of more good things to come.

    i do also think that i would personally (i am a queer/lesbian cisgendered woman) really “learn” alot from inclusion in the future of MTF writers – sebastian writing is presented as PARTLY for readers’ education and mind-expansion i/r/t trans experience – and i personally have much more exposure to various ftm narratives/experiences than mtf ones. this might be just me, but the queer communities i’ve been a part of have included many ftm/ftgenderqueer/etc people and hardly any mtf/etc people. i think this is common? i am very ignorant about trans women’s experiences and am almost certainly guilty of stereotypical/phobic ideas about those experiences.

    obviously you are already thinking about these things and obviously sebastian joining the team has nothing to do with whether or not you will have other variously identified writers in the future!

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    Hi Sebastian, I am very interested to read your posts. My friends who are trans males, they don’t identify with the LGBT or queer community, they identify as straight men. my one friend said he couldn’t move on with his life if he talked about his transition because its a part of his private medical past and not relevent to his life anymore. He doesn’t want anything to do with the lesbian community other than having gay and lesbian friends. So I am looking forward to hear from someone who identifies differently and has a different story.

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    Sebastian is a hottie and best of luck on his journey but I do understand some people on this thread’s concern about putting trans guys into lesbian-centered spaces. Just curious if Autostraddle has recently also explored trans issues with trans women who are lesbian ID’d? And, if not, then why?

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      Gina

      This is above in the comments.

      I’m sure they’ll do this sometime! Or have done?

      Anyway, I think what’s important is not numbers but attitude. And autostraddle has a really good approach to gender/sexuality IMO that manages to be inclusive and provide a lesbian-centred space.

      Also, ‘lesbian centred’. Well, maybe more ‘women who like women sometimes centred’. Queer women are still clearly the centre and majority of content.

      Plus, queer women tend to be interested about gender/sexuality, no? As we tend to be interested in baking… Hence posts on these topics!

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    One reason why they might not have explored a MTF only RIGHT NOW is that Sebastian’s blog has gotten well known, it is highly informative professional, & he is a total cutie with impressive things to say. He also identifies strongly as queer.

    Hiring him is I am assuming only a first step with Autostraddle to introduce more voices to be heard within this community. To criticize the move to not hire an MTF right now or right after or instead is to miss the logistics of the current situation. Show me an MTF blog that is doing what Sebastian is doing and then this stance has more sway.

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    Dear Sir:

    I welcome you and appreciate the amount of thoughtfulness you put into your first column. I’ll admit I have at time feel vaguely threatened by the collision of trans and lez, particularly when my mom saw Max on The L Word and became convinced that my clothing tendencies meant I also gonna end up a boy. In hindsight, though, those conversations with my mom helped me work out a lot of internal stuff that was percolating about gender and presentation and butchness, so if I extrapolate that to a larger setting, you being here will help us figure out why people are upset that you’re here.

    Anyway, good column.

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      I really appreciate yr comment, LS. I think it is totally appropriate to have concerns about people misunderstanding transgenderism and butchier gender expression among women (i.e. female masculinity). My hope is that by having more voices out there from all different locations on the queer spectrum(s), we can eliminate some of these misunderstandings

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    There are probably a lot of people on here who could relate to you, and new perspectives are always good even for cis-gender people like me that will never really “get” what it’s like to feel that way. I personally don’t like the whole LGBTIQ thing, if only because it has too many letters for my fidgety brain. I think “queer” is something we can all fit under.
    Thank you for a well-written articles (and those cute pictures XD)

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    Thank you so much for joining the AS team and welcome. I look forward to reading future posts. You seem like an awesome guy, this is an awesome website, so clearly a match made in heaven.

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    Okay!

    1. I tend to stay tight-lipped on discussions of future editorial content, b/c 1)sometimes shit falls through and i don’t want you to be disappointed, 2)i like every new thing we do to be a surprise. — Have I ever told you about a new writer ahead of time? No I have not.

    2. As m. said, most of this is logistics, y’all!

    If we’d happened on an MTF writer who seemed like a good fit for AS prior to finding Sebastian, people would’ve asked where the FTM writer was.

    So, it would actually be literally impossible for us to somehow indicate that we weren’t deliberately excluding anyone b/c of their gender identity besides holding off on publishing Sebastian until we found an MTF and then publishing both of their pieces at the same exact time on the same exact day. Which would seem reductive, really.

