Manhood And Maleness

During a breakout in the conference, a self-described “soft butch” spoke of her years as a drag king, and how she got amazing affirmation from lesbian women; they wanted to be with her. When she came back without the performance, though, she became invisible again, much less desirable. In the end, she decided to walk away from that powerful performance to become more authentic, even if that was much less desired and therefore apparently less powerful than her drag performance.

On the other hand, drag queens of my knowledge have usually found it hard to find gay men who are interested in them, and find themselves much more successful in meeting partners coming back the next night in boy clothes of some sort.

It seems to me that women read drag kings as women, manly hearted women, maybe, but gay men don’t read drag queens as men, rather as someone who is forfeiting manhood for something else.

This means that manhood is something males can lose through drag performance, but manhood is also something females can’t gain though drag performance.

It also seems to explain why FTMs, who can male their body can have a kind of easy social manhood, but MTFs, who mostly cannot really un-male their body find it difficult to have an easy womanhood.

This leads to MTFs often ending up as a permanent guy-in-a-dress or surrendering their power by silence, rather than achieving woman power in their lives, because in a hetrosexist culture, womanhood is located by the absence of maleness.

This may be why so many MTF transsexuals work so fast to surrender their pole and end up in the shadow, and then are frustrated when they find that male puberty is a permanent change, and their male body is unerasable, no matter what the current shape of their genitals. They want womanhood, but all they easily get is a kind of surrendered manhood. Women, as the marginalized shadow of men, control their identity in a way that men don’t need to, and that means the barriers to entry can be high.

But other women who perform a kind of stylized masculinity?

Well, they are hot women, not men!

Gosh, I think even I feel that heat.

The first person I met at the conference was a young FTM Post-Grad, who has consciously created his gender presentation for power. We joked about What Not To Wear and how they recreate the gender presentation of their participants, consciously creating a new performance. And when TantraGal asked me who pulled at my heart, I said that a conscious butch in a good jacket was always hotter than androgrrl flannels and jeans.

It’s hard to get past being identified as male bodied — as having gone through puberty as a male — though.



I slept on the cement floor last night, as I have so many times before.

I did so because my body ached and hurt all over.

It sounds counter, I know, but I knew that what I needed was a dose of monastic discipline, something to stimulate denial.   I had originally thought I would go to a big drag party benefit last night, but I realized I could never get back from that indulgence into my own heart, so it was on the floor.

Yesterday was frustrating.  Seven hours waiting for a dryer repairman at my sister’s house, time I needed.  A $23 dollar 2 Gb Sansa Express coupled with a $9 2Gb MicroSD that I opened, loaded with music I thought would help, but then seemed to die, frustration overnight, damn customer service.  I was stuck with Edward Hermann reading David Halberstam’s The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, a powerful subject, not a joyous one.

Still in all this, there is light.  Sarah has made a most generous offer, powerful because it represents her belief in the value and power of what I do.  I am still moved by Grace’s second breath taking comment. “I am angry with myself, as you know. I am sorry I took it out on you.”  She speaks about her own knowledge of her own pain, affirming both my knowledge and my hit, gracefully facing herself.  I know how hard that is to do, know what it takes to do that.

I stay silent so much because I know that my experience of pain is not useful to most people, no matter how much I feel hurt.   I never took a sick day in school after second grade because I knew however bad I felt, staying home with my mother would always be worse.  My sister suffers her own way, lives in her own monastic denial, and my pain, well, not someplace she can go.

So I have 24 hours to get a lot done before for my parents, and the only way to do it is bull, head down and pushing.  Aching don’t get the carpets cleaned.

Hit the floor and leave heaven alone, at least for now.  An injunction for humans, not for spirit living a human life.