Change Your World-NOT your Body

Monday, August 9, 2010

Transmen FTM's: Where are their/there men in this Tragedy?

Aside from testosterone, the most prevalent topic of conversation on any trans(male) forum/website/group is "passing", there are literally thousands of comments devoted to this. A few examples here and here...

With the regularity that I see this nonsense, I just cant help but wonder what these females fathers, brothers, male cousins, uncles, male friends etc relationships must have been like? That is if they in fact had any close relationships with males to begin with. I cant say I have read much in the way of trans(men) and the men in their lives save other trans(men). I've seen plenty on their mothers, how their mothers reacted to their transition, their mother's not understanding their transition, their mothers accepting or not accepting their transitions, but next to nothing about their men.

Hell, I'm just your basic biological Butch female, yet until adulthood the only close relationships I had were with males. Instead of a mother and a father I wound up quite early with a father and two father figures, sadly I'm down to having only one father figure left. And while I made friends with other females easy enough, all my close friendships were with boys growing up, some of which are still in my life today.

A father that bought me a mini bike when I was four years old, three years before I would get a two wheel bicycle, a father that bought me a cane pole when I was also four so that I could participate when he, my mother and older brother went fishing all summer. I can still hear his voice as loud and clear as church bells on a Sunday ringing in my ears when I hooked my first fish with it, "back up, back up, almost, keep backing up". And I still feel his pride when for years afterward he would brag his 4 year old daughter caught a 14" perch on a kids cane pole. A father who bought me my first BB gun when I was 5, a 4-10 two years later and took me rifle practicing. A father who took pride in me knowing how to shoot a gun, but never made me feel less than or ashamed because I couldnt kill with that knowledge. A father who loved to cook and can and made the best waffles on Sundays. A father who when at our cabin up north would make me special blueberry pancakes because they were my favourite. A father who taught me how to ride a motorcycle when I was 10, including how to land if I decided once I got comfortable to jump ramps with it (which I did). A father who taught me how to drive a stick shift. A father who showed me how to fix things, from basic car problems to home appliances. A father who showed me how to make "jacks" to throw underneath "scab" cars that crossed a picket line. A father who always kissed my brother as well as me. A father who helped me to move into my first house. A father who called me 6 years ago telling me his doctor told him he is no longer responding to chemo and to go home and call hospice. A father I watched slowly shrink from the strong muscle bound man that he had always been, even in his sixties and die over the next two months. A father whose funeral I completely lost it at. A father who I miss everyday.

A father figure, my half brother 21 years older than me. A half brother who took me along with his kids, swimming. A half brother who took his son and I to football games. A half brother who took his son, daughter and I to weekly local hockey games. A half brother who taught me how to BBQ. A half brother who took us too the local speed races. A half brother who would toss a football to his son and I between the isles in the store. A half brother who would sometimes join in a basketball game with his son and I. A half brother who every Memorial Day would take me and his kids to put flowers on our mother's grave. A half brother that would tell stories about our ma, so that I would never forget her. A half brother who let me have the car on weekends when I first got my driver license. A half brother who died suddenly when I was 26. A half brother at whose wake I drank for 12 straight hours and it still didnt dull the pain. A half brother whose silly sayings I repeat often so he feels just a little closer to my heart than the ground that covers him.

A father figure, my brother 7 years older than me. A brother with a genius IQ who always challenged me and challenged me to challenge myself. A brother for whom I would not have the excellent memory that means everything to me. A brother who expanded my knowledge of music, art, tv and film. A brother who taught me how to play marbles like a pro. A brother who whipped the pants off me in pong when our dad bought us the very first home video game console in 1975. A brother who helped me to get my first job which I held for twenty years. A brother who paid the down payment on my first house. A brother who I have dinner with twice a week. A brother who is my last living father figure.

Uncles. I grew up with LOTS of uncles. Uncles who taught me about wood working. Uncles who joked with me in their uncle ways. Uncles who picked me up once a week to meet other uncles and their friends for coffee. Uncles who showed me how to ride a horse, milk cows and slop pigs. Uncles who taught me how to fight, if I had to. Uncles who invited me to join their pool league at the local bar. Uncles who upon seeing me cry, I caused them to cry at my fathers funeral. Uncles who still when I see any of those still living always, always, always make me laugh.