    I guess I’m curious how people think we could have circumvented that.

    3. I feel that usually these demands for additional inclusion are sort of polite/passive-aggressive ways of asking “Is Autostraddle cissexist/racist/ableist/sizeist?”so why don’t I address that.

    The thing is guys, I LIKE DOING THIS! I didn’t start Autostraddle just to rehash my present beliefs over and over. I LIKE running this website precisely BECAUSE I get to learn about so many different kinds of human beings and to see what we can learn from each other. I wasn’t a women’s studies major, I’ve read Kate Bornstein and Julia Serano and watched the documentaries on my own time out of my own genuine interest in the material.

    4. HOWEVER! I do find it interesting that people seem to be conflating the FTM and MTF experience here as if they’re two sides of the same coin and they aren’t.

    5. W/r/t traditional editorial news content, I think we cover MTF and FTM stories relatively equally.

    Let’s not dance around this anymore: The fact is that for whatever reason, FTMs are more present in lesbian culture than MTFs. In addition to all the queer girls who are dating FTMs, I’m aware of the many FTM readers we have here, several who have contacted me about desiring a place in the lesbian community and on AS. But I honestly haven’t heard from any MTFs and as far as I can tell the people requesting MTF inclusion here are not MTFs. I don’t know if this is b/c they don’t feel comfortable speaking out or contacting me due to perceived exclusion or b/c they aren’t here or on other queer communities I frequent.

    [ETA: Someone just commented and mentioned having an MTF girlfriend, yay! One small step towards figuring out our shit]

    6. But, at the end of the day that actually has nothing to do with why sebastian is here. He’s here because I stumbled across his tumblr one day and started reading it and thought I’d love to have him on AS.

    7. I recognize we won’t fill spots by sitting back and waiting for people to come to us, especially if we’re perceived to be hegemonic. This is how we find our writers:
    1. they apply
    2. i personally find them (or see them in our comments), stalk them, and ask them if they want to write for/contribute to us or ask another writer/editor to ask them if they want to write for us.

    In the interest of transparency, the people I’ve brought on with method “2” who have already published stuff are as follows: Glennisha, Gaby, Effin’ Dykes, Fit for a Femme, scribegrrrl, Queerfatfemme/Bevin and JC Gonzalez.

    8. In conclusion — will I start hunting for an MTF? YES OBVIOUSLY. Considering it’s only JUST NOW ON THIS POST that y’all expressed interest in that, then NOW is when I’ll actively hunt as opposed to just picking things up as I wander about in the world, like I did with Sebastian.

    I came here with a basic background on most parts of the queer and feminist community but that’s not enough, and i have SO much more to learn. I will likely spend the next 3 weeks obsessed with MTFs, constantly g-chatting laneia to tell her this or that thing i learned about this or that culture/gender identity/type of traditionally marginalized people, just like I’ve done with at least 5-6 other “subcultures” of the queer rainbow since starting this website. Why? Because I like it. Because it interests me.

    In other news, I’m on your side.

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    Dear Autostraddle team:

    I am so fucking proud of you guys, and I couldn’t be more glad to have you represent our community on the internet. You are all shiny and perfect and have very nice hair.

    I am continually surprised by the hostile attitude towards transgendered people within the gay community in general. I feel like, while autostraddle focuses on “girl-on-girl culture,” its purpose has always been to include anyone who wishes to be included. I welcome Sebastian’s perspective, and I think that it’s an important addition to the site.

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    Tobi Hill-Meyer, porn actress Drew Deveaux, Quinnae Moongazer, Lauren Steely, Rose Sims AKA “Little Light”, filmmaker Gwen Haworth, Dr. Maddie Deutsch (a doctor, so she might be busy)… all smart, young (I believe) queer-identified trans women who are excellent writers. There, you have a starter set.

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      do you have a follow-up set? we’d be looking specifically for writers who already have a blog/tumblr — “little light” is a thing i am looking into, moongazer appears to be on a blogging hiatus, and the rest don’t have blogs. any specific blogs i should check out? i enjoy digging around for stuff so nbd, but if you have anything handy you wanna shoot ovah, go for it

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    Sebastian, I’m glad you’re here!

