Cruising and sex
Thank the universe there is internet… I’d like to say.
I do hit real life cruising bars regularly but not super spontaneous all that often. Because going there means that you may have to ‘come out as trans’ on a moment that usually isn’t your own choice or initiative (=losing ones privacy), since you can not be completely sure when someone suddenly grabs you in your crotch or proposes to suck your cock. That’s why I decided to put myself on virtual gay sex sites and gay cruising apps, openly visible as a transguy with facepic. So it’s a self chosen coming out moment.
I thought to myself: let’s see what happens. And it’s going swell! Better than expected. It seems gay guys (in the Netherlands) are more attracted to masculine appearance than to penises. A surprise. Whenever I log in, I immediately ‘catch’ guys who are interested in me, without me having to go through an uncertain process of having to come out as trans and trying to figure out if that’s a problem. The kind of responses I get can be divided into these five categories (in order of frequency):
1. Fetish: ‘Woof, I’ve never heard of your kind, I want sex with you’
2. Attraction: ‘Woof, I love the way you look, let’s see if we can connect’
3. (Well meant) compliments: ‘Woof, it’s so brave of you to be openly trans here! Wow, you actually look manly!’
4. Blunt, dense, dumb introductory questions: ‘Have you got a penis??!’
5. Hatemails: ‘Haha, freak!’
I decided that (in the beginning) I would respond to each message, since I usually appear to be the only transman in the Dutch virtual gay networks and I was a 24/7 activist so I liked to educate. ‘Perhaps the transguy that comes after me will have it easier’ I thought, but now I’ve stopped doing it and only reply to actual potential dates.
Still these apps are a great thing to have. In a chat-conversation with men that display interest in you, you should try to figure out what kind of personality you’re dealing with. Take care of your own safety and specifically try to figure out if he respects your limits and boundaries. One way to do this is by checking to see if he really listens and responds to the content of what you’re saying.
The above mentioned five categories can be interpreted both positive and negative.
1. Men who see you as ‘something interesting’ are usually not terribly interesting themselves. So you have a full right to ‘fetishize’ them in return and just have casual sex with them if you like. Dates with them can be pleasant if you guard your boundaries strictly. Or else danger is lurking they might see you as a puppet in their fantasy. Additionally there seems to be a higher risk these guys don’t want to use a condom. Especially if they are ‘discrete’ men with an unknowing partner at home. Hint: do not send them pics of your genitalia…
2. These men are pleasant. They usually admit themselves they don’t know anything about transmen en are eager to learn how to say things right. With these kinds of guys the chance is biggest you can figure out what you can do together as individuals, and see where you might click. And usually safe! This category seems to be less desperate than the first.
3. Yeah, yes, allright, we’ve heard it so often: transgender folks are considered to be ‘suffering sad individuals’ so if you actually publicly come out as trans, you’re ‘brave’ all of a sudden. Which implicates that being trans is actually something that’s worth condemnation. So guys who call you ‘brave’ put this in a well meant compliment that can feel a bit off… But: they mean it well! So give them a thank you message in return! These guys are our allies. These are the men that you can ask: “I really don’t dare to go to The Web alone, will you come with me?” And usually (in my case more than 60% of the case) this will result in an unexpected date.
Recently (I have to be honest here) I have stopped responding to well-meant-compliments because I get them every day and it’s starting to make me feel like I am some kind of sad, disabled person, being applauded for trying to ride a bike, if you know what I mean.
4. These responses are NOT OKAY. Say something about it! And if the comments escalate, report them to the webmaster. It is NOT OK if someone you’ve never ever spoken to just asks about your genitalia, without even saying hello first. You never need to answer this question. Not until you’ve figured he’s someone you’d actually like to date. In any other case: genitalia are irrelevant… make sure you don’t send them pics of your FTM dick (something that’s very common in the world of MSM men) since you’ll never be able to know if they show your pics to all their friends…
5. Again: this is NOT OKAY! Transgender people deserve as much respect as any other person in the world. Internet bullying needs to stop, so immediately report these harassments to the webmaster. And: block their profiles. These kinds of hate messages are extremely uncommon and I ALWAYS get them from guys without a facepic. Cowards.
