Mr. Homo Girly Man
I thought there was a distinct chance that testosterone would make me gay, but it never occurred to me that testosterone would make everyone think I’m gay. As a child, I was a tomboy; as a teenager, I walked with the dyke swagger; as a dyke, I was sporty and jockey. I was always a tiny bit masculine, stereotypically speaking, so it’s somewhat of an surprise to come off like a pansy.
Some of the shift probably has to do with personal choices–I’m now comfortable pulling my hair into a half-pony, throwing on a purple shirt and grabbing a hula hoop. Some of it probably has to do with my socialization as a woman–I’ve always talked with a mild valley girl lilt, and maybe some if it even has to do with me being little for a guy. But what this shift in perception shows me is how fundamental and deep the male=masculine and the female=feminine goes in our culture. Swap out my shell and different traits bang up against the container, new characteristics are brought into relief. In the end, all this queer can say is a flaming, faggoty, “hallelujah!”
My First Dance
A couple weeks ago, I went to the monthly dyke party that I used to go to in my early twenties and have rarely been to since. While some queer spaces like the Lexington Club have changed to accommodate the changing clientele, this monthly party hadn’t changed at all. It was FULL of women. At one point, I searched the crowd for least one person who might identify as boi/boy, genderqueer, trans-masculine, or even use the pronoun “they.” Nada. I didn’t care. It was a sunny afternoon and I wanted to dance (tequila was involved).
I joined a friend dancing with a woman with shoulder-length hair, a newsboy cap, a black sweater vest, a decent-sized chest that didn’t seem to be contained by sports bra nor binder–in short, a soft butch, or me eight years ago. Back then, I never would’ve danced with this woman same as I wouldn’t have fucked my mirror. But next thing I knew, I was grinding up against this woman, my packer pressed into her crotch. I guess I expected her to turn away or run, but she smiled. She probably thought I was gay. Maybe she knew I was trans. Regardless, she didn’t care. It was awesome, the first time I ever really danced with a lesbian, or maybe the first time I felt included by one without having to be one.
After exchanging several emails with a friend to decide on a specific date for a dinner party, she sent a mass invite to the larger group with the opening line, “Hello Ladies.” I wasn’t quite offended as much as I didn’t want to be part of an event that would in any way be defined or organized around gender, especially one that didn’t include me. Plus, having exchanged emails with my friend that morning, I wondered how she failed to notice the slip up.
But when we spoke about the incident later, her explanation made sense to me. She said she uses “hey girls” or “hey ladies” the way someone (including me) would say “hey guys”–a phrase that many people no longer think of as gendered, problematic, of course, because the only reason that male words (like guys) or words that contain male parts (like human) are gender-neutral is because of the history of patriarchy. So yeah, “hey ladies” is one hell of a trigger phrase for me, but I couldn’t argue with a woman subsuming men under her gendered term for a collective when the opposite has been going on forever.
The bottom line is neither “guys” nor “ladies” cuts it anymore. I received an email from a friend a few days later addressed to “Lesbian separatists and their boyfriends” and I knew she was talking directly to me and all my friends.
Cocks are like snowflakes
I was discussing gay porn the other day, trying to express to my friend Derek the vast and remarkable diversity of dicks, something that he knew but that I’ve only recently discovered, and he said, yeah dude, “Cocks are like snowflakes.”