    I hate when people bitch in the comments. It’s one thing to make suggestions or ask questions and another thing to just bitch and detract from whatever the subject of the article might be. That being said, did I just defeat my own purpose? I’m not sure. :/

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    I’m super duper excited about this. :)

    And yes, I would definitely like to hear an MTF perspective, it would be REALLY interesting. I had an MTF friend (before I moved) who was in the early phases of transition and identified as a lesbian and it was very difficult for her.

    It’s weird going from being externally recognized as a heterosexual male to being recognized as a queer woman. I can’t even imagine how it feels. Oddly enough, when we were walking down the street arm in arm and someone catcalled at us, she felt great about it because she WAS being recognized as a girl who liked girls. Whereas I was like “goddamnit weird pervy guys.” It’s all about perspective.

    Sorry it’s really late and I’m tired and I think most of the stupid arguing is over, thankfully. Just need to say that MTF and FTM writers are not mutually exclusive for autostraddle, right? WE CAN HAVE BOTH. ONE JUST SHOWED UP FIRST. KTHXBYE.

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    If you have not already, I I think you might enjoy an article called “Many Maskc, Many selves” by Wendy Doniger. I am not sure if the full text can be found online, if you are interested I’d be more than happy to email it.

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    Autostraddle is like, one of the only sites that gets queer for real. Although “girl on girl culture”-focused, so many people get why not everything has to be exclusively cis-female-homosexuality-related, and that everything is connected, that it’s good to care not only about your own identity, but for marginalized groups in general. Let’s be queer and figure stuff out together, regardless of biological sex, gender and sexuality. Btw I know of hetero-cis-people who are more queer and not gender-stereotypical than some lbgt people, and as I believe Autostraddle is a queer site, not ecxlusively lesbianish, it’s totally relevant to have anybody who’s queer writing.

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    I’m definitely interested in learning more, so I’m glad to see this on here. I was not aware of your blog before this, so I will check in after I post this comment.

    I will be perfectly blunt – the physical and sexual aspect of being trans does interest me. I absolutely realize it’s as rude a question as when someone asks lesbians and gay man “what do you DO in bed?!?!” I know that very much.

    However, part of my coming out wasn’t just realizing that not only wasn’t I emotionally attracted to men, but also realizing that I wasn’t sexually attracted to men. My lesbian identity is absolutely tied into both who I love and who I have sex with, and when I identify myself as a lesbian, the understanding is I am someone who has sex with people with vaginas. I expect when I read a blog about lesbians, that part is assumed. I mean, we have NSFW Sundays wherein sex is the subject afterall, so we discuss that part of being a lesbian.

    Sebastian, I am NOT expecting you to address this. You have every right to privacy and to share whatever aspects of your transition you would like to. Simply put, I am stating my curiosity as someone who hasn’t dated someone who is trans of either stripe (FtM or MtF). I have read Jenny Finney Boylan’s book “She’s Not There” and I’m very aware of the advances that have been made for MtFs in terms of crafting a very realistic and natural vagina. I do wonder how an FtM handles the sexual aspects as, to the best of my current understanding, science hasn’t quite caught up with the social changes yet.

    Well, this comment will probably be misconstrued a thousand different ways, but understand please it is NOT meant to be judgmental or harsh or prying, just simply stating that I have been reading some of the points of the emotional and political aspects of being trans, and the sexual part is often left out. Okay, bring on the rotten tomatoes!

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      “I do wonder how an FtM handles the sexual aspects as, to the best of my current understanding, science hasn’t quite caught up with the social changes yet.”

      yeah this is pretty ignorant and fucking offensive. plenty of trans men get successful bottom surgery. the “Science” is just fine. it isn’t fucking perfect, but we can still have DICKS that function – since that’s clearly what you are asking (and you are implying that we can’t).

      the metoidioplasty is the best option for bottom surgery for trans men right now. it isn’t gonna be the biggest dick in the world (3-4 inches) but guess what, plenty of non-trans men have smaller cocks and it works

      if you actually looked at xxboy’s blog you’d see just the other day he posted a photo of bottom surgery:

      http://xxboyreblogs.tumblr.com/post/2949777152/a-great-meta-result-on-small-cock-rocks