Male cousins. I grew up with lots of male cousins. Male cousins I played cars with. Male cousins I played hide and seek with. Male cousins I played tag with. Male cousins who I hung out with at the video arcade with. Male cousins I got jumped with. Male cousins I was shot at with. Male cousins I played quarter bounce with. Male cousins who after my father died spent several weeks at my house to make sure I was alright. Male cousins who were my best friends and still are.

Male friends. I grew up with lots of male friends. Male friends who dared me to jump ramps on my bike. Male friends who together we dominated at King of the Mountain. Male Cub Scout friends who taught me in the 4th grade how to tie a tie. Male friends I traded Hot Wheels with. Male friends who shared their allowance with me when I had none. Male friends who purchased me a season pass every year for our schools football games. Male friends I cruised around with. Male friends who together spray painted our names on the high school wall. Male friends I played football and basketball with from grade school on into my twenties. Male friends, many of whom I still talk to today. Male friends without whom it would have made for a very boring and lonely childhood.

Patriarchy set many limits on my life as a female, but the males in my life saw to it that I was largely unaware of those limits. I think it safe to hazard a guess that the males in the lives of many trans(men) mirrored patriarchy perfectly to their daughters, rather than shattering it.



  1. Awesome post dirt!

  2. really never considered the role of male role models in this way, very eye opening, thank you.

  3. I love the post!

    As someone who's grandfather never treated her like a "little girl" although I have always been "daddies and grandpa's little girl," How do I keep my son from become a sexist pig? How do I show him that my father who loves art and reading is just as much a man as his uncle that loves sports and his Pa who is a "man's man?"

  4. This is an awesome post Dirt..

    I mean seriously, how sad is it that some women start taking T and then need to "read" about passing as a guy. I don't's just an anathema to me...

    Much like you I grew up around boys and to this day my nephew (he's 10 years younger) is like my best mate. To him and his mates, and my straight male mates I'm just one of the boys...

    As far as I am concerned, shooting myself full of T wouldnt make me more of one...and would probably just leave all of them confused as well... :)


  5. Jacq,


    This trans trend has little to do with even being "men" and everything to do with trying to be different. If ya have to try, your not.

    Transition is for the scared and the weak.

    It takes an especially strong minded and fierce female to live the lives we lead Jacq, as Butches. It may not be easy, but at the end of the day, I, like you, am a better woman for it and so with the world we live in!


  6. Totally agree Dirt, if you have to "learn" these traits how can you seriously believe you were born in the wrong body?..

    It's refreshing to see that some people agree, cos the rate of women jumping on this bandwagon is alarming.

    I don't have anything to do with the Trans/Queer community anymore and I have never been happier.. I don't need to transition to be accepted. Chasing what?.. some notion that taking T is going to make me a man, who gives a shit anyway?.. Being female isnt my preference, but the wonderful men in my life make me feel good for who I am... not what gender I am.

    Keep up the good work Dirt!

  7. It is also surprising that those FTM always refer to their mum or parents in a very laddish, immature and very teenage rebel mode when they do their transition...
    If you look at one transition story, you have seen all of them. The transition process is so normalised and predictable you even ask yourself if they just do that because they fear of the unknown that goes with growing up and becoming a fully active adult.

    Transition is really a trend (like moustache in the 80's for gay men ;) which could be launched because this generation is used to be fed with party drugs or psyche pills, is deeply interested in hardcore body modification and has no economic and social future in this society...So they searched for a way to be "unique" or to control their future...

    But the truth is the transition transform beautiful 20 something female in old bald-headed male with unatural grotesque penis, facial hair and breast scars...
    Not a fantasy for lesbian or for straight woman by the way :o)

    Will you dream when you are 20's to sleep with a sort of very old uncle totally unattractive and with weird genetalia and body form ? Come on !


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