Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
and Are Gay People Transgender Too?
I was a drag queen on my way to being a transsexual now. I've lost many gay friends over this new realization. How can gay people be so narrow minded? I'd appreciate some PR on the topic.
Signed, Disappointed Diva
Dear Disappointed Diva,
As gay persons, our difference is what makes us the same. As such we would expect gays to tolerate difference more easily. It's curious that our community is not more integrated. We can be racist, gender phobic, classist, homophobic, lesbian/gay separate, and have other divides over difference with each other. We have enough discrimination from the outside world to be adding in our own. It's the LGBT community. Trans people are just another difference in the world. We need to embrace them.
In my L.A. gender practice, I observed that the clients with the worst outcomes were those who either were, or feared being, chastised by their personal community for being transgender. Most of their suffering came from other people's actual, or feared, reactions to them being transgender, and not from them being transgender by nature.
Long before we are born, the stage is set and the scripts are written for men and woman to play their parts. But gender and sexuality have a more holistic, fluid and multidimensional nature than people generally realize. We all deserve our place in society as we actually are, not as puppets forced to become an imitation of a narrow ideal. Our society conflates gender and sexuality. Femininity is thought mostly of as "softness." This is where gender and sexuality get mistakenly fused.
Mostly, effeminate men are thought of as gay and gay men are feminized. Generally, many gay men are busy saying, "I'm not a woman, I'm gay," many transmen are busy saying, "I'm not gay, I'm a man," and many transwomen are busy saying, "I'm not gay, I'm a woman." All are linked in that they are a reaction to homophobia. Homophobia is the fear of being perceived as gay. What homophobia boils down to is transphobia. Transphobia is the fear of not clearly behaving as a man or a woman. Transphobia reduces to misogyny. Misogyny is the hatred of women. For almost everyone except most biological women who are heterosexual or lesbian, the bottom line is powerful fear of the awful social stigma that results when we appear too feminine by crossing culturally accepted male sex role behavior. So the gay man and the transman (the straight man too) often fear being too effeminate. The transwoman often wants to pass as the woman she is and not be mistaken for a man in a dress. The root of the discrimination that we all suffer from is the same. We are all hated because we cross gender lines to some degree, not for who we sleep with.
The narrowness and rigidity of the concepts that society uses to define gender identity and sexuality can leave an individual deprived of a feeling of belonging. A person experiencing a clash between anatomical sex and the inner sense of gender identity can become isolated and confused. They fear losing those around them by being who they are and often deeply grieve the sad losses.
Acknowledging the wide spectrum of possible life paths, my New York Gender Center wishes to help change this experience for transgender persons by helping those who most effect them (loved ones and colleagues), as well as helping those too challenged to come out because of those around them. The goal is to alleviate the potential discomfort of these sensitive issues as well as enhance self-esteem, encourage personal growth and improve relationships.
I want to introduce toys into my long term relationship. I don't know how.
Signed, Sex Toy
Dear Sex Toy,
Have no shame. Sex fantasy can spice up the same old sheets and abort cheating. If your partner is secure, then open, honest straight-forward communication is the best route (plan A). It is scary. But just remember to keep things about you and not about him or the relationship. To help, use "I" sentences instead of "you," "we" or "us." For example, "I have been feeling...so I wanted to try....because I...and I thought you might..."
If he's prone to feeling defensive or inadequate this can be more tricky. Don't play games, lie or omit, but you may have to be more subtle. I would spend a lot more time priming him before you launch into the "I" statements. Frame the toys as a complement to your meal not an egg roll substitution. First focus heavily on how much he means to you and on how much you still find him desirable and enough (plan B).
You may want to start slowly using toy sex talk and see how he reacts. You can "accidently" leave a toy magazine, videoor an actual toy somewhere where he might stumble upon it. If he uncovers it, he may ask about it. He may approach you with curiosity or anger. This will allow you to feel him out. If he's more curious go more with plan A, more anger gets more plan B.
The Gay Man's Therapist
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