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Old 11-10-2009, 11:09 PM   #61
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Linus and Greyson, thank you both very much!

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Did the person in question know both of you before Nick began transition?
Linus, it always seems to be strangers... maybe Nick knows them but, I doubt it. It's really bad in restaurants and grocery stores.

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Evening Bit. I am going to give your questions a shot. This has happened to me where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. And, as a matter of fact it did seem to happen more often when I was in the company of femmes and other ladies.
Greyson, this is what I was wondering. Now I'm wondering if, in the company of men, Transmen might not have this strange situation... in other words, this thing which has always happened around me, this thing which somehow makes strangers think that any Butch I am with is my sister rather than my lover, is this "the-thing-which-makes-me-invisible-as-a-Femme" at work in yet one more way to make people "un-see" a Transman?

If it is, then I can finally understand the knee-jerk reaction some Transmen have had to the idea of staying in the community, and the insistence some Transmen have had on being with straight women rather than Femmes. It never made sense to me and I felt really hurt by the overwhelming way some guys rejected not just the community but also Transensual Femmes.

I never understood why the person who most wanted to support a guy would be the person he rejected... but if a Femme's very presence is enough to make strangers everywhere "un-see" a Transman's truth, it becomes clear why so many guys shy away.

Am I on the right track here? Or am I way out in left field?

I'm telling you, I have been SO TEMPTED to turn to these people in shock and say--as politely as I can, to educate not to blast--"why are you calling him a lady? We would prefer it if you said 'you guys' or 'you folks' please."

I refrain because it isn't my battle to fight, and I wouldn't do that to a guy without permission.

...........but omg I cringe, I cringe, I cringe.....
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:28 AM   #62
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I have a question. Lately when Nick and Gryph and I have been out in public, it has seemed to me that people have been going out of their way to call us "ladies."

*snip*

So anyhow, here's my question. Does this happen to you in your area, or is it just the Midwest US; and if it does happen where you are, does it happen to you more when you are with a Femme than if you are alone?

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Greyson, this is what I was wondering. Now I'm wondering if, in the company of men, Transmen might not have this strange situation... in other words, this thing which has always happened around me, this thing which somehow makes strangers think that any Butch I am with is my sister rather than my lover, is this "the-thing-which-makes-me-invisible-as-a-Femme" at work in yet one more way to make people "un-see" a Transman?

*snip*

If it is, then I can finally understand the knee-jerk reaction some Transmen have had to the idea of staying in the community, and the insistence some Transmen have had on being with straight women rather than Femmes.

*snip*

Am I on the right track here? Or am I way out in left field?
Hi Bit...

I don't think it's a regional thing at all. From *my* experiences, I was not perceived as male when I was out-n-about because I was read as female. It didn't matter if it was out west, on the east coast, down in Texas, or up in Minnesota.

I had top surgery 16 months prior to starting T. During that time, I very often was sir'd upon initial contact........and then I spoke.

Prior to that, I bound my chest. If someone picked up on that fact, then they didn't even need my voice to "clue them in".

It didn't matter how I dressed, carried myself, or wore my hair. They read me as female, so I was "ma'am" and "lady". And what really sucked is that I don't recall thinking that anyone was *ever* being disrespectful. Quite the opposite, actually.

For me, these were my experiences whether or not I was alone, with family, with guys, or with femmes. It just didn't matter.

So I don't know that *that* would be the reason a transman would opt out of the company of other queers and/or femmes. Just my opinion, of course...

Respectfully,
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:10 AM   #63
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I'd like to know what your families thought; how they responded to your changes.

Anyone is welcome to answer this.
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:33 AM   #64
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I'd like to know what your families thought; how they responded to your changes.

Anyone is welcome to answer this.
Well, I'm lucky and unlucky. My mom's family (who I grew up with mostly) have been very supportive (I have 3 uncles and 2 aunts along with my grandmother and a 2nd cousin). My grandmother was the only one who said she'd refuse to use anything but my birthname and gender. I think when she saw how happy and content I was at my aunt's wedding this summer she softened. Certainly they all said that they loved me and were supportive but that they might need time to get used to it. My aunt (the one who got married) and my cousin have been the most supportive of me. My other aunt (who was closer to my mom's age) is a little more conservative and taking a little longer but still supportive.

My grandmother, being a nurse, was concerned about the medical side of things but when I let them know about the regular lab work and doctor's visits they were more supportive. Out of the blue, my grandmother started using "Linus" rather than my birthname during our online Scrabble games. I guess she's starting to come around. I suspect she still doesn't understand or like it but still loves me and just wants me happy. I don't see my family that often (maybe 1-2 a year, if that).

