Ask the transsexual! (FtM)

Well, the “Someone you know tells you they’re transsexual, do you care?” thread inspired me to come out of lurkerdom and offer you this one.

For the record, I’m FtM (female-to-male), and transsexual might be a bit of a misnomer, depending on how you look at it: I’ve been taking testosterone shots for about three years now, but I haven’t had surgery as yet. I’m looking into it, though, so I do know a quite a bit about it. I pass as male pretty much unequivocably; I have a goatee, and that certainly tips the balance in my favour.

I’ve known since I was sixteen. I started hormone treatment when I was eighteen and a half. I’m twenty-one now.

Sexuality (people always ask): I’m queer, or pansexual - which is like bisexual, but includes the genderqueer. A lot of FtMs tend to be more genderqueer than our MtF counterparts.

Something I saw touched on in the “Someone you know…” thread was MtFs and hooker-makeup; I can answer this one, too. When I was fifteen, and desperately trying to be a girl, that’s just what I did, too. It’s just a case of “if I overdo it, it’ll come true!”. In my case, gender-wise, in their case, bio-wise.
Another thing that might be worth mentioning is the outrage and worry the “pregnant man” caused in the FtM community - he was “blowing our cover!!”. I don’t personally agree, but I thought it might be worth bringing up, as I don’t think many people know the reaction he got among his peers.
I can’t promise to know the answers to questions on genderqueer and MtF folk, but I think I know a bit about them, so ask away and I’ll do my best.

I’m pretty open with all this, so feel free to ask me anything you like.

  1. What is genderqueer?

  2. Will you eventually have a penis? Where will it come from?

2)(a) Do you get to specify the dimensions of it, or is it one size for all, or luck of the draw?

How long do you think is a good period to wait between coming to terms with your gender identity and starting hormone therapy?

Do you ever feel that it has become trendy to be transgendered, within certain communities?

So do you still have boobs, or do the hormone treatments make them more or less go away?

If you get surgery, how will they construct the dangly bits, and will you be able to get a guy-style erection?

  1. Genderqueer are people who don’t feel comfortable being in either a male or female role, but feel they’re somewhere inbetween. The majority of them seem to have been born women, but it’s by no means limited to them. Men and intersexed people make up part of the community, too. Another word for it is “genderfluid”, though I think one of the favourites out there is “genderf*cked”.

  2. Maybe. There are two methods right now, phalloplasty and metoidioplasty. Phalloplasty is creating a penis out of the flesh on your thigh or upper arm. It looks fine, but doesn’t function. You insert a rod, if you want it to be hard.

Metoidioplasty is…well, once you’ve been on testosterone for a while, your clitoris grows to about 2-3cm, and it gets hard like a penis would, though there’s no ejaculation. It’s called a “dicklet”. Metoidioplasty lengthens it, essentially, which gains you another few centimeters.

They’re doing research into helping cisgendered (that is, born the right gender to the right body) men right now, to help a condition called micropenis. That’s another venue I can look at - but it’s in its early stages, I don’t know much about it.

If I go for phalloplasty, I get to specify the dimensions. If I go for metoidioplasty, I’m stuck with what’s naturally grown.

Are males in general pretty cool with it if & when they find out? (Was the Brandon Teena thing an event or is it more of a phenomenon?) How about females, are they more accepting or less so or no appreciable difference in attitudes etc?

& also: do you think attitudes to FtM are appreciably different than they seem to be towards MtF transsexual folk? and finally, how about the attitudes and sense of community & commonality (or lack thereof) between the two themselves? Do y’all feel like a minority within a minority if you go to an LGBT event and there are more FtMs involved? (and are there? I always hear there are more of them at least in orgs and whatnot)

Did you go to/live at college? I’m wondering about dorm rooms and all that.

What was/is your parents’ reaction? When did you start talking to them about it?

  1. I think it’s different for everyone; it depends on your process. I felt very derealised/depersonalised when I was a teenager, as a result of my gender dysphoria, and beginning to view myself as a man, alone, lifted a lot of that. For me, it was one year before I knew I was ready for hormones. In actuality, I had to wait two and a half, and even then, my private endocrinologist thought I was “too young” (you had to be thirty, he told me). I finally got my hormones through my GP.

But it depends on how you’ve come to it. For FtMs, a lot of folk start out in the lesbian community, which I never did - and when they go through hormone therapy, they find as they start passing that they’ve suddenly lost their community. Which is very hard on a lot of them. I think in that instance, I think it’d be better to make sure you’ve got a support base.