      ALSO for men who don’t want bottom surgery/can’t afford it/etc there are prosthetics that look/feel/seem 100% like a natal penis

      again,

      http://xxboyreblogs.tumblr.com/post/2949904373/prosthetic-penis-from-reelmagik

      and some guys prefer to just use the downstairs growth they get from T (which can range from 1 inch to 4 inches)

      and lastly, a lot of trans people prefer to date individuals without rigid views on genitals (ie; people who aren’t transphobic)

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        No, ignorant would be a comment like “eww transmen are gross, why would anyone want to be one of THOSE?!” I made it quite clear in my post that I lack knowledge and respectfully asked for said knowledge from those who have it. There is quite a difference. To assume that people wouldn’t want to know more about the physical aspects of what is partially a physical transition is irrational. Top surgery has gotten a lot of press, including articles about top-surgery parties and many pictures of men post-surgery, so if that is now okay to discuss, then yes, the natural progression is the other physical aspect to becoming a man.
        Do I assume that transmen cannot have workable penises? Nope. As said, I am assuming nothing and asking everything.

        On another blog, I became aware of a couple who are legally married as a lesbian couple, but when the one partner goes to transition (as is inevitable and understood in their relationship), they will have to divorce because the one will then be married to an entity that no longer exists. They will then need to remarry as a heterosexual couple. This aspect of trans issues also is new to me and makes me quite curious, and on that blog, I asked questions about it too. My curiosity isn’t simply the physical as you see.

        I believe I also mentioned that I was previously unaware of Sebastian’s blog. I like that autostraddle made me aware of it, and yes, I will be exploring it now, thank you.

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        It was pretty fucking rude of you to be such an ass to someone who clearly stated in their comment that they are aware of their ignorance and looking to be educated by a willing educator. People who get fucking defensive like that are the reason why people stay ignorant – even if they want to learn, they are scared to ask the “wrong” question and get that kind of reaction.

        When I went on my first day with my FTM boyfriend, I had never (knowingly) met a transgender person before. I had read some things on the internet, but that was all. For some reason I assumed he would have a strap-on, and that was how we would have sex. (Yes, I fuck on the first date). So we got into it, and eventually I had to ask him, “How do you have sex?” Did he get defensive and offended? No. He answered my question, I was a little embarrassed at my ignorance, and the next night we had great sex.

        Scorpiopixie was just asking to be educated, not even by any specific person, just by anyone who was willing to do so. Is that so wrong? Everyone, at some point, needs to be educated in how to have sex. Did you know how to eat pussy or suck dick or do whatever else the first time you tried? Doesn’t that seem like it would need even more explanation if you don’t know what your partner may have down there or likes to use in bed or if he or she or ze is even comfortable being touched at all?

        Jesus fucking christ people, let’s talk about sex.

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          Girlfriend of an FTM, thank you very, very, very much for understanding the tenor of my post and defending my intentions. I sought to make it clear that I understood I was reaching into sensitive areas, but no progress is made if questions aren’t asked and answered, and isn’t that the point of discussing trans issues?

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          @girlfriend,

          Just askin’… do you think there’s any possible difference between talking to someone you’re likely going to be intimate with about their body and sexual preferences and that of asking someone you don’t know about their genitals and ‘functionality?’

          I agree with you that Scorpiopixie was aware she was asking extremely personal questions and was just sincerely looking for education. But just to clarify, trans people don’t owe it to anyone to explain their bodies to anyone else in general conversation. And, hopefully, neither do you. And that you, as the partner of a trans person, should be aware that we are the targets of what can often feel like highly inappropriate, intrusive questions about our bodies which can feel violating and objectifying. So while I agree “Ignorant” had a strong reaction to her questions, I get where those emotions are coming from.

          I would imagine Sebastian is going to discuss what he wants to discuss and hope he wouldn’t feel an obligation to talk about his body, genitals or performance of sexuality just because someone else is curious about it.

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            Nope, no one owes me an answer at all. As noted, I’m a Scorpio, and I’m highly private myself, so I respect boundaries and I respect one’s privacy. As a lesbian, I’ve had people ask me intrusive questions and it completely depends upon who is asking and how they are asking it. Some idiot on the street? Shot down. A friend or someone on a blog where there is a known topic and I have the choice to answer how I want to? More likely I’ll answer it.

