Being Male in Society and Social Context by Zak
Things are going to be pretty slow here until June 1st. We’ve stocked up the queue so we’ll still be posting, but we won’t be answering any new questions during this week. When we get back we’ll try to clear out our inbox and then we’ll get back to answering questions as normal. Anyway, during this time the ask box will be turned off so that we can address the backlog of asks in our inbox and take a little bit of a break. Again, we will be totally back to normal on June 1st, but until then we’ve got quite a few things to do in our personal lives that we’ll be addressing in the meantime.
Zak: I don’t know of any alternatives that would match the formality and tone of “sir” and “ma’am,” but here are some that I’ve heard suggested: “comrade,” “friend,” “kind individual,” use their name or surname, or just avoid such addresses altogether.
A few things about asks that we wanted to put out there: First off, it’s a VERY busy time for both of us right now and so for the next few weeks things might be a little slower on the blog than usual (including how quickly we get to asks). Second, we have ~30 asks in our inbox right now, we’re trying to get to as many as possible but things get buried quickly! However, we do have a lot of stuff in the queue, including responses to questions and so things will probably still roll out at a fairly regular pace even if we haven’t gotten to newer asks.
That is all :)
We’ve posted about this book before, but now we’ve finally got our hands on it and boy is it worth it! This anthology contains exactly what the title suggests, personal stories about bottom surgery from guys who have had a metoidioplasty or phalloplasty as well as relevant medical and historical information. The individuals range in age and circumstance, although as would probably be expected they are mostly binary-identified transgender men. What makes this book unique is not only its positive view of bottom surgery (something not often found in publications for trans* men) but in its firsthand accounts of not just the surgery (sometimes multiple surgeries) but also the healing process and what sort of feelings they have about the results and their genitals (often with enough distance from the actual surgery to be able to reflect how this has changed since right after the surgery to a few years out).
While it can sometimes be tiring to read the same type of coming out narrative over and over again (many of them begin with “I always knew I was a boy” or some variation of such), this is no fault of the author or editor and more of a reflection of the common transgender narrative that many transgender people have either lived or internalized and similarity between those who opt to get bottom surgery. Overall, however, it is an excellent book for any and all who are considering bottom surgery or even curious about what it would be like. Reading the book is like sitting in a room with a variety of people eager to answer your questions about bottom surgery as well as provide their, often deep and emotional, personal stories.
Get the book at Amazon.com for $16.95 in paperback or $9.99 on Kindle.
Okay, here’s the deal, we’ve got a LOT of questions in our inbox right now. We’ve been embarrassingly behind in answering them as well. Anyway, in order to make sure a lot of them get answered at all, I thought I’d do a text post where I try to tackle several questions at a time. So, these are some questions where the answers should be pretty short or I don’t know the answer at all. I want to post this so that 1) people can comment on this post if they know the answer to some of these questions we aren’t sure about, 2) people get some kind of response to their questions, and 3) to answer a lot of stuff at once without clogging people’s dashboards. Alright, here it goes:
Q: I hope I’m not being too intrusive. Last May I came out to my parents. Long story short, it got bad. My parents took my binder and cut it up and threw it away. Last week, my best friend, who has known as long as I have, offered to buy me one. I’m going to take her up on this offer. But I need to know if you have any ways to hide that you’re binding? I’ve thought of taking it to university and then just wearing it then and taking it off but I was wondering if you had any better ideas. Thoughts?
A: Wearing your binder when you’re out of the house and then either not taking it home with you or hiding it when you’re home is probably your best option considering your parents’ history of binder destruction. I don’t have any better ideas, :(
Q: Hi, I’d like to ask about coats. I’m wider in the hips than in the shoulders, and while I can get away with a seriously over-sized coat during the winter months, I’m at a loss what to do for a spring coat. Do you have any ideas?
A: Layer or wear a hoodie or sweater. If you need a coat, try on a lot of different options until you find one that fits. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but that really is the best way to find something that will work.
Q: I just got one of the underworks binding swimsuits recently, but the problem is, I can’t figure out how to put the binding part on. Any advice?
A: A lot of people turn it inside out and then step into it. Other than that, I’m not really sure, actually.
Q: Are they’re good dating sites? I pass 100% but when it comes to dating, it’s awkward to bring up that I’m trans.
A: I’ve heard positive things about OKCupid, and I actually know a few couples who have met on Tumblr. I really don’t know, though.
Q: I have developed major back problems since i’ve been binding - i’ve done it for about 6 years now. I am quite large chested too. Do you know if for that reason insurance would pay for my top surgery?
