Monday, June 18, 2007

Taking Sides

“The New York Times” once ran an article about the rise in lesbians transitioning to become “straight guys” – and the sense of betrayal felt by their female sisters for “going over to the other side.” However, a parallel sense of outrage is rarely present when “gay brothers” become “straight sisters.” Are gay men generally more accepting? Hardly. For all the bitching and moaning in the dyke community, more lesbians by far stay with their partners after transitioning than gay men stay with men who transition to become women. This should come as no surprise, since men are bound to the visual first and foremost. More than that, though, they are bound to identity, even more so than their most political lesbian counterparts.

So it should come as no surprise that adult gay men who transition are extremely rare, not because the sex change desire does not exist for adult gay men (as Dan Savage posited in a follow up column), but because these men are rendered invisible by this unbending, “solid male identity,” choosing the transgendered closet over certain exile from their communities. Think about it. If an adult gay man were to suddenly realize he was a (heterosexual) woman, he’d be a fool to have a sex change. What gay man would stay with him? Who would he fuck? A “real” gay man would never be with a woman who was once a man any more than he’d be with a biological woman (or anyone lacking a fully functioning dick for that matter). Not to mention transgendered women don’t want to be with gay guys either! Only another man can affirm a gay man’s manhood, only a heterosexual man can affirm a transgendered woman’s womanhood. Either way, masculinity – and insecurity – trumps all.

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