KNOWLEDGE / EDUCATION
What is a transman? Before answering this it is actually more important to know: transgender men have always been part of the gay/straight/lesbian/bi community, yet so invisible… The unknown need not be scary so it is helpful to learn about transgender issues. Sex with transmen is ‘different’ but not all transmen are different in the same way. Oh well, in fact: all men have their own manual, even if they are not transgender, so it’s really not that strange.
Many people (in the year 2018) are starting to get acquainted with the phenomenon “FTM” for the first time through porn – and here we should say reality is not exactly the same as what you see in porn movies … Additionally (almost) all transman porn is American, so you will not get a truthful picture of what sex with transmen will be like in the Netherlands. In America, for example, there is almost no financial safety net, so most trans men would still have their vagina, but in the Netherlands this is not the case.
Below, especially for gay cruising venues, you can find some resources for you to use and print out when you are educating your staff. Some PDF’s contain American terms that are not used commonly or not at all in the Netherlands (words like ‘tranny’, ‘boi’ and the fairly new ‘genderqueer’) but are nonetheless useful for the most part.
As an inspiration: take a look at these five reasons why sex with a transman is great!
Important beforehand: it is too simple an idea to assume that the world can only be divided into ‘man’ and ‘woman’ – and to see those two as extreme poles. There is much more inbetween and people consist of more than just their gender. We also have to get rid of the idea that body parts would be ‘masculine’ or ‘female’. Does a penis consist of ‘male’ molecules? No. Once you understand this, you also understand that everyone has their own path to travel and that it is not necessary to do a ‘full’ transition. Not everyone needs / wants hormones. The same applies to operations. Some people partially change back. And that’s all okay.
–Transman: term for people who were biologically born female and usually raised female as well but are transitioning towards being/living as male. Usually with the help of testosterone hormones and/or operations (male chest construction, penis construction – the latter is not all too common yet, so most transmen have a vagina with a hormonally enlarged clitoris/minipenis).
–FTM or VM: Short for ‘female to male‘ so it’s short for ‘transman.’
–Transgender or Trans*: umbrella term for all people who in some way represent a variety on the male/female binary system. Includes: transsexuals, transgenderists, transvestites, drag kings, drag queens, and more. Does not> include intersexed or hermaphrodites.
–Cis: anyone who is not transgender, living the sex they were biologically born with and raised as.
–Pronoun: Don’t call a transman ‘she’. Do not assume. Do you call someone ‘he’ or ‘ze’? Simply politely ask which pronoun they like!
–Gender: a complex, academic term that (sort of) stands for your social/behavioral expression of your sex-identity. It can be explained by the genderbread person, that shows how sexual preference and body-image are two completely different things:
–Sex-Positive: you are looking at a sex-positive website. The maker believes that sex-positivity is a form of liberation, personal growth and a form of delicious political activism.
-Transgender 101 : There are many website that offer wider and deeper explanation (please note: explaining transgender issues actually feels a lot like the existence of transgender people is attacked) this is a good page to start.
3. SEX and PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES
-Are you a ‘first timer’ when it comes to sex with a transman? Download the sex-guide on top of the page here, and scroll down to read further on the use of hot, sexy language.
-Vic Hunt put up an educational (not safe for work) video about how his FTM body works when it comes to sex on Queerporn.tv (when clicking the link you’ll first need to state you’re over 18+, then visit the link again).
4. QUESTIONS and RESPECT
Transguys are hot but still generally get really strange questions.
Just download DUDE magazine: a fabulous transmale magazine, featuring comics and with lots of interviews and information on sexy transgender men who made the transition, their diversity and how to love them.
It’s available for download for free here: Dudemagazine.wordpress.com – and watch for the ‘weird questions’-cartoon from pages #26 to #29.
On etiquette: it is NOT okay to immediately start asking intimate questions to someone you don’t know. Same goes for transmen. First let them know you find them attractive. If they also show they find you mutually attractive, only then it is okay to ask for more details. Nobody has the ‘right’ to know what kind of genitalia you’ve got, unless you’re going to have sex.
Here is an example of the chat messages I get as an openly transgender guy on gay cruising apps:
Like TM4M says: “Sex with a transman is different…. but only because everyone is different.”
Download their excellent Primer on Trans/Non-trans Guys through their great website, a program of the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center.
Or click here for the direct link to the PDF.
Transmen have as much variety among each other as any other group of men. They may not like to do all sex positions you can think of, but neither do you. Everyone has a right to say no (seksuele weerbaarheid).
TM4M at the Eros Center in San Francisco is way ahead, because they have an atual FTM cruising night! And Crowbar in Seattle has a transmen BDSM night.
6. TO FETISH or NOT to FETISH
The line between fetishizing trans* people and simply admiring them or being curious is not so easy to point out.
Do you like someone BECAUSE they are trans* or would you like that someone even if they would not be trans*?
Some trans* people have a transgender identity, others do not. Transmen with a transgender identity may like to experiment with people who are curious about them, so they may not mind fetishizing so much. Transmen who simply have a male identity usually do not like to do so and do not like being seen as a freak or a separate category. They simply should be respected as men.
7. COMING OUT
Privacy is always important. Privacy means: only you, yourself have the right to disclose private information at a moment and time you chose yourself. Anyone who goes into a gay bar shouldn’t assume all guys are ‘out of the closet’ yet. It is not OK to ‘out’ someone.
This also goes for transmen. It is never okay to disclose their transgender status to others. Most trans* people prefer to do so themselves, or not at all.