A: Insurance might cover breast reduction for that, but not actual top surgery. It’s not impossible to get top surgery covered by insurance, but back pain isn’t one of the ways to get it covered as far as I’m aware (although it is a great way to get breast reduction covered).
Q: so i know you aren’t a doctor or anything. But just from general knowledge about T and what it does to your body, do you think that my doctor is going to not allow me to go on T because of my Type 2 Diabetes? It’s not severe but it’s there. And I am SUPER worried I wont be allowed to go on T, and it’s giving me super bad anxiety. My therapist knows I am diabetic but hasn’t really said anything to deter me from beginning T.
A: I haven’t heard anything about people being denied testosterone because of Diabetes, but I really don’t know. If you have an idea what doctor you might go to for testosterone, I really recommend calling them up and asking them this because it seems like it would have a pretty straightforward answer they could give you without having to see you.
Q: I’ve started T (gel) for about 4weeks now and I’m horny as hell. Which I expected, however, it kinda hurts to cum? Normal or no?
A: I really don’t know. This is probably something you should discuss with your doctor, particularly if the pain is internal (if it’s external, it might just mean that you’re rubbing yourself raw or something).
Q: I am a minor living in Florida. If I tell my therapist I am trans, is she legally or otherwise obligated to tell my parents?
A: From what I understand, your therapist is only obligated to tell your parents if you are seriously at risk for harming yourself and/or others. Being transgender wouldn’t fall into that, and so she should not be obligated to tell your parents.
That’s enough questions for tonight. Feel free to add your comments!
This almost makes up for all the dresses I was forced to wear as a child!
Zak recently purchased a suit from Indochino and decided to write up a product review for this week’s Fashion Friday:
Buying a suit can be tricky. It’s nearly impossible to find something that fits well (or even well enough) off the rack for anyone, but particularly someone with an unusual body shape and below average height like myself (and probably most trans* guys). I needed a suit for my wedding, and also just generally for job interviews, presentations, and formal events, and I wanted it to fit well and not cost a whole lot of money. I looked at a few department stores and considered buying off the rack and then getting my suit tailored, but then I heard of Indochino, an online store for made-to-measure menswear. The prices weren’t terrible, about $370ish dollars for a basic suit, and I liked the idea. So, a couple of weeks ago I ordered the Essential Gray Suit and a custom made white shirt. It came today in some stylish, nifty packaging.
My first impression was that I really liked the look of it. The material isn’t the highest quality, but it isn’t awful either. I’d compare it to most of the suits I found in department stores like Macys, which makes sense because it isn’t all that different in price from those either. Surprisingly, it fit me incredibly well straight out of the box. This is despite the fact that Indochino warns that the first suit you order may need tweaking and that I’d read many reviews that complained that most suits need a bit of tailoring even despite being made-to-measure. Indochino will reimburse you for up to $75 dollars in tailoring fees, so I wasn’t too concerned about this, but I feel pretty lucky that I probably won’t need to visit a tailor at all (I’m not sure yet, I need someone with a better eye to take a look and try the pants on while I’m actually wearing shoes).
Based on my experience so far, I’d definitely recommend them. Like I mentioned earlier, this isn’t made of premium quality material and isn’t intended to stack up against something you’d get at a high end store or a bespoke suit. It also isn’t cheap, although for a well-fitting suit it’s pretty reasonably priced. It looks great (in my opinion), feels great, and fits comfortably AND it didn’t require any interaction with a salesperson (a huge plus for a lot of trans* guys who’d be uncomfortable shopping for a suit if they aren’t always read as male). We’ll see how long it lasts and how it holds up, but for now I’d say it’s pretty good!
Zak: Haha! Okay. Sorry this took so long to respond to, we just have a ton of messages clogging our inbox. We have a youtube channel where we frequently say the blog’s name. It’s like art of trans le ness. We got the name of the blog because we used to read art of manliness and we wanted to make an online magazine type of blog like that except specifically for trans* guys on trans* guy type issues. So yeah, that’s the story behind the blog name.
We’re going to start opening up submissions for Fashion Friday! As many of you already know, we generally post something every Friday written by someone in the community about their personal style with pictures included as well as information about where they got their clothes in the picture (check out examples of this from Eli, Andy, and Harrison). So, are you ftm/a trans* guy/transguy/man of transsexual experience/trans*masculine/FAAB genderqueer etc.? If so you should send us a Fashion Friday post about your personal style! We’d particularly like representation from people of color.
So, if you’re interested, type up a post and hit the submit button.