Last week, I sat down with one of my friends who is agender, panromantic/asexual friend and interviewed ter (pronouns: ter/ter). This week, I wanted to continue these interviews by talking to my transgender, panromantic/asexual friend. Giving voice to those in the LGBT+ community is so important, especially since their voices are more often taken away; especially those who identify as transgender. Right now, the country is debating something that should be no question: transgender as people, and they have just as many rights as those who are cisgender (identify with the gender assigned to them at birth). I am hoping that this interview will at least make people consider their objections to transgender rights, and why they are objecting.
For the purposes of this interview, and my friend's identity protection, I will be using the acronym TPAF (Transgdener, Panromantic/Asexual Friend) to keep them anonymous. His pronouns are He/Him.
Me: So, welcome to the interview! I thought a good question to start us off on would be: Can you describe your gender and sexuality, as it applies to you specifically?
TPAF:Yes, let's go. Um, so my gender is male, as opposed to demi-boy.
TPAF: Demi-boy is when the majority of the time, you identify as male, but occasionally or sometimes you identify with another gender, or not gender at all. I actually used to identify as demi-boy.
Me: Interesting, I have never heard this term before. See, we all learn new things!
TPAF: Yep. So, as for my sexuality, I am panromantic, which means I don't really give a crap about the gender of my significant other. And I identify as asexual neutral.
Me: Okay, so, can you explain what asexual neutral is? Also, for those reading this, my previous article had a person who identified as panromantic/asexual, if you want hear what ter said.
TPAF: So, asexuality is also sort of on a spectrum, where there's like three different things: negative, which is where you are repulsed by sex or sexual acts, and then there's positive, where like other asexuals you don't necessarily feel sexual attraction, but you participate in sexual acts, the opposite of negative, obviously. And then neutral is where you just don't care, and that's me. I could go without, if I so chose I probably could, but I honestly don't care.
Me: Interesting, I never knew asexuality was on a spectrum as well.
TPAF: Yeah, aromantic is the same way.
Me: Cool. Um, next question. What was the first moment, looking back on your life, that you can identify as a moment of: "This is not me. Not my gender."?
TPAF: So, it was really weird growing up, because I have a couple mental illnesses and disabilities, where I wasn't fully aware that the things I was thinking were 'different'. Or that I should acknowledge my perception of myself as 'male' or 'female'. I was always just, 'me'. There was no difference between me and anyone else. But, when I got to college, and my first roommate was demi-girl, I realized that my gender identity was vastly different from what people were perceiving me as. It was no longer just 'me', but "what do others think of me?". But, looking back now, as a trans-male, it's like, "Oh, well, that explains a lot." For example, I was the only 'female' in a small little gang of boys going around 'terrorizing' people. Or my favorite toys were trucks. I also despised dresses. It didn't really help with realizing my gender identity that my parents never 'gendered' us as kids. I was allowed to have boy toys, and want to be in a 'masculine' occupation. So, I never was pressured to really conform to being female, so I never really thought about it. Was that sufficient?
Me: Um, yes.
TPAF: I'm so sorry!!!
Me: No, this is great! This is good!
TPAF: Uh, next question?
Me: Okay, what has been the most difficult part of identifying as transgender? Specific resistance towards you? Struggles?
TPAF: Um, well. I think the most difficult part is appearing male, or passing, to everyone else. Because, obviously, in my head, I am male. But, I have very feminine face, um, I would be, short and thin for a 'guy'. And I have the most unfortunate wide hips. And it's a everyday sort of resistance, I would say. Because, it's always coming out. For example, a dude taking my order, I say my name, and he hears something more feminine. I mean, just existing as transgender is a sort of struggle. Especially today. I mean, I can't even go to the proper bathroom, without being afraid of what someone will say.
Me: So, have you used male bathrooms before?
TPAF: Uh, I have. Typically when I am certain no one's in them. Mainly, because I don't want to see someone's penis, and there's no siding on urinals. And, the other, more serious fear is they will look at me and think/say "You don't belong here." and then what do I say? Because, I know, that like the bathroom etiquette for men is like, don't look at another guy's penis, and don't look them in the eye. so, if they were to look at me, I could just call them out for breaking male etiquette, but then I would be causing a scene, and I would rather not.
Me: Um, so one question people reading this may be wondering, is about the process of transitioning? Because, not all people take hormones, or go through processes that people are now thinking about when it comes to people who identify as transgender.