Note: In the past GayRomeo used to delete the profiles of FTM‘s because transmen were considered to be female, but these days seem to be over.
Some comfort: categories 1 until 3 are most common in my case (I’d say 95%). Only Grindr is awful, where categories 4 & 5 occur much more often (30% of messages). This may be because Grindr has a large quantity of users, which always deteriorates quality. The most pleasant kinds of networks are those that are specialized, like bear sites and apps such as ‘BearWWW‘ and ‘Growlr’. Men there are slightly older on average, which means the chance they will behave like adults is a bit higher.
Do you own a cruising bar?
Here an example of (at maximum) 5 ‘rules’ that may turn your bar into a safer cruising space for all. More than 5 would be too many, since horny clients don’t read.
Transmen are mentioned in these rules, but are not made into a separate categorie. Since Transmen are simply men… Anything that applies to them, also applies for other customers. Transmen are a ‘different’ type’ of men because all men are different! Yet special safety may be needed to protect transmen from those who are uneducated and need to learn how to deal with diversity. An excellent example of these general rules can be found on the tm4m site.
This list is not final; positive feedback is appreciated!
Our Happy Cruising Guide:
Expect a wide range of genitalia and enjoy them respectfully.
Big cocks, small cocks, transgender cocks.
And vagina’s on mixed nights (= be explicit about this: is your darkroom open to women on mixed nights or not? It’s OK if it’s not, just be clear in your statements!)
2. Play nice.
Respect each others’ physical boundaries. No is no!
Not everyone’s into fisting. So it’s o.k. to talk in the darkroom!
3. We welcome transmen.
Any man who feels comfortable in a space that has hot steaming masculinity is explicitly welcome here. No phalloplasty needed!
4. No barebacking.
Take our (free) condoms and enjoy the lube plentyful.
5. No drugs.
We want this club to remain open.
Apart from ‘no barebacking’ and ‘no harddrugs’ it’s also advisable to make rules about being photographed/filmed. A good example can be found on the TRUT website.
Privacy is important, not just for transgender folks. A general rule is: always ask first, if people actually want to be photographed or not, especially if your putting pics on a website or on Facebook.
This list can be pinned near darkrooms, toilets, condom machines, dungeons, etc.
As you can see this list is focusing on cis gay male clubs and transmen. It does not focus on cruising in public space such as parcs etc.
As an inspiration: take a look at these five reasons why sex with a transman can be great!
Another space that could be interesting to educate on transfriendlyness would be: ‘parenclubs’ (swingers’ clubs).
They usually charge single men a lot more. This is understandably because of cis male heteronormative macho behaviour. However: the chance of a transman behaving in such a way is much smaller, since most transmen have been socialized as female and/or are usually less arrogant about their own sexual confidence and… Transmen are not unfamiliair with female bodies, since they used to have such a physique themselves ofcourse. This is only a general statement though – I am pretty sure sexist unpleasant macho transmen also exist.
I’d like to plead though that transmen deserve a discount on these parties as opposed to ‘biological’ men but… I have no idea on how a transman can actually prove he is trans* without being submitted to humiliating situations.
Ideas are very welcome!
Currently I am slowly researching primarily straight sexual services; such as female sex work clubs, private clubs and independant sex workers. You can email me your own experiences anonymously.
Extra suggestion: if you are transgender and you’re also mentally and/or physically challenged it may be difficult to cruise in regular spaces, but in The Netherlands there are a few organisations that are specialized in mediating sexual services:
–Foundation for Alternative Relations (SAR)
–De Schildpad this foundation offers a lot of info and links
–www.seksmeteenhandicap.nl offers loads of info as well
–Nightlife Escortservice (Nijmegen) commercial escort, also open to physically handicapped.