PRIMED: The Back Pocket Guide for Transmen & The Men who Dig Them

Published: May 1, 2012

Trans is an umbrella term for all kinds of identities. There is no way we could offer
you an inclusive list without forgetting someone, for this reason we use transmen to
refer to people who were assigned female at birth but who are living as men or as
male. There is no one way to be a transman. Some of us pass, and some of us don’t.

“Passing” is being recognized by others as the gender that you were not assigned at
birth. For transmen, this means being seen as male. Passing is a matter of perception,
the way that people perceive and treat your gender in day-to-day life and unfortunately,
passing does not always go hand-in-hand with your personal gender identification.
You can feel very male or identify as a man and not pass, or only pass some of the
time. There’s lots of ways that transmen express their masculinity, from binding their
chests to changing their speech patterns to taking testosterone and having surgeries.
Other transmen choose not to pass. Possibly they are trying to fuck with the gender
binary, or they want to be seen as queer or they just don’t care. There is often an
emphasis on passing in trans communities but just remember that passing does not
make you more of a man.

For many transmen who are trying to fuck, or have relationships with other
transmen or non-trans men, passing can be a huge issue. The reality is that gay and
queer male communities generally respond more positively to transmen if they are
passing. Some questions you can ask are, how does passing affect the decisions you
make in regards to your sexual health? What does the pressure to pass mean for you
when you’re making choices about the sex you’re going to have? Whether you pass
or not, it’s a good idea to think about if and when you will tell people you are trans.

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