A DISCLAIMER: The post ended up being much more educational than many of my other posts regarding Standards of Beauty. I didn’t intend it to be that way. I usually write these posts to celebrate the beauty that can be found in every person, and the beauty that exists in diversity. However, due to the fact that I have a) worked with many FTMs in a support/therapeutic environment and b) known many FTMs personally, especially through my interactions and involvement in the queer community, this post ended up being more informative than many of my others along these lines. I apologize, and also ask that anyone that has anything to add or to teach me leave it in the comments! I am not the expert on all things FTM, trust me! 
There is something about androgyny and genderqueerness that strikes me. It speaks to me in a really big way. While I am not genderqueer and my biological sex and identified gender match, there are many people who’s do not. Trans individuals fight most of their life to reconcile these two things. They spend much of their lives wishing that their sex matched their gender identity, and go to great lengths to achieve that peace and that alignment. 
While transwomen have a harder time passing in society, transmen oftentimes have a slightly easier social transition. Many find refuge in the lesbian community, where butch women are accepted and celebrated, and many can fly under the radar that way. And in public, many transmen are simply mistaken for young boys, as opposed to transwomen who oftentimes look like a “man in a dress” during their transition. This may also to contribute to older studies that had found that for every 3 transwoman, there was one transman. For a long time, transmen could choose to remain being seen as butch lesbians and were therefore not as obvious and desperate to transition as many transwomen were. Now that being transgender is becoming more socially acceptable, the number of transmen is increasing greatly and slowly catching up to the prevalence of transwomen. 

[Slight tangent: I find it interesting that even after transition, many transmen end up with women who identify (or identified, depending on if they change how they identify due to dating a transman, who is technically male) as lesbians. I think that because before transition many FTMs identified as lesbians and the fact that after transition, many still do, to some extent, look very butch, the lesbian community is much more accepting of them than the mainstream community. I also think that it is for this reason that many FTMs have an easier time finding partners that fully accept and understand their gender identity than MTFs do.]

But transmen are NOT butch lesbians. They are men trapped in the body of a woman. However, many FTMs choose not to have bottom surgery, and opt only to have “top surgery,” or chest reconstruction. It is much easier to take something away than it is to create something, and therfore the MTF reassignment surgery is pretty well perfected, but the FTM surgery is far from it. However, many transmen that I have known or heard speak say that they feel man enough without the bottom surgery. They have a man’s chest, and (due to hormones) a man’s voice, facial hair, and are perceived as men by society and their partners (this is a hugely important factor). They FEEL like men. And hey, there’s always artillery to strap on and soft packs to wear! Of course, not all FTMs feel this way, and many would absolutely love to be able to have actual male genitalia between their legs. I’ve heard one say that “real men have BALLS.”
I have a huge attraction to transmen. I have never been with one, but it is one of the things that I hope I have a chance to do before I die. I love androgyny and I love butchness, in both my men and my women. Transmen seem like they would be the best of both worlds! I get to be with a man, but he relates to me in a different way because he used to be a woman, at least in society’s eyes. He understands what it means to be a woman in society, because even if he never felt like a woman, the world saw him as one and therefore treated him as one.
Most of these photos come from the FTM group on Flickr, unless otherwise specified.

LL Cool Joe, blogger and DJ:

(I love this photo. I love that you can see his scars from his chest reconstruction. It makes the photo, and him, even more beautiful to me).

Buck Angel, porn star:

Rae Spoon, musician:

There is beauty in blurred gender lines, but there is also beauty in seeing someone who is finally at peace with who they are. There is beauty in seeing someone embrace the person that they know they’ve always been, and it’s a beautiful thing when the world can finally see them for the person that they’ve always known that they are.

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  1. The Promo Homo
    Posted February 25, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I think it's great that you took a slightly educational approach to this post, as most people seem to want to ask questions about transgenderedism, but don't.

    I don't have a lot to add, but I have to be honest and say that I did cringe a little when you kept referring to FTMs as "androgynous"… as I'm sure most FTMs would hope to be able to be perceived as male once they are further along with their transitioning. It all depends on the individual though, of course.

  2. PrettyPrettyPrincess
    Posted February 25, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Hotness. I have some fantasies about being with someone in this situation, but I almost hate to say that, because their transition and their journey through this world is above and beyond my desire to sexualize those who are transgendered. They have my utmost sympathy and support, as their beauty and their struggle is so often both misunderstood and vilified in some segments of our society. THANK YOU for such a thought-provoking post!

  3. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted February 25, 2009 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    TPH, I know what you mean regarding the use of the word "androgynous." However, to me, many FTMs really do have more of an androgynous appearance than MTFs, but it is in no way feminine.

  4. hotdrwife
    Posted February 25, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Buck Angel? Totally could have fooled me.

  5. The Promo Homo
    Posted February 25, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Brit: Yeah, I know what you mean. I also don't think you'd go and say that to someone transitioning.

  6. Chris
    Posted February 25, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    This was really cool to read. I haven't had much exposure to FTM's and MTF's, so it was educational. And I agree…seeing someone completely at ease in who they are and embracing themselves is a beautiful thing. May we all get that peace in our lives.

  7. LL Cool Joe
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the link and showing my photo.

    There is loads and loads I could say about being a transman but the one thing I will say is that there appears to be an assumption here that we are ALL attracted to biological females? Which of course isn't always the case.

    Gender should never be confused with sexuality, but often is.

    It was good to come here and read a sensitive and well written article rather than just a tacky one about who looks hot and who doesn't. Thankyou. :)

  8. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Joe, of course gender and sexuality are two different things. It is definitely a distinction that I could have mentioned, so thank you for making that point.

    Most of my experience with FTMs has been in the lesbian community, so I do tend to view it through that lens.

    And thank you for letting me post your photo!

  9. Aviva
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Britni, if you have an opportunity to do so, you should totally check out the documentary Enough Man, which is about FTMs. Really interesting…and pretty explicit.

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