I’m a feminine gay man and wear a lot of women’s clothing to express my femininity (I’ve never met a pair of sandals I didn’t like), but not to “present” myself as a woman. It’s hard finding other feminine gay men even online. Not only do straight men hate us, but so do masculine gay men. They blame us for why the main stream won’t and don’t accept them as also being well, main stream. You were asked recently to supply a list of resources online for someone who wanted to give to a friend. I know you aren’t a feminine gay man, but thought that you may know others that are like me or happen to know if any websites that I should check out.
I have a love/hate relationship with labels.
On one hand, it was a comforting thing to learn the word ‘crossdresser’ when I was younger. To know that there were others like me and there were so many of us that there was a word for us made me realize that I wasn’t alone and maybe I wasn’t so… weird, I guess.
On the other hand, it gets a little exhausting to qualify who I am and how I identify. When one hears that someone is transgender, it paints a picture in their head of someone who was identified as one gender but lives/presents as another. Whether I am presenting as a boy or en femme I am still transgender. If you showed a picture of Hannah to someone and said “that person is transgender” you might respond “well, obviously.” If the same person saw me in boy mode and told them that I was also transgender they would be a little, well, challenged. I look transgender en femme, I look like, well, a man in male mode.
Transgender doesn’t mean hormones or transitioning or surgery Just like being a man doesn’t mean I like football and beer.
There are some in the transcommunity that believe that I’m not trans since I have not or will be transitioning. Their perspective is I am “just” a crossdresser, nothing else. And yes, I suppose I am a crossdresser but I am a crossdresser in the sense that when I am presenting as a boy I am wearing panties under my boy clothes or wear a nightgown to bed. When I am en femme, I am not crossdressing. And yes, that’s a little weird but I think you know what I mean.
People are generally looked at as either cishet (cisgender, heterosexual) or members of the LGBTQ+ community. To some people, any deviance from the societal perception of BEING A MAN pushes one from being masculine/straight to, well, something else. Think back to grade school. If a boy in first grade likes to jump rope he isn’t “one of the boys” anymore, he’s a girl, or gay. There are very strict (and stupid) rules about who is a man. It seems to me that the list of rules is very long and very pointless.
Our community is much the same way. Just as I am not considered trans by others, there are some people who have expectations as to how a gay man should dress or live their lives. And that sucks. Unfortunately you are experiencing that first hand and I’m sorry to hear that. It sounds like some people in our community feel you are impacting how some of the world looks at a gay man. I’m sorry. You write how you feel out of place as you don’t fit in with both straight men (booooo straight men) and members of the gay community. I wish I had something comforting and reassuring to say. I wish I could change the world for you. I wish I knew more answers and had more options than I do. But I don’t.
All I can ask is that we all stick together in all this. These days anyone that isn’t white/heterosexual/cisgender is having a tough time. My Black friends are angry and scared. My trans friends are terrified about losing their health care. My gay friends are worried their right to marry who they love will be taken away. I live my life and present differently than others who identify as trans. You present and dress differently than some members of the gay community. I can relate on some levels, though I won’t pretend that I know exactly how you feel or what you experience.
The cishet world has their own ideas as how we should live our lives. I ignore this. Let’s not impose any expectations or standards in the LGBTQ+ community.
As for support and meeting others like you, I have no idea. I know that’s not helpful. I would encourage you to look into a PFLAG group to attend a meeting to connect with others in our community.
Have a question for me? Oh yes you do. Ask me here!