By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
For some of us, it takes so much energy to figure out why we feel weird about our bodies and obtain professional assistance that once we are able to pass, we run out of gas. When I asked one transsexual woman about her sex life, she said, "Oh, I don't have time for personal things. This [meaning the counseling agency she had founded] is everything for me." I might have chalked it up to estrogen's dampening effect on the sex drive or the possibility that her genital surgery had left her unable to have an orgasm, until I met two Belgian transmen who had "you-can't-tell-it's-not-butter," state-of-the-art phalloplasties, and heard to my dismay that neither of them had taken his studly beauty for a test drive.
All this malaise is unfortunately consistent with a very retro picture of what transgendered people can realistically expect. But activism has begun to spread the legs of tranny lust. There may not be a drag king bar on every corner, but every protest rally or courtroom vigil is a cruising opportunity. There are hotbeds of bed-hopping like the True Spirit conference and Fantasia Fair. There are Web sites and lists catering to every splinter group in the trans community, from Filipina Ribbon Dancers for Jesus to Republican Pagan Organic Gardening Gay Dads. You can, I am told, cultivate a steady stream of trade by heating up the DSL lines.
An MTF or FTM who wants a lover, a fuck buddy, or just a trick has to sort through the misconceptions of "straight" men looking for "well-hung, fully functional she-males," femme dykes seeking a "butch or FTM lover" they refer to as "she," and oddballs like the poor man who frantically IMd me with questions about how big testosterone had made my "clit" and demanded that I stop whatever I was doing and measure it for him. Some of us choose other trans people as partners in hopes of avoiding objectification. But there are also openhearted and adventurous genetic men and women who give us a chance to stick around till morning or deliberately seek out transgendered partners.
Nowadays, I suspect, for every high-minded tranny celibate there's a high-powered slut who has more euphoria than dysphoria in his, her, or shim's boudoir. The narratives of transgender desire today include a group of trannyfags in Seattle who incited both consternation and delight when they took their pants off at a local bathhouse, a boisterous miniskirted non-womyn-born-womyn who has suckled and finger-fucked her way through practically an entire chapter of the Lesbian Avengers of a certain East Coast city, and the people in long-term relationships that I see interacting tenderly with one another at support groups and conferences.
It amazes me to see so many transpeople who have retained the ability to love or even just the optimism it takes to give an attractive stranger a phone number, despite all the abuse that we have endured. We have become so much stronger than anyone ever told us we could be. The determination to fulfill our desire is a vital component of that power. -P.C.