Okay, Taj Mahal’s “Ain’t Nobody’s Business But My Own” is more about the vices in life, but the basic message of “I don’t care what you do in your private life and you shouldn’t give a crap about what I do in mine” is a good one to follow with transfolk you may run across (and honestly, it’s probably a good attitude to adopt with most everyone you meet, because there really are some things you don’t want to know about the guy who sits in the next cubicle).
Let’s just jump in with the biggest thing people are curious about: what they might find in my skivvies. Look, unless you and I are in a sexual relationship–which we aren’t–, this is none of your business. Yes, there is something there. No, I won’t tell you exactly what.
Since we’re not sitting face to face, though, I’ll tell you that transmen have some options when it comes to filling out a pair of BVDs. The very low-rent versions run from the good old sock used as stuffing or a contraption made with hair gel, pantyhose, and condoms. In the middle-range are manufactured prosthetics which also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, materials, and which vary in function, price, and realism (some of these babies will set you back more than a grand. Yeah. Really. That would be the Rolls Royce of prosthetic man-bits and would be the envy of most Hollywood special effects artists. Of course, the Geo Metro version can be had for less than $20; it will probably be a texture and color that in no way resembles what is found in nature, but you’re the one who decided basement bargain prices were the way to go.)
Finally, there are a couple of surgical procedures that can be done to construct dangly bits. Those are very expensive (like you could put your kid through a couple of years of college or buy yourself a really nice car for the money), and depending on which one a guy has, may not be all that functional or aesthetically pleasing. Imagine, if you will, a piece of sausage with a drinking straw shoved through it. Now imagine that attached to you. Yeah, I don’t like imagining that, either. Let’s move on, shall we? I mean, since we’re both totally uncomfortable now.
And hey, even nontransmen sometimes need a little boost in the boxers:
Since you’re curious about what’s inside the transman’s pants, you’re probably curious about how he uses the equipment. He uses it well. Imagination and creativity help. So does the ability to lick one’s eyebrows. Just sayin’. Ha. You really thought I would go into detail?
Another thing transfolk don’t usually like to talk about is the body they came out of the womb with, so when you meet a transperson, just accept them as what they present. If they want to tell you about their past, they will. It’s pretty painful for many of them, so, unless you’re really intimate (i.e. lover or best friend), you probably won’t hear a lot of transwomen say, “when I was a little boy …” or transmen talk about the time they had to don a dress to be the flower girl in someone’s wedding. Starting a conversation with a new transman acquaintance like this, “So, when you used to be a girl …” will probably also end said conversation.
Most of us don’t like to be asked, “Well why don’t you just be a lesbian or [in the case of transwomen] gay?” Well, this is complicated territory, because transfolks, just like non-transfolks, have a whole spectrum of sexual orientations. Not every transman is attracted to women. Not every transwoman is attracted to men. And, if you had been paying attention during the segment on Gender and Sexuality during that literary criticism class you had to take for liberal arts credit, you’d remember Judith Butler told us sex and and gender are two different things and that social constructs have a lot to do with our perceptions of both. Whew.
Here … this blog explains Butler way better than I can: http://judithbutler.wordpress.com/
Bottom line–who transfolks want to be is completely separate from who they want to be with. Got it? Cool.