My father and his wife... well, they've never really been supportive and he wasn't in my view of life until I was in my late teens (largely due to court orders and not necessarily something he choose). But his conservative Christian background, I'm sure, tells him not to agree to my path. He has said that as long as I'm happy that's all that matters. Again, I don't see him or hear from him that often. I have a cousin on that side of the family that I occasionally hear from and her mother, my aunt/father's sister, does reach out now and again to me.

Transitioning as an adult, I think, can be somewhat easier because you are living your own life and making your own decisions.
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:37 AM   #65
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I'd like to know what your families thought; how they responded to your changes.

Anyone is welcome to answer this.
Neither of my parents are alive and weren't when I started my transition.

I have a large number of siblings and loads of nieces and nephews, etc... While I know in my heart of hearts that many of them had certain feelings of not understanding, all have shown (at least to *me*) acceptance and love.

I have not shared real-time space with my family since I started T (mostly because I'm not real big on flying), but I share photos. Not much is said; the few comments I've heard are mostly along the lines of "you look really good".

I know it's hard for them and that they struggle with just how to celebrate/acknowledge/question the physical changes. They're loving and respectful, and I appreciate that.
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Old 11-11-2009, 11:53 AM   #66
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Neither of my parents are alive and weren't when I started my transition.

I have a large number of siblings and loads of nieces and nephews, etc... While I know in my heart of hearts that many of them had certain feelings of not understanding, all have shown (at least to *me*) acceptance and love.

I have not shared real-time space with my family since I started T (mostly because I'm not real big on flying), but I share photos. Not much is said; the few comments I've heard are mostly along the lines of "you look really good".

I know it's hard for them and that they struggle with just how to celebrate/acknowledge/question the physical changes. They're loving and respectful, and I appreciate that.
I don't know how I'm going to handle mine. None of them has a clue about gender transition or reassignment. I got in a fist fight with my uncle who called me every name in the book and then some as we rolled on the floor fighting. My father disowned me briefly until we reconciled this past year. This was just because I was gay—can you imagine the response to reassignment?

On the other hand, my aunt was way cool about me telling her I was transgendered. But to physically change is another matter entirely. My mother is dead and my dad is really aging. My entire extended family knows I'm gay, and there are many of them. I came out to my best friends and the idea of being male didn't surprise them at all. I don't need top surgery other than keyhole. I've never had to bind or anything like that, and I'm grateful.

I think its going to be imperative to join support groups as well as therapy.


I still want to leave the question open here on the thread as well as, does your work know?
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:01 PM   #67
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<snip>

This was just because I was gayŚcan you imagine the response to reassignment?

<snip>

I still want to leave the question open here on the thread as well as, does your work know?
I've heard from some transguys who said that their parents were against them being gay but when they started transitioning it was ok since now they would "appear" normal (hetreonormative relationship appearance concept I think). Hopefully they will be supportive or, at the least, respectful.

My work knows and has been extremely supportive. In fact, I was surprised that even the most ardent born-again Christian was. He was very respectful (I suspect he may not fully understand the whys) and we, when meeting up, still have our discussions about the Bible and such. I know I'm extremely lucky to be in a work environment that is so supportive. Even some of my clients know and are very supportive. Their support comes from me doing an excellent job, regardless of my personal life. (which is how it's supposed to be, no?)
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:56 PM   #68
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Thank you, Thinker!
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And what really sucked is that I don't recall thinking that anyone was *ever* being disrespectful. Quite the opposite, actually.
This is what I've been seeing; it is so PAINFULLY obvious that they're "being respectful" yanno?

Thank you for your input on the whole "with or without a Femme" question. I think the voice issue plagues many Transmen until the T lowers their voices or gives them facial hair, one or the other... but I do have a friend who is talking about going to a vocal coach and I think that might be a good way to handle the voice issue as well.

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Old 11-11-2009, 03:13 PM   #69
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Thank you, Thinker!


This is what I've been seeing; it is so PAINFULLY obvious that they're "being respectful" yanno?

Thank you for your input on the whole "with or without a Femme" question. I think the voice issue plagues many Transmen until the T lowers their voices or gives them facial hair, one or the other... but I do have a friend who is talking about going to a vocal coach and I think that might be a good way to handle the voice issue as well.
I don't have a voice issue. I'm called sir on the phone. And my oldest and dearest friend has a voice so low she sounds like man always. And she's as straight and feminine as it gets.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:26 PM   #70
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I still want to leave the question open here on the thread as well as, does your work know?
I work for myself right now, so it's a non-issue. It was also very intentionally set up that way.