            Since this was an introductory post, I thought I’d throw out something that intrigued me as a possible future topic, to be decided upon by the writer in question. However, that isn’t my ONLY curiosity in terms of FtM/trans issues at all. I just figured most people would not venture to ask it, so I would be the brave soul to do so.

            However, I also wonder about the government regulations for marriage, how one goes about changing one’s sex, as well as the work questions that others have asked above (I started at an all women’s college too).

            Due to my private nature, I have had a lot of issues trying to figure out who to come out to and when. I can, um, pass as straight. I’ve never been out at work as of yet, even though I’m out in all other areas of my life. However, when one is trans, it almost is reflected in one’s resume or can sometimes be sussed out in the interview, so yes, I wonder how one deals with that.

            Then there’s the questions of how someone is trans experiences gender and how society responds to their gender. There was a great article on either Gawker or Jezebel I think wherein someone who is FtM discussed the way people now read his emotional reactions to things (as a woman he was read as cold, as a man it was read as manly), as well as the physical changes that came with taking T, such as being stronger physically, as well as having his skin be less sensitive. Same with Jenny Finney-Boylan’s book in which she talked about her changed reaction to boobs, to crying, and to how much more vulnerable she felt as a woman now! I found those comments absolutely fascinating.

            I view people who are trans much like I’d view someone who is an astronaut – they have the incredibly rare and unique ability to go somewhere most of us only dream about and report back on what they see, feel and experience, so yes, I’m clamoring to understand all aspects of this experience. It is not meant to be rude, but simply pure curiosity. I mean, how many people have said “If I were a boy/girl for 24 hours, I would…” To truly experience both genders (urgh, I know someone’s going to yell at me for saying “both”) in one lifetime? Kinda cool, you know?

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            I want to answer a few of your questions because I feel you don’t know much about this topic, but you seem genuinely interested.

            To preface, I recommend reading sebastian’s blog, as much of it as you can if not all. He has one of the best blogs out there covering trans issues and I have been following it for a long time.

            Another caveat, being trans is experienced very differently depending on the person. I am going to answer a few of the questions you posed, but note that this is coming from my personal experience and may not apply to other trans men you meet.

            I should note that I am post medical transition and don’t even identify as FTM (I identify as MTM, meaning I see myself as always having being male, but I transitioned medically and socially so that others would see me this way as well).

            Regarding your question on government regulations for marriage. Assuming you are a trans man involved with a cis woman (note: not all trans men are straight or interested in dating/marrying women) – if you want to have a heterosexual marriage, you need to change your birth certificate to male. Laws on changing birth certificate vary state by state. In the state I was born in, I needed top surgery and a hysterectomy to change my birth certificate to male. Some states require top, hysto and bottom surgery. Others just require a vague surgeon’s letter (so you can get away with just getting top).

            You asked about how one goes about changing one’s sex. Aside from what I already mentioned with birth certificates, if you are changing your sex with social security, that is a federal law which requires a surgeon’s letter. Most trans men change their sex at social security after top surgery (but not all do, some guys don’t want to change their sex legally for various reasons and not all guys get surgery..)

            And finally there is the changing of gender marker on drivers license, which rules vary state by state. I changed mine with a letter from my endocrinologist after I started HRT (Hormone replacement therapy). Many states require a surgeon’s letter, mine did not.

            Regarding work issues.. I know many trans men, myself included, who are completely “stealth” (dislike that word) at work – ie; nobody knows of our trans status.

            You said:

            “However, when one is trans, it almost is reflected in one’s resume or can sometimes be sussed out in the interview, so yes, I wonder how one deals with that.”

            That is definitely a misconception. It is VERY easy for me to not disclose my trans status because nobody is expecting it. When people look at me, they see a masculine man and the last thing they are going to think is “he’s trans”. Even when I hadn’t changed my name, I would tell people “oh I had hippy parents who gave me a girl name” and nobody thought anything of it! One guy said to me “That’s funny, I had a friend who had a girls name in middle school”.
            I know someone who graduate from a women’s college and nobody at his job (he works at a school) knows he is trans.. So yes, it is very doable to remain stealth at work if you are applying post-transition and have changed all your documentation.

            But I should add that I am privileged because I had the means to legally change my name and the means to medical transition. I’m also privileged in that I want to/do look masculine or “stereotypically male”, so it makes things easier.

