The Trans Fags

3.16.2008

By T Cooper

Trystan: Hot Rocker Boy...
Who just happens to have a pussy. Yes, it's mine. Yes, I was born with it. Yes...you can play with it. I'm vocal, an adventurer, and real fucking smart. Political, artistic, radical. Communicative but know when to shut up. And yes, I will teach you. I have an affinity for bears, punks, and good grammar.

I've known I was a gay man since I was 9 years old and began starring in musical theater shows,' says 25-year-old Trystan Angel Reese, who self-describes as 'a gay man, a fag, or queer man.' He was born in Vancouver, Canada, and raised in Southern California, but now lives in New York City and works as a grassroots political organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

'I've always been attracted to men and masculinity, even hypermasculinity,' Trystan says. 'I love the way a beard feels against my skin, the way a man smells. It isn't phallic-centered at all, since I've been very happy in relationships with trans men. There just aren't as many trans men out there, so I end up dating mostly nontrans men.'

Unlike Hunter, Trystan is completely at ease with his equipment. He has been on testosterone for over three years but hasn't had any surgery and doesn't plan to. As far as sex goes, 'I'm into anything that gives or gets pleasure,' he explains. 'I'm into all parts of my partners' bodies, including their genitalia. I'm into all of my parts, including my genitalia. I don't like receiving anal sex, but that's about all I won't do.'

When hooking up with guys online, Trystan always discloses his gender status up front, but he prefers not to use the terms 'trans' or 'FTM,' finding that most mainstream gay men have misconceptions as to what those terms actually mean. So he words it slightly differently -- and quite bluntly -- in his profile, stating straight up that he has a vagina.

Trystan is unfazed by men who aren't attracted to his body, and like Hunter, he's found that there are more than enough interested men to go around. So he rarely wastes time trying to sway anybody if they are tentative. Guys are either into him or not -- and both are fine. 'Many gay men think that the female body is gross or disgusting,' Trystan says. 'So when they meet a man they are attracted to who has a female body, it can cause a bit of an identity crisis.'

Twenty-three-year-old Shinen Kwo, a nontransgender gay man who has dated a handful of trans men, agrees: 'I think some gay men think that having sex with FTM guys is like having sex with women. And yes, my first time was awkward and strange. I think I had a typical transphobic and also somewhat misogynistic response to his body, but after [a lot of] talking I felt much more comfortable, and he was very, very good about my ignorance, which I appreciated.' The San Francisco'based queer youth organizer adds, 'I have had the thought that my whole sexuality has become completely gender-fucked because of my sexual exploration with trans men, cracking open the gender binary.'

Trystan is quite accepting of the vast range of gay men's responses to FTM bodies. 'My [current] boyfriend had a similar freak-out when we first met,' he recalls. 'I'm willing to do a certain amount of education, as long as the questions come from a place of interest and not judgment. I've been surprised again and again by what people are willing to accept when it comes to...variations in bodies, to be with the person they love.'

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