For some people, they’re confused about it for a long time. They should wait. Some people know right away that this is what they need to do.
2) There were some people in saying it was a fad a few years back…in lesbian communities, especially, FtMs are sometimes fetishised. And of course, straight men often fetishise MtFs. But I don’t personally feel it’s a big worry. It’s more important for people to be free to explore whatever aspect of themselves they need to.

  1. Hormone treatments make them shrink, a lot. They’re not gone though, I still need a double-mastectomy. You wouldn’t notice them at all when I bind, however, and you may not notice them if I wore layers and baggy clothes.

And they used to be a reasonable size, before I started hormones.

  1. I think I covered this in one of my other replies.

I’m not sure what you’re saying here. Are you bisexual and want to experience it as a man or are you attracted to women and want to experience it as a man or do you like men and want a gay relationship?

Don’t you worry about losing sexual gratification in the surgical process?

  1. I tend to be stealth unless I know someone will at least not consider me a woman if I tell them. But in my experience, females are more accepting. There’s a strain of radical feminists that consider MtFs as invading female space, and FtMs as so misogynistic that we couldn’t bear to be female ourselves, but that’s not the female population in general. I find a lot of women are willing to accept FtMs, though when it comes to a relationship a good portion of those will find that it’s too complicated for them.

  2. Attitudes towards FtM tend to be “What’s that?”. Most people don’t know we exist. A lot of people have gotten their head around MtF as…something, at least, but FtM is alien to them. They just…won’t understand at all. “Lesbian” is the closest they can get. Especially amongst men. But they do usually manage to let you in as “one of the guys”.

There’s the stereotype of MtFs hating FtMs, but I’ve never found it to be the case in reality; we face different challenges, is all. Most FtMs pass easily once they start taking hormones, which makes for a lot of weird situations where your (sexist) male coworkers are oggling and talking about women, and you’re sitting there having experienced the other side of the fence. Having been there, the first real “guy talk” you’re invited into is weird, to say the least (personally, I know what it’s like to be perceived as: a straight girl, a lesbian, a straight guy, a gay guy, and a guy in drag (which I only do if I know that’s what I’ll be taken as…it’s half-drag, really).

In the queer community in general, yes, we tend to get left out unless there are specific FtM organisations there. A lot of FtMs go to transgender support groups and are mistaken for MtFs who haven’t been bold enough to make a move, yet.

  1. I don’t. I lived with a friend I had in high school, when I was in college, and she and I had a…friends with benefits relationship, shall we say? A lot of colleges give transgendered folk a room to themselves.

  2. My parents are very liberal minded folk, and their reaction was “We have nothing against transsexuals, but you’re not one. We know, we’ve known you all your life.” They’re starting to feel more comfortable about it now - my father referred to me as his son, in a casual smartass comment that had nothing to do with my gender, just the other day - but if I talk about surgery, or how I felt, or…anything like that, they just clam up. I first told them when I was 16, and they sent me to a psychiatrist (which I wanted, too). We didn’t talk about it for years after that. I think it only become something I felt I could mention, without putting some huge burden on them, about six months ago.

  1. It’s one of those definitions that, unless you’re in the know, you’re probably not going to appreciate the subtleties of. But basically…if you say you’re bisexual, that doesn’t tend to mean you’re okay with transgendered people or the genderqueer. Pansexual means that gender isn’t a factor in any way; you’re attracted to the person, and yes, their physical attributes, but if the gender of those attributes conflict within that one person…well, that’s not going to affect things one way or another.

  2. Trust me, it’s something I’m looking very carefully at :D. Phalloplasty is something I don’t think I could do, because I think I would lose sexual gratification. Metoidioplasty, I think there’s a good chance I’d lose however much gratification a circumcised man loses. A half-measure answer to this is: if I’m not sure…I might just keep my vagina, while I’m at it, and have, ahem, two orifices and one protrusion. But I’m undecided. So the short answer is, yes, I do worry. But I don’t worry that I’ll lose all of it.

What are your thoughts on packing?

I think it’s false advertising ;). I don’t do it, and it’s purely for that reason.

Though, hypocritical bastard that I am, I don’t wear pants that let you know unequivocally that it’s only about two and a half centimeters, either.

Do dinosaurs, ninjas, or swords belong in a Christmas drawing?

At what point in the process did you switch to Men’s bathrooms?

Are you stronger now that you are on the testosterone?

Do you have more aggressive emotions (for the lack of a better term) or have a different emotional palette that you could attribute to the male hormones?

Do you find that strangers (who don’t know you are FtM) treat you differently than when you looked like a woman?

Has your voice changed and/or are you doing anything to make it sound more masculine?

Do you still get a period?

This sort, especially:

They belong everywhere.