My entire career prior to my transition (fresh out of college and for the next 21 years) was in K-12 public education. When I decided to move forward with my transition, I was out of the schools and working in central office.

There wasn't one ounce of my being that believed I would be able to announce my transition and carry it out in that position (even though I wasn't physically in a school at that time).

I was a top-notch employee, so maybe it would not have been an issue. I don't know. I do know that the school system I was in did not protect individuals on the basis of gender identity (or sexual orientation, for that matter), and I had a sickening feeling that they would find some way to either get rid of me or push me out.

Disgusting, I know; but it was a feeling I just couldn't shake.

So my lady and I made other plans for me and for 'us', and that is the life we are living now.
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:03 PM   #71
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I have a question. Lately when Nick and Gryph and I have been out in public, it has seemed to me that people have been going out of their way to call us "ladies."

Now if you've known me for a while, you already know that it makes me uncomfortable to be called "lady" because, after all, that's my dog's name... well, okay, really it's because of the stereotypical crap I was force-fed growing up about a lady is always quiet and demure and never laughs out loud (I cannot stop laughing when something is funny), a lady never shows the least hint of temper (I cuss like a sailor! sheesh), a lady never sweats (omgawd, in PHOENIX? seriously?! Are you insane?!)---but when I am out with a transman who is wearing a dress shirt and tie, someone who does not even LOOK female, and people go out of their way to call us ladies.... well it just makes me cringe!

I suppose one of the big cringe factors is their attitude; they are quite obviously going out of their way to be extra nice and to reassure us all that "they can tell [the transman] is actually really female, no worries, we accept you as a girl, we aren't going to embarrass you by not noticing your femaleness" omg it just makes me CRINGE....

So anyhow, here's my question. Does this happen to you in your area, or is it just the Midwest US; and if it does happen where you are, does it happen to you more when you are with a Femme than if you are alone?

I would ask Nick directly, but yanno he and Gryph are off shooting paper people dead and I don't want to forget the question---so hey, Nick, would you mind answering too? Do you get this treatment more when I'm with you?

Thanks in advance for your answers, everyone. I appreciate your time.

cath...

as I answered you while there (but am posting for posterity)

It does happen more when I am around females, whether Femmes or even my lil sister. I do not feel as though they are trying to be disrespectful it is quite the contrary. Perhaps it has something to do with them wanting to recognize what they perceive as queer and want *me* to know that they *see* me for my *queer* self and are totally ok with it, *ladies* (wink and smile). While this motis operandi causes me no end of internal turmoil, I do not see any disrespect or venom in it. It does not happen as often when I am alone, but I believe I carry myself differently when alone, there is much more 'matter of fact' and 'stay back' than when I am with friends.

The vocal issue is also ever present as is the lack of facial hair. My baby face never helps matters. :S

I am convinced that with reconstruction I will have a much better pass rate and I utterly refuse to blame the issue on such a sweet girl as you.

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Old 11-12-2009, 02:05 PM   #72
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I am convinced that with reconstruction I will have a much better pass rate and I utterly refuse to blame the issue on such a sweet girl as you.

Bless your heart, love! You are ever the gentleman.

I believe T will probably masculinize your face and voice enough so that people will see you as a man with or without surgery--yes, I know, surgery is vitally important! But I think it's the T which will make the most changes.

For me, there seems to be a link between Femme Invisibility and Transman Invisibility... but that might be that I am too close to the situation to see it clearly, I don't know.

What I do know is how startling it is when people go out of their way to be accepting of a Transman as a Queer Butch... cuz yanno, it just has NOT been that long ago that people were practically spitting on the ground whenever Queer Butches walked by. If ever there were a flag flying to point out the shift in the cultural wind of this society, I think this one might be it!

I still cringe inside, though. *sheepish smile*
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:18 PM   #73
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Like I said, I've never had voice issues i.e. calling Adobe for tech support yesterday and today and both times they called me "sir" or "Parker, sir" the whole time.....of course I just grinned.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:19 PM   #74
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Bless your heart, love! You are ever the gentleman.

*snip*

What I do know is how startling it is when people go out of their way to be accepting of a Transman as a Queer Butch... cuz yanno, it just has NOT been that long ago that people were practically spitting on the ground whenever Queer Butches walked by. If ever there were a flag flying to point out the shift in the cultural wind of this society, I think this one might be it!

I still cringe inside, though. *sheepish smile*
*nods*

I agree, it was not that long ago that it was common place to endure some asshats diatribe on gender expression on a daily basis.

*winds of change* they are ever blowing, gale-force winds these days.

I cringe inside too hon, I am amazed it doesn't show on the outside.

