I feel really steady after a visit from my male lover. Being unproblematically a faggot with him felt so peaceful… How refreshing to not find myself either subconsciously butching it up to get masculine recognition or fagging out to convince gays that I am one of them. It’s remarkable what being seen and eroticized for exactly what you are will do for your peace of mind. While, of course, my friends do see me as a fag, they don’t eroticize me as a fag, and this makes all the difference in the world. To a great extent, my gender anxiety is specifically about how I am perceived by the people I’m attracted to.
It’s funny, being around him makes me feel really male – why else would I be with such a faggot anyway? – which frees me up to not worry about being masculine at all. The thing is, he doesn’t care in the slightest that I’m not male. He eroticizes me simultaneously and without any contradiction as: effeminate, a pretty young boy, a butch, and a fag. The stunning accurateness of his reading of me (which he came to with a minimum of verbal explanation on my part) gives me peace. It is like a bath of cool water to feel that one’s combination of sex/gender/sexuality is not a completely unintelligible impossibility.
Talking to him, I confessed that I didn’t care too much about achieving some ideal of perfect gender coherence (by transitioning for instance), but that I did want my sexuality to be intelligible to the those I am attracted to. When I recounted my dating travails to him (feeling that I was not the proper object for either butches or gay men), his diagnosis was that this was a geographical problem, and that I was limited by the vocabularies of gender and sexuality available in my small Southern city. (This is something that quite a few folks have suggested to me lately). In a larger city, he thought, dating within my sexual orientation would not be a problem. “You might have to take T,” he added, and explained that I could always take it for a little while and then stop. Just enough to be able to get male recognition, but not enough to radically change my appearance.
The remarkably simple way he put things gave me pause. Suddenly, I felt that I didn’t have to agonize about whether I did or didn’t have gender dysphoria, did or didn’t want to transition, did or didn’t want a male body. Part of why these questions have been so difficult for me to answer, I realized, was because I didn’t fully care.
One refrain in my head lately has been “I want to be male so that I don’t have to be masculine” or “I want to be male so that I can just be effeminate.” It is accompanied by a beautiful image of me as a frolicking, free effeminate gay boy. So many gay men would want to sleep with me. I could suck so much dick… Physically, I would be just as I am now, but masculinized, male.
…But then, when I would see actual men, I would begin to doubt whether I really wanted to transition. I look like a boy now (though I am much older than your average boy), and it’s become part of my identity – I am, to the core, a bratty, playful, mischievous, provocative, precocious boy. It’s easy to imagine myself as a gay male boy rather than a female faggot boy. But try as I might, I just can’t imagine myself as a man. And yet a man is what I would become if I transitioned. At this point, I would realize that I couldn’t just become the boy I have in my head by transitioning. I would have to let my body do what it would with testosterone, and what that would be, I could not fully predict.
I think the fact that the transition fantasy sours when I think about becoming uncontrollably male says a lot about my relationship to my sexed body. Which is this: I like the way my body is now. I think I would like it better if it were just a tad more male. But, I don’t think it would fully feel like me if it were male to the point that I would look like a manly fellow of my actual age. In the end, though, I think I would be fine with any of these bodies. I could say the same thing about my gendered pronoun. “She” feels normal to me most of the time (except on occasion when I think people have made a mistake when they say it, until I realize that it’s actually what I go by). But I think “he” would probably feel accurate too, maybe even more so than “she”. My conclusion: I may have certain ideal preferences, but the truth is that I don’t really care that much either way about either my sexed body or my gendered pronoun, as long as I can be a faggot with masculine and/or male lovers.
This is why it felt eerie when my lover said that I would have no problem in a bigger city, though I might have to take T, but that I could always take it for just a little while and then stop. First, the easy acknowledgment that it is sexuality, far more than body or gender dysphoria (though these exist to a certain degree) that is the issue for me. Second, the implication that I could transition for reasons of sexuality alone. Third, the affirmation this decision could be based on geography and relationality, not on what I ought to want for my gender and body in some kind of social vacuum. Fourth, that I could control the extent of the transition, transitioning just enough to get male recognition, but not becoming fully who I would be if I had the levels of testosterone that a male would naturally have. I could, in effect, become the gay boy of my dreams, taking that one tiny step over to the male side and stopping right there. Just like I am now, but male. Somehow, admitting to myself that I don’t really care about my sexed body or gender pronoun makes this all so seems so reassuringly simple and so close to what I want.
And what I want might not, after all, involve transition. At a gay bar, he asked, “So, do you ever talk to guys at gay bars? I mean, what do they think of you?” When I told him that I had experienced chemistry, flirtation, and dirty dancing with gay guys, but that there was ultimately some kind of block in their heads about going any further with someone who they could see was female, he said indignantly, “That is soo stupid. You should move to a city. There are a lot of gay men in New York who actively blur the line.”
So the plan now is a change of location. I move to a big city. I see what kinds of masculine queers populate that city. Butch, boi, genderqueer, trans, FTM, gay?… And who do each of these groups tend to date? If, in this city, a decent amount of masculine queers are likely to see and to eroticize the fag in me, then this might be the end of my journey. (Of course, it could also be the opposite. It’s possible that the more I start living as a fag, the less I want to be anything female.) If, however, taking that one tiny step over to the male side of things is all I would need to magnetize the attraction of masculine queers, then I could do just that. And, as a bonus, I would become the beautiful gay boy of my dreams.