**warning, the following journal entry may be “triggering” for some trans* folks as I discuss my own body reality and experience.**
Somewhere along the way, it dissolved. I used to have a nice, round, onion butt. That was what a friend of mine in DC called it, a sweet older black man with a slight limp and a smile a mile wide. He called it an onion butt. Take half an onion, and there you go, image complete.
But along the course of my gender transition, I have lost the bulk of it. Sure, I can still stick my ass out, curving my back into something that draws attention, especially when wearing a pair of assless Timateo underwear (they are like jockstraps, but with more front-covering). Yes I can get down on my knees and emphasize its shape. But the curve is gone. The onion is gone.
Beyond that, the padding is gone. Sitting down on hard surfaces for extended periods of time has become more uncomfortable. My coccyx sets itself more directly down, because the padding no longer lifts me up to give that bit of space. Sitting in chairs I have to rely on my thighs (which are still there) to have the extended periods of time tolerable.
When we transition, we do not get the bodies we dream of. We get *our* bodies. Just like any other human on this planet. Yes, we can work actively to sculpt our shape, just like any other person. We can hit the gym, be aware of our food consumption, wax, get a haircut. We can dress for our personal realities – corset, pack, pad, bind, girdle. But at the end of the day, we get our body.
My body has random hairs on the back of my upper arms, and three sad little hairs on the hollow of my neck. I want to pluck them, as they seem to have little relation to the rest of my chest hair, but those three little hairs seem so determined. Like Homer Simpson, I just can’t quite let them go.
My body has a sad, lightly colored, little mustache. The rest of my beard is dark-haired, so it sort of stands out. There are some folks who argue that transmen should keep shaving until they can get “serious” facial hair, unless we end up looking like desperate teen boys being so excited by the little patches of detritus that have cropped up all over our face. With that said though, my friend Jason said to me, when I was complaining about my facial hair configuration, that at least I have some. He is latino, and can’t grow a beard hair to save his life. In short, he told me to shut up.
My body has wide thighs. No matter what I seem to do, I still have wide thighs. I end up feeling out of place when I try on men’s trousers. My wide thighs, wideish hips (they have gone down a lot, which is good given how extreme they were before), lower waist ratio.
But the thing I am struggling with right now is that my body does not have the genital configuration that is appropriate to the internal vision of myself. There are times when I have been fine with this, even enjoying the fact that I have a body that is like that of an angel – flat chest, flat genitals – when I stand before a mirror. But not right now. And not much in the past year or two.
Don’t get me wrong – I love to get fucked. My holes are great for having a variety of options – so many holes to choose from… all of which I enjoy using. I joke that my body allows for being a gateway drug. Straight men can fuck me cunt and safely explore their homoeroticism. Gay men can fuck me and safely explore what it like to be with someone with a cunt. Not that I have had much sexual action with folks men as of late (Aiden is currently using “they”), but that is a different challenge in my personal journey.
I have tried to pack, but in some ways, it messes with my head even more. Why? Because it comes off. Here I am, and right when I actually want to be nude with a partner, or with myself, or even going to the bathroom… I look down and it is gone. When dressed it was there, and now it is gone. They work as amazing tools for others, but in my mind they feel emasculating when I get, well, emasculated. The terminology is ridiculous, because a phallus does not define being masculine… but it is the terminology our culture provides.
These tools can be amazing for other guys. They feel the pressure of their cock pushing against their trousers, and look “right” in the mirror. However, I don’t have the same challenges right now in my journey, just like I don’t have challenges sitting down to pee. I have seen a lot of shapes and sizes of cocks and balls in my life, and thus know that they “appear” in different visibility when looking at trousers. I also know a number of fat men, men with genital body mods, and shy men, who use the stalls and sit down to pee.
I have found an amazing tool called the Realdoe. When it is in (even if I need to hold it up with a modified harness), I can feel every thrust, feel my partner sucking my cock, jerk myself off, and enjoy the visual experience of all of the above. I wanted to post a cock-shot to illustrate it, but just can’t bring myself to do it, so you get a bulge-shot instead.