            Some trans men want to disclose and talk freely about being trans at work and aren’t interested in keeping it private. Another thing to remember.

            Also remember that a lot of this depends on how old the person was when they transitioned. There are kids who transition in middle school or younger. They grow up basically socialized completely as male. I know someone who transitioned at age 14 (medically, socially long before that!). Then there are people who transition at 65 when they already have careers and families. Then people like me who do it at 19/20.

            “Then there’s the questions of how someone is trans experiences gender”

            To answer that question, there is no answer. There are a million answers. There is no one trans narrative. For me, I identify more with being male than with being trans or a trans male. I don’t feel the need to constantly think about my gender now that I am post medical transition and I like it that way. I prefer not to talk about being trans with people I associate with “in real life” because I don’t see it as a big part of my life. I honestly feel like any other guy 99% of the time. sometimes I feel like I can relate more to cis men who have had hypogonadism or hypospadias and needed HRT or genital surgery/gynecomastia over other trans men.

            Honestly I don’t feel like I can talk about what it’s like to have a female experience because I have no idea what that’s like. I’ve always felt male. I really have not experienced both genders. I know what it’s like to be perceived by others as female/woman, but I have no idea what it feels like to be that gender.

            I hope this helps some even though it is only one perspective.

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            I…wow! Wow Wow Wow! Another Trans Guy, this is just such amazing information and there’s not a word I can say to thank you enough for it. Thank you for seeing that I am serious with my questions and not just trying to be intrusive or rude. I really appreciate that. I am beginning to read Sebastian’s blog, but there’s a lot to it!

            I will definitely have more questions, but if you (or anyone else) is keen on answering anything (feel free to say no), these are the ones I’ve come up with:

            -do you have to tell all your doctors about your original gender (is that a good term?) and transition? I find that people assume me straight, so I have to come out to doctors on occasion (mostly gyno of course, but I’m assuming with all the changes the HRT brings about, it affects ALL parts of your health, no?). Also, in terms of emergency, would your previous gender matter if, say, you were unconscious and no one around knew about your transition?

            -I find it absolutely fascinating that you always saw yourself as male and never as female. I guess I never saw it that way because I’m SO female/feminine, but it took a long time for me to be comfortable in that and own it. Yet, for a brief time in my early 20s, when I was reading a lot about sexuality and such, I wondered if I was possibly trans simply because I just didn’t have the reactions to men that my friends had, and I more or less saw them only as useful as well, sexual toys. But then I came out later, and realized “oh, I’m not trans, I just was absolutely uncomfortable around men sexually”. I know, that sounds really silly and stupid, but it was part of my wondering why I was so aggressive, why I only attracted men who were clingy and insecure and such, etc. So, you see now where my head is in terms of gender and sexuality in a way.

            -do you identify as queer (even if you identify as heterosexual)? I say this not to get your defenses up, but what is it about a lesbian website would attract you if you’ve always felt male, instead of a site, like say askmen.com or whatever?

            -how did your friends who knew you as female take it? I lost one friend (not a close one) when I came out. The rest didn’t care.

            -do you have more female or male friends? How did the cismale hetero guys you knew take it?

            -I get what you’re saying about being stealth. Are you tall? Did you look masculine before you transitioned? Was anyone really surprised when you came out as male? I’m 5’0″ tall and look about 10 years younger than I am, so if I ever wanted to transition, I’d perpetually look like a little boy! I always wonder how one’s height affects one post-transition. While many cismen are short, ciswomen are *generally* much shorter than cismen.

            -Can you take T if you have an organ replacement? Not sure why this is curious to me, but it is, especially since both are a life-long thing.

            -Do people ever regret their transition and want to transition back?

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            @Scorpiopixie – glad to help. I like talking with people who are genuinely interested and respectful of trans experiences because it’s something I so seldom get to do.

