Trans FAQ

For whatever reason, I’ve lacked inspiration to write for a while. I posted on Facebook looking for recommendations and its time I start working on each request.The first post I’m going to do is one of the most basic, the Trans FAQ.

Whenever I give workshops or lectures, I leave at least ten minutes for open ended questions. Many people have things they are intensely wondering, but rarely have the opportunity to ask. I have found some questions that are asked over and over again, so I am going to go through some of them now.

The first I will address is a rather awkward one. At one lecture I gave, during the middle of some discussion about being trans, a student suddenly shouted out “Wait wait, do you still get horny?” Of course, the entire classroom burst out in laughter. None the less, questions about sex are asked at almost every presentation I’ve given. People want to know about the effects of hormones on a person’s body pre-op. While I’m not going to give a lot of the details about the actual effects of hormones (Just google MtF Transexual without a filter on, I’m sure you can find what you want to know), I do want to address the subject of sex. The blunt answer is, I’m just like any other person when it comes to sex. Sure, it may be a little different than usual, but sex is usually a little different anyhow from person to person.

This question usually leads to a follow up question. “But if you are pre-op, and you have a girlfriend, are you gay or straight?” This question is unfortunately reflective of people’s nature to need categories to put people into. Either you are gay or you are straight. I try to take this opportunity to explain that sexuality is fluid; you can be gay, straight, bi, pan, poly, or any mix of the above. It’s not an either or situation. I prefer girls, but I like guys as well, so I’m somewhere in the middle. Also, this is a great opportunity to pose the question: is a lesbian couple two women, or two vaginas? I personally believe that gender identity is what should be used to determine whether you are straight, bi, or gay. If you feel like you are a woman, you act like a woman, you look like a woman, what you do in bed shouldn’t really matter, in my opinion.

Another frequent question I get is “How does your family take it?” While I feel a little uncomfortable speaking of it here, I will briefly say, things with my family are..complicated, and not very good so far. They still use my old name and male pronouns.

Speaking of stories of my past, another question I am often asked is “Have I always known I am transgender?” This conversation is often somewhat complex. People ask if I wore dresses as a kid, if I told my parents I was a girl when I was a baby. While it is true some trans people, my case was more complex. I was very much afraid of my family finding out, so I was very covert about my gender expression. When I played pretend  with friends, I would usually play my heroic boy character, but would also play several supporting characters, several of whom would be female. I found it increasingly difficult to connect with people as I grew older, so I retreated to online games like Nexus: The Kingdoms of the Wind and World of Warcraft where I played female characters. Most of my online experience was as a woman. I couldn’t explain just why I always felt drawn to make female characters, but now it makes much more sense. It was my way of expressing myself, off asserting my gender identity even before i knew what that was, exactly.

“What bathroom do you use?” used to be a question I was posed frequently, though now that I quite obviously pass, so it is less of an issue. A year ago, though, when I did not pass so well, bathrooms were a nightmare. I didn’t pass well enough to use the woman’s room, but I was obviously not completely male either. As a rule, I avoided any none-single stall bathrooms as much as humanly possible. The next option would be to find the most isolated abandoned bathroom in the building and only use that one. Campus had refused to say whether I would be in trouble if caught in the woman’s room. It wasn’t until I met a very nice transgendered police officer (with something like 40 years on the force) at Transcentral PA that I was told I would not be in any real legal trouble for being in the woman’s room. I might get removed from campus, but there wouldn’t be any legal consequences. I’m not sure if this is entirely true, but her words gave me the confidence to start using the bathroom I was most comfortable in. It took a while, but now the thought of using the men’s room is just humorous.

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