Friday, December 28, 2007

Between my Thighs

I just finished a very phenomenal essay collection about conscious masculinities.* Self-Organizing Men: Conscious Masculinities in Time and Space, was a random purchase at my local (and incredibly hard to get to) feminist bookstore, Amazon. I am incredibly impressed by this collection as well as a little jealous that I didn't write it first. The first essay, by the editor Jay Sennett, is an incredibly amusing and honest account of his relationship to his body. One section of it focuses primarily on his genitals and specifically his penis. This relationship between transmen and their penises is called upon and discussed in numerous essays, memoirs, movies, novels, TV shows...and I enjoy reading and seeing these creative accounts of the body. But I truly don't relate to that desire. I've written about this before but as I continue to encounter a lack of media that represents my vision of my body I'm going to continue to come back to this.

Elementary to so many readers, but transmen come in a beautiful range of bodies. Our lack or presence of a penis can have nothing or everything to do with what we wish to see between our thighs. Some men wish for penises but cannot afford or access the surgery, some men wish for them but can not attain them because the surgery would affect their health. I've met many transmen who do not want surgery because of the complications, cost, and inability to create a "traditional" penis through surgery. I've met many transmen who love what they have but view it as something different and separate than what women have. I've yet to meet a transman who does not wish for surgery and does not refer to his genitals in a masculine way. I do not believe that my identity is as simple as "My genitals are masculine because I am male", although I understand that this thought process might work for many people. Perhaps I am uncreative, but my genitals simply are. I have no issue with referring to them using traditionally feminine terms: pussy, vagina, cunt, snatch, vulva...etc. but that doesn't make them feel feminine nor does it make it alright for anyone besides my close friends and partner to refer to them with those same words.

There's an almost abashed way that transmen who have had no bottom surgery joke about their genitals. I wonder...are trannybois without penises - transmen with vaginas - more passive in their claims for manhood because of this discombobulation between being a man and loving your vagina? Or is it that, in a manner similar to the invisibility of femmes, transmen who are not writing, lusting, longing, photographing their cocks are simply obscured by a cissexual audience? We're not real men in the way that femmes can never be real dykes?

I'll admit here that I sometimes want a cock. I wish I could feel my partners contractions during the handful of times that I have strapped on a dildo. I wish I had something between my legs when I see men looking there. I wish I could pee at a urinal. But those wants, like sideburns or a deep voice, are secondary cock characteristics. I don't want one because I believe I should have one or that I am incomplete without one. I don't need something hanging down in order to feel masculine, and so far my partner has not been disappointed by my lack of one. I'm not certain exactly what I want to say, just that I want to make audible the voices of transmen who are proud of their cunts. We don't go on about it the way some men and transmen talk about theirs, and maybe we should. A cunt is a wonderful space and transmen should be as proud and as vocal about theirs (and their cunt's right to good health care!) as cissexual and transwomen are about theirs.

*I find it amusing that my spell-check refuses to recognize "masculinities". Even our technology is homogeneous. It also didn't like "vaginas" is there a different plural? Or can there only be one vagina?


Darlin' said...

I'm glad you said that.

Who DOESN'T want a cock sometimes, you know? Thing is, we've all been conditioned to believe that it's the superior of the two and that the vagina is this absence/wound/hole-in-the-world. Especially with gender becoming increasingly variable I think it's important and healing to have trans voices singing their cunt-pride.

And: at least [we] can choose the size and shape of our cocks.

So, thank you.

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