I am thankfull for one specific aspect of the changing climate re: butches.. I do not feel comfortable yet in using mensrooms.. less and less I have encountered the 'looks' or hasty 'clutching of children' by fellow restroom goers as I used to..

so either people are getting used to it, OR I'm avoiding public restrooms more than I used to (both are distinct possibilities)
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:36 PM   #75
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I believe T will probably masculinize your face and voice enough so that people will see you as a man with or without surgery-[sic] ....it just has NOT been that long ago that people were practically spitting on the ground whenever Queer Butches walked by. If ever there were a flag flying to point out the shift in the cultural wind of this society, I think this one might be it!
Not that long ago it was taboo to be a butch because they were always stereotyped as diesel dykes connotating something low class, at least where I lived. That's how it was when I left the community, and lived in seclusion for over 10 years, 17 years ago. I was amazed when I "came back" and saw the prevalence of gender reassignments and gender queer ID's out in the open. It was culture shock to say the least. It blew my mind because it was always how I felt and I had kept it to myself and with whomever I was partnered.

Fast forward to today...I'm going to find support groups in Atlanta which i think would be helpful and I already have my doc. I don't require top surgery or binding or anything, just the hormone therapy. Working on therapist now and insurance issues etc.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:47 PM   #76
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Like I said, I've never had voice issues i.e. calling Adobe for tech support yesterday and today and both times they called me "sir" or "Parker, sir" the whole time.....of course I just grinned.
If I make a trully concerted effort to keep my voice low, breathing even and stay tranquil calm... *then* I sound sorta close. I know I am my own worst critic on my voice.. but I do believe cath is right in my specific case.

On a seperate note, I think I am gonna have to seek a doc in Wichita. I had tried to contact a local doc via e-mail that I know, like, and respect... after a month and no reply I am gonna strike out in a larger talent pool.
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:54 PM   #77
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Default hoping not to offend, this is tricky stuff

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Linus and Greyson, thank you both very much!

Greyson, this is what I was wondering. Now I'm wondering if, in the company of men, Transmen might not have this strange situation... in other words, this thing which has always happened around me, this thing which somehow makes strangers think that any Butch I am with is my sister rather than my lover, is this "the-thing-which-makes-me-invisible-as-a-Femme" at work in yet one more way to make people "un-see" a Transman?

If it is, then I can finally understand the knee-jerk reaction some Transmen have had to the idea of staying in the community, and the insistence some Transmen have had on being with straight women rather than Femmes. It never made sense to me and I felt really hurt by the overwhelming way some guys rejected not just the community but also Transensual Femmes.

I never understood why the person who most wanted to support a guy would be the person he rejected... but if a Femme's very presence is enough to make strangers everywhere "un-see" a Transman's truth, it becomes clear why so many guys shy away.

Am I on the right track here? Or am I way out in left field?

I'm telling you, I have been SO TEMPTED to turn to these people in shock and say--as politely as I can, to educate not to blast--"why are you calling him a lady? We would prefer it if you said 'you guys' or 'you folks' please."

I refrain because it isn't my battle to fight, and I wouldn't do that to a guy without permission.

...........but omg I cringe, I cringe, I cringe.....
Hi Bit, I thought I would take a stab at addressing your thoughts/questions with regard to transmen "rejecting" femmes. Of course, I think it would be impossible to apply definitive answers, but I suspect there are a couple of issues at play.

I do think some transmen choose not to partner with femmes because of how they'll be "read" by the public, but the reasons are varied and often go deeper than simply being "un-seen," afterall it would be difficult to "un-see" many transmen (as opposed to someone like me, who is often sir'ed, frequently not, and can be un-seen without much difficulty).

So I offer up a few of my observations, none of which I think suggest intentional rejection (or rejection from a place of cruelty) of those who would offer the most support.
  • Some have never felt gay/queer and don't feel a fit with the community.
  • Some want to fully assimilate into "straight" life, for whatever reason(s), such as fear of exposure (and the possibility of rejection), or greater feelings of association and belonging.
  • Some don't want any attention drawn to them at all, they simply want to blend in with the crowd. Sometimes, some femmes can be a bit, uh, flamboyant (like drag queens) and that alone draws attention (no judgment, just sayin!)
  • Sometimes it IS a form of homophobia. I'm going to leave that one for further discussion.
  • Sometimes it's simply that they feel they don't belong, don't have a right to date/partner from the queer pool anymore. Maybe they've too often heard, "if you think you're a man, why are you trying to date lesbians?!" (That makes me cringe.)