            -I don’t tell all my doctors about my trans status, it depends on the doctor and what I’m going for (by the way, the term “gender assigned at birth” or “trans status” or “trans history” are the best terms to use). My endocrinologist and my primary care physician of course both know because they need to, it’s an important part of my health. Those are the only 2 doctors I need to see directly relating to transition at this point since I’m post op. If I was still going to an gyno, they would obviously know as well (you don’t need to go to one anymore after total hysterectomy). As for other doctors, like my eye doctor and my dermatologist, they both don’t know because it’s not really necessary for that type of care. After a certain amount of time on HRT for a trans man your health needs mimic those of a cis man’s. So for example worrying about high cholesterol and coronary artery disease because testosterone increases your risk for both of those whether you are a trans man on T or a cis man. Any time I go to any doctor, I always list testosterone injections as a medication. Unless I specifically come out as trans, this doesn’t turn any heads because tons of cis men take T for various hormonal/endocrine medical reasons. I am lucky and have never had any bad experiences disclosing to doctors, so I do it if I have to, although I still prefer not to if it isn’t necessary. One less conversation I need to have with a stranger who is just going to be checking my eyes, ya know?
            I actually knew someone who went to the hospital emergency room after a car accident and they had no idea he was trans. I’m pretty sure he never told anyone, he just told them he took hormone replacement for hypogonadism or something like that. It didn’t make a difference for him, he was fine. But of course if you were pre-op top or bottom surgery or both I would imagine being in the emergency room the doctors would obviously realize you are trans, if you were in an accident and unconscious and they changed you out of your clothes. I think if I were in his position I would have disclosed. Doctors are generally (in my experiences) respectful and if they are not, well then you can report them or potentially have a lawsuit

            -I have a few friends who went through stages of questioning their gender and ultimately realized they were not trans. I think it’s more common than we know, because nobody really talks about it. I’m one of those trans people who has memories from a very young age, like 4 or 5, of knowing I was a boy, confused about why I had no penis, but not all trans guys have this history. Also I have always been masculine but some trans guys are very feminine or were not masculine growing up, it depends on the person.. But what you said about wondering if you were possibly trans because you didn’t have the “expected” reactions to men makes sense. I think our society often conflates gender and sexuality so sometimes the differences seemed blurred, especially for a young person just figuring out who they are. Perhaps that is why a lot of trans men first identify as lesbian and then realize that’s not how they feel

            -I identify as straight and queer I suppose, although I go back and forth on this. My sexuality is more complicated than my gender identity. I am primarily attracted to women and I’ve been in straight relationships, but also been in queer relationships. The way I think about sexuality is very queer, which is why I think that identity usually fits me (most days). But I don’t think of myself as queer in my gender identity because despite being trans I’m a pretty gender normative guy (but not hetero normative..if that makes sense)
            As for how I’m on autostraddle, Sebastian had linked to it on his blog and I’m a big fan of his blog so that how I ended up here

            -My friends who knew me before I transitioned were all cool with it. Most of them said it made complete sense and that I’ve always seemed like a guy. I have great friends, they were just happy to see me happy. I was lucky. The cis male hetero guys were better than most of my gay friends, as strange as that is. My cis male straight friends were just so nonchalant about it, like it made total sense to them, they just went with the flow. My gay friends were cool but sometimes made inappropriate remarks or asked me invasive questions that I was not comfortable answering. This was a long time ago though, in the beginning of my transition. They have since changed and now know what is Ok to ask/say and what isn’t. I’d say my friends are 50% male and 50% female and a whole mixture of sexualities (some very queer, some totally straight). I also have trans friends and some gender queer friends, I met most in the beginning of my transition. Growing up I always had more guy friends.

            -I’m not tall, about 5’6, but I am very stocky and muscular which make me appear taller than I am. My height was never an issue for me. I think the average female height is 5’4 so I am pretty lucky, a lot of my trans guy friends are much shorter (I know some guys that are only 5′, but they actually don’t have any problem being seen as male after being on T for a while). The men in my family are not tall either, I am actually taller than my dad. After being on testosterone for a certain amount of time you masculinize so much that it doesn’t really matter what your height is. I mean look at Danny Devito he is like 4’9. There is this popular blog a lot of my friends like called http://fuckyeahshortguys.tumblr.com and it illustrates the wide range of male heights.
            I looked very masculine before I transitioned and frequently was read as male and called “he” in public by people who didn’t know me, way before I started T. Nobody was surprised when I came out as male, not even my parents.

            -I don’t know if you can take T if you have an organ replacement. There are actually a lot of contraindications to taking T. There is an older trans guy on youtube who had cancer (but was in remission) and could not be prescribed T (I think it was uterine cancer). Same thing with certain types of surgery. I read about a guy who wanted bottom surgery but had genital herpes and surgeons would not perform it.