The challenge is getting it in or out. Not physically. It is completely find and dandy physically. Even the straps I can work with and think of as a black sexy jockstrap sort of thing. But it’s seeing it go in or out, and looking down before or after. If I don’t need to look, it is easier. I strip my condom off just like any guy, getting rid of it after I play. I can lay under covers and slide it out, not seeing it. But it feels like an obfuscation. It’s not enough.
At the Philly Trans Health Conference last year, I joked that it was my all-cock event. I attended every class and workshop I could get my hands on, as it were. I went to workshops by doctors, about books, and even was blessed to get to attend a safe space drop-trousers thing where only men were allowed to attend. These amazing guys showed their junk to a room full of men, talked about their experience with their surgeries and the results. It was a very emotional experience for me. However, talking with the two guys who had surgical results that might possibly match up with my desires, neither had used condoms. And talking with the representative there who did similar procedures, he had no information about condom usage. This is beyond unacceptable for me. Plus, 40k+ (surgery alone), for rolling the dice, when I have genitals that function, it’s hard to consider.
Genital surgeries for transmen have gone a *long* way since the stories of “frankencock” and genital mutilation. A fantastic book came out not too long ago full of essays of men who have had gender reassignment lower body surgeries, as well as some essays by the partners of these men. I saw the presentation about the book, and have read a few of the essays, and recommend it. But for me, today, it’s not what I am going to do. Do I consider it still – yes.
This weekend at an event I was teaching at, I got complimented in various ways about my body. Since the revision on my chest surgery healed and smoothed out (after the suffering and drama around the first round it was like night and day), I have been taking off my top. In the past year and a half I have lost 50 pounds (after having me get off the meds from medical issues, the ones that led me to have to cancel a bundle of gigs). My hair has grown out. I have moved towards wearing somewhat more flattering clothes. But it still felt strange.
It felt strange because this is my body. The body that I carry stories around of being the chubby kid in middle school. The body that I keep hearing porn producers ask why I would transition and ruin the body I have. The body around which I still remember hearing people say that I should lose weight as a woman, because no one wants to see someone who is a size 18 get naked.
The body that I feel incomplete in, freakish and strange.
My body itself only cares because my brain does. My body tightens up because of the story. The body itself cares if I am healthy, happy… or am I not. Shoulders go up into ears when anxiety hits, because the body responds. The body tells me how to be healthier, having me crave carrots and seek out sugars that will pull me quickly out of an emotional moment.
I am convinced I was packing on the pounds because I had an expectation of what my body would become. I was convinced I would have my father’s body. Round bellied, heart problems, diabetic. With some of my other inherited health challenges already, the story made sense. Until it was pointed out that it did not have to be the case. There are other models of male bodies, and other models manhood.
There is a part of me that is convinced that so many transmen become misogynist assholes, because it is a common model of manhood in our culture. If they take on the traits of men, they become more male. Men who are nice and sweet and kind are either less of men or fags in our world, or both. And those kinds of men are not real men. Until we start addressing the varieties of healthy manhood out there, transmen will continue to take on the traits of unhealthy manhood. Because so many guys do.
So I took on the mental traits of healthier manhood, and have become an academic nerd around healthier manhood. What it means to be a man in our world. And slowly, I think, my body is following along.
And I wonder about phallocentrism in my own journey. Perhaps that is too strong of a word, because I am not truly phallocentric, but being around those who are can sometimes push me more towards it – because that part of me is already there. But when I am nude, and when I am paying attention to body realities of what is happening, it can be a serious issue. When it feels right I can care less. When I have my hand wrapped around my cock head at one end of my hand, and have the other end of my hand rubbing up against them, my body and brain both feel that fully as my cock entering them. When I am being thoroughly fucked, in any of my holes, the shape of my genitals melts away. When I am looking deeply in the eyes of someone who has no vested interest in the shape of my body, in any way, it no longer matters. If I am with myself and my eyes are closed, I can have it not matter.
My ass, on the other hand, is still an issue. Because my pants fit differently. And that is just annoying.