Friday, November 16, 2007

desire, desiring, undesirable

I want to thank all the people who tell me they read this blog! I'm surprised and excited that people read these posts and I hope that the cathartic experience of writing down my thoughts helps y'all as well, or at least distracts you from your own issues/term papers.

Recently I found myself shopping for underwear at Target. Now that I have a reason to own cute underwear/a reason to wash my underwear on a more regular basis I am often drawn towards the underwear sections of any clothing store. As I was trying to find the least expensive pair of cute non-white boxer-briefs I realized that I was cruising the underwear models. Which makes me think about desire. Why would a black and white close-up of some strange man's crotch give me a hard-on in the middle of a big box store? There is nothing erotic about the overhead lights and linoleum floor of Target, and I have never been turned on only by a body before. I have to actually know someone in order to desire them. So now I am left wondering if it's the month without sex that has made me want to masturbate while out in public or if it's something else.

I'm going to go with something else for now (or else this would be a fairly silly post) and suggest that when I go out presenting as male and am read as male I also then feel safe owning desires I would never admit to if I thought I was being read as female. All of which points to a more complicated understanding of gender as an intersection and creation of both biology and society. This body desires men, but if the men who respond in kind view this body as female than I loose all interest, my anus is the same anus but the desire for penetration is only present when we are both viewing it as a male ass. I have a completely different biological and emotional response. I cannot think of myself as female and want men, but I can be male and desire both men and women. I am trying to write an essay for Mattilda's new collection "Why are faggots afraid of faggots?" where I discuss my desire for men. I write about how I fear the rejection of gay men (and here I mean the rejection of my identity and sexuality) and my at-the-moment conclusion of how to overcome this fear of my own people is found in drag. When I perform as a drag king all of my fear melts away and I can become not only a gay man, but an angry gay transman, something decidedly not Minnesotan. i think that the implicit authority given to a performer allows me to own my own identity.

So back to those underwear models. Their bodies are also the bodies I desire for myself. I want to have a body that screams "I AM A MAN" when I am naked, when i am at work, when I enter the men's bathroom. The idea that I think these skinny, buff, white male models have ideal bodies and that my body needs to match theirs is preposterous, but I am beginning to understand why so many of my cissexual gay male friends crush on straight men. I never fell for straight women as a woman, but seeing men through the eyes of a man I can understand this intense desire to claim a complete manhood - one that is white, middle-class, able-bodied and straight. Sometimes the idea of going through life as not-quite-a-man is horrifying. At these times I think of my partner and friends and find an enormous support in their unwavering support of me. Even my partner forgives my underwear-model-crushes at times like this.

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