            -Yes, some people do regret their transition and want to transition back. Some do de-transition but it can be very difficult especially if you have been on T for a while or already had surgery. Some guys stop taking T though. From what I know, the percent of people who detransition or regret transition is small.

            thanks for wording your questions in such a nice way. I enjoyed answering

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            This is a quick response because I need to walk out of the door in 3 minutes and don’t even have my shoes on but here goes…

            I came out (again) about 3 years ago. I’m finally absolutely comfortable calling myself a lesbian and realizing that men are definitely NOT part of my romantic present or future. Fast forward to joining a new friend at a Cliks concert (knowing in advance that Lucas is trans) and being in a lovely room full of very clearly lesbian/bisexual women and hearing “I want to be your man”. Your WHAT? My response was so unexpected to me because I realized even hearing a transman saying I want to be your man, I couldn’t relate. It was a heterosexual song and I’m not heterosexual and the audience was more or less lesbian and…hmm. Definitely threw me for a loop and had me thinking and trying to understand everything.

            Oh, and I mentioned the organ donation thing because my friend and I were discussing and wondering if it would be possible for a penile transplant for FtMs in the future. Perhaps someone is already on that. I don’t know. Just some things we were musing about.

            So yes, my questions are genuine. I pride myself as someone people can go to to discuss things with and feel comfortable around, and many people have come to me and confessed some of their deepest secrets or sexual desires, so to find an area that I’m not comfortable with and don’t know about? Need to know and understand.

            Shoes time!!!

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            @ ginasf:

            I definitely think there is a difference, in the sense that a person with whom you’re going to be intimate is pretty much obligated to answer those questions in the specific context of you and that person having sex.

            However, Scorpiopixie was clearly not expecting Sebastian or anyone who didn’t feel comfortable to answer her questions. I know that trans people as a whole do not owe it to anyone to discuss personal things like that. Trust me, I really know that. But some transmen and partners of transmen are plenty willing to educate and divulge personal details of their lives for the sake of education. And Scorpiopixie definitely voiced her curiosities in the most polite way I’ve ever seen, especially on the internet. While I understand where Ignorant’s emotions were coming from, he certainly could have chosen to not engage, especially when not long after he commented a transguy who was willing to educate spoke up.

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            @girlfriend of an FTM – thank you kindly for the compliment of answering my curiosities, as well the the kind words said about the way I framed my questions. Frankly, you made my jaw drop upon seeing that compliment. That’s a rare thing, so appreciate it. :)

            I absolutely know that a question asked is due no answer, and I realize I (and we, as a whole, who are reading here) are touching nerves that are made raw and sensitive by the sometimes cruel words, actions and privacy intrusions that you all face at times.

            @another trans guy – I will respond to your responses more soon. You have taken the time to answer my questions in full, and I am not able to respond in kind at the moment. I want you to know I’m not ignoring your input though.

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    Hey everyone! Just wanted to thank you guys for the welcoming messages and the feedback. I’ve had the flu so I’ve been absent from some of the discussions happening on this thread, but I’ll be throwing my two cents into a few of them this evening.

    Again, thank you for yr comments! And it’s a serious pleasure to be here

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    Are there names for the two people in photo that are at the bottom of this blog topic? Can you tell us? I think I know the first dude…and I’d like to get back in touch. Name Monica, maybe? No?

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    Heeeeey! Sebastian, this is awesome! I totally randomly came across the article and then I was like, I know him! Then I realized it was the piece you were talking about. You’re always well written, one positive feature that comes from our particular education amongst a sea of all women. And I do believe that it effects our perceptions. I’m reading Jamison Green’s “Becoming a Visible Man” and while I ate it up, there are always little moments of conflict that come with every moment of clarity. I appreciate your vision of variety, your brave stance and your out status. Whether a trans person sees trans* as being a medical status or a state of mind, it’s nice to see that you are out there, working to communicate. And though the woman requesting an MTF writer was a little harsh, and you probably don’t really have much say in who Autostraddle picks up, I totally agree. The beginning to ending the absence of that voice (and voices like our own) could truly work in the favor of change.

    So, congratulations, buuuddy! Do your thing. Work it. Yer a star.

    Caleb

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