Again, I'm just throwing out somethings I've encountered, nothing definitive here. I would like very much to hear what other transfolk (I've been elsewhere roasted for using that term, but whatevs, I'm using it) have experienced or feel with regard to Bit's questions (which I feel ARE on track).
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:02 PM   #78
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If you're a man, why are you trying to date lesbians?!"

I don't partner with women who think they are... or are lesbians.

There's that gray part... "transensual" women...attracted to male energy looks, physique, whatever but cannot/or prefers not to be with bio men for whatever reason. And they aren't attracted to women or the idea of being with another woman as a lesbian. (That's how transensual has been explained to me.)

A transensual is attractive to me being male as I am; I've never been a lesbian in the classic sense and never could be. Transitioning falls in place being attracted certain types of women, as I am, and having them to reciprocate... among other things.What I have wondered is why a couple who passes as a man and woman continue to stay in this lifestyle instead the straight lifestyle.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:01 PM   #79
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First, I want to be clear that I respect the intent of this thread and am reading it quietly in order to learn more about my community. I do not mean to derail the discussion or the intended subject except that there is a concept being brought up here I think needs a small mention.

I'll use myself to illustrate. I am a lesbian. Specifically a queer lesbian. I am currently partnered to a transperson. His identity does not affect or alter mine. It never caused me to draw into question my sexual orientation or otherwise. Being with him has helped me to see more clearly the scope of my desire. Intellectually, emotionally, physically.

That scope is quite large. Based solely on gender identity or sex, I cannot tell you with whom I would *not* choose to be. The very idea now seems ludicrous. I can only tell you that, in the main, I am drawn to a given set.

So for me to read that others would exclude me, based on how I identify the main of my sexual orientation is confusing to me. It's the struggle of the bisexual. Because she is capable of being attracted to either sex (provided we are buying the binary here), does that mean she cannot choose? And because of these foundless suspicions against her, she will forever be overlooked.

I am a lesbian. My boyfriend is not.


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Old 11-12-2009, 05:10 PM   #80
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If you're a man, why are you trying to date lesbians?!"

I don't partner with women who think they are... or are lesbians.

There's that gray part... "transensual" women...attracted to male energy looks, physique, whatever but cannot/or prefers not to be with bio men for whatever reason. And they aren't attracted to women or the idea of being with another woman as a lesbian. (That's how transensual has been explained to me.)

A transensual is attractive to me being male as I am; I've never been a lesbian in the classic sense and never could be. Transitioning falls in place being attracted certain types of women, as I am, and having them to reciprocate... among other things.What I have wondered is why a couple who passes as a man and woman continue to stay in this lifestyle instead the straight lifestyle.

You illustrate some of what I was trying to get at in my post, though I would take issue that a transsensual femme can't also be attracted to women (as a parallel, consider bi-sexual women). There may be some transsensual femmes who would take me to task on this, and by no means do I claim, or aim, to speak for all. I think the definition of transsensual femme, as it was provided to you, is partly accurate. What I think is inaccurate is where it speaks to what a transsensual femme is NOT, because she could, in fact, also be attracted to cis-gendered males.

The key element is simply that her attraction, her primary attraction possibly, is to transgendered/transsexual individuals.

I have often heard questioned why trans individuals and their partners would want to "stay in this lifestyle" (my personal assertion is that this is my life, not a lifestyle), and usually from a place of exclusion (which is what I was getting at with the "why would you want to date a lesbian" statement). These sort of sentiments can quickly turn ugly in an attempt to remove the offending heteronormative types from queer space.

I'm not suggesting that's your position - because here you are, a transitioning male in a queer community, one in which I believe you have said you feel welcome. (Please correct me if I'm overstepping here). I do want to illustrate, though, how easily we can adopt an exclusionary mindset when considering these issues in a butch/femme/queer/lesbian forum.

There was a time I felt I didn't really belong, and I distanced myself from the community, both online and locally. It was my lover who enticed me out from the corner where I sat nursing my drink - my lover, who identifies as a lesbian, and who's identity does not challenge my own. She no more makes me a lesbian than I make her less of one.

I feel comfortable in the world - I make no distinction between my association in my queer community and my associations in the mainstream. When I feel slighted, or have experienced something I know no "straight" friend can relate to, it is to this community that I turn. I would never want to lose that.

I believe transpeople sometimes suffer a lot of grief by feeling they have to "choose." I'm not certain. Maybe I'm just talking out of my ass, but that's a topic I'd really like to see Thinker, Linus, Paphigleo and others weigh in on.

So that's my question: Do you feel you have to choose between the worlds? Do you have to pick a lane, a queer or heterosexual life? Is there really even a need to do so?
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