Aiden, 29

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

I went on a date last night…have you ever gone on a first date with someone and you’re like hey, this could really be something?  I’m not usually like that, but this guy was great.  He’s already sent me 2 texts this morning about what a wonderful time he had, and it’s mutual—but that makes me nervous.  He has no idea, and I don’t know what’s gonna happen when I tell him.

It’s a fine line, cause I’m not out to trick anybody either.  I’m not a liar…but that’s the way some people see it.  Lying through omission.  I just get really scared, cause I’ve lost relationships.  Even long-term, “get married, have kids” kinds of relationships.  I’ve had people—guys and girls—tell me it was fine, and then I get involved with them, and it turns out it’s not fine.

A lot of other guys I’ve talked to who are FtM—“female to male” or however you call it—they say the same thing.  So many people just can’t get past it.  They freak out, and it’s hard to make them understand.  You know, the guy you’ve been dating for the last 3, 4 dates, whatever—that’s me.  That’s who I am.  There’s just this one thing you didn’t know about me.

I mean, what if I had erectile dysfunction or something?  Would you leave me?  I’m still that guy you love.  I’m that guy—I just don’t have a penis.  But for people I’ve dated, it’s not just about a penis…it’s so much about them. 

I’ve had guys question their own sexual orientations—did liking me make them bi?  Did it make them straight? I respect that they’re going through that, and I try to be sensitive, but seriously. It doesn’t mean you’re less gay and it doesn’t mean you have to stop going to gay bars.  You’re still the same person!  And really, so am I—but that doesn’t register with most people.  I become something strange, something they can’t label.

All these labels, all this shit.  People think “penis” means “man.”  That’s ridiculous.  In every other way, I’m a man.  I look like a man, I talk like a man, and I act like a man.  But I don’t have a dick.  People don’t understand that sexual orientation and gender are two different things.  They don’t understand that gender and anatomy are two different things.  Yeah, I’m a man without a penis.  You’re a man with a penis.  I know women with penises, and women without.  All that means is that they’ve got different stuff in their pants, nothing else.

Like I said, going on dates, letting someone get to know you, and then getting let down like that, one after another…that can wear on you.  A lot of times, I actually prefer meeting guys in public places…bathrooms, parks at night, stuff like that.  I don’t know, but maybe one reason I like that is cause I don’t care what they think.  I won’t ever see them again.  If they think I’m a freak, if they fetishize me… whatever, I don’t have to deal with them.  Some of them, I don’t think they ever know I’m FtM anyway…but if they do, so what?

When I’m emotionally invested in someone, though, that’s when I care what they think about me, and that hurts.  I do want someone who understands me, someone I can talk to, someone I can have an emotional relationship with, but it’s hard.

Not like every gay guy needs to think FtMs are his type.  Just like if you’re really into blondes, and only a blonde will do it for you, I’m not your guy.  Same with this.  It’s fine to prefer a physical type, but it’s the freaking out, the knee-jerk panic that’s offensive.

You’d think there’d be less discrimination in the gay community, but that’s not what I’ve found at all.  The other trans people I know—when we see something that’s “LGBT inclusive,” we don’t believe that.  LGBT is a joke.  We call it “LGB-fake-T.”  That’s just been my experience.  Whenever there’s a program for gay or bi men, you can be pretty sure they mean except you.

What really hurts is, I don’t think a lot of gay people know they’re discriminating.  A lot of gay men especially—in their minds, I’m not a man.  They don’t think I’m a woman, but I’m not a man.  I’m just “other,” so they don’t have to deal with me.  They’re not mean to me, they don’t spit on me, beat me up or anything…but them not taking me seriously as a man is discrimination.  I don’t think people realize that.  I don’t think they’re even conscious of the issue.

What gets to me is gay men talking about trans folks like they’re not “real” men, or “real” women.  The rest of the “LGBT” community needs to realize I’m just like them.  I’m not in-between or unfinished or confused…I’m just me.

Aiden, 29

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