TPAF: Ultimately, how you transition is up to you. Some people enjoy their bodies, no matter what they look like. Some people prefer the aesthetic of stereotypical male or female. And for me, I prefer, like, the male aesthetic, I always have. I wear a chest binder, I have the short haircut, I don't wear make-up. I am considering hormones, for me I would be taking T, or testosterone, but I might never. Maybe top surgery, which is the removal of the boobs, if I have the money. Because, there's no funding for this, or insurance coverage, unless you happen to have breast cancer. Because, I mean, transitioning is different for everyone. Some people will go the 'full' way, which is top surgery, bottom surgery (where they change your sexual genitalia to match your gender), and hormones. And some people will just go, "I am a dude!!!!" and nothing else. And all of these are valid, it doesn't take away their transgender identity.
Me: What kind of support have you been receiving from friends, families, or even strangers?
TPAF: I have had the utmost luck in having family and friends who are very supportive. My parents are still kind of struggling with the whole idea, but they’re trying, and they haven’t kicked me out, so, yay! My friends have always been my biggest supporters and my biggest help in understanding myself. Strangers, I think the most support I have gotten from strangers, is kind of without their knowing. Because, if someone, just by looking at me, perceives that I am male, they are supporting me. Which is really kind of silly, because they may or may not support transgender rights or people, and even if I was to tell them that I don’t have a penis, they’d be more willing to believe their initial view of me than take my word for it. Which is the funniest thing, and a small little bit of revenge mixed with victory.
Me: Amazing. I mean, people can pass by transgender every day, and not even know it. Because they are more willing to accept what they see.
TPAF: Mm-hm. Next question?
Me: Sure! So, as far as your sexuality, paired with your gender identity, have there been times when a person, I guess, thought that if you were transgender, then your sexuality had changed as well?
TPAF: I, um, came out to a friend that I had in high school, and they were really good about it, they had questions of course, but sometimes they would get terms wrong, which is to be expected. And at the time, and still currently, I had a partner, the person you last interviewed actually. Um, and my friend asked me if that made my partner a lesbian.
APAF (person from last interview): Who do I need to punch?
Me: So, you had just come out as male, and told your friend that your partner is agender, and he asked whether that made your partner a lesbian?!?!?!?!
TPAF: *laughing* Yeah, they did. So, I just sat there and stared at the message for a moment, because this was through Facebook. And as I’m staring at it, the little dots come up as he is typing, and I get this giant message of apologies, in all caps. And he just felt so bad, and I was literally on the floor laughing, so hard.
APAF: See, I would be offended, but I know this friend, and they are pure. He could, purposefully, do no harm. APAF out.
TPAF: That is the funniest thing that could have possibly happened. And it was probably the worst thing that has happened, thus far. I guess, unless you count the time, my mom, told me this would be easier if you were just gay.
TPAF: This was, of course, when I first came out. She is better with it now. And I definitely have it better than some people, who get the dumb questions?
Me: Dumb questions?
TPAF: Yeah, like, if someone came out as trans-female, and they had a boyfriend beforehand, people would ask them if that means that the trans person was straight now. Which, it doesn’t necessarily have to, because they could be bisexual, or really any other sexuality. Sexuality is on a completely different spectrum from gender, and they have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
Me: Yeah! *cough*. Um, so the last question I have for you today, is do you have any words of advice for those questioning their gender identity? Or even those who are identifying as transgender and would like some advice?
TPAF: Probably, take your time. You don’t have to transition right away, and if you transition, and you feel like you’re in a spot where you are really comfortable with yourself, like half-way through, then you can stop. You don’t have to transition all the way, or at all, because you are yourself, no matter what the rest of the world thinks. And as long as you are comfortable, then screw everybody else. And at the same time, if you’re not comfortable being completely out, you don’t have to be. It’s okay to be afraid, it’s a scary thing. But there are people who are there.
Me: Exactly, and I am going to include some websites, or numbers, that may be helpful for those questioning their gender identity, or looking for help. Thanks so much for letting me interview you today.
TPAF: Oh, yeah. No problem. Thanks for interviewing me.
Me: You’re welcome!
Pronoun ‘dressing room’ where you can find, and try, different pronouns:
A non-profit help-line for transgender people:
National group for helping transgender people: