DeVos becomes latest unlikely Trans ally

Betsy DeVos trans allyDepartment of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently joined a long-running list of trans-allies when she declared recently her department would no longer hear cases where transgender students were denied using the bathroom matching their identity.

WTF you say?

We have always asserted, and will continue to do so, that often those you think are the vilest enemies of transpeople, actually are allies. In a world where everything is always working out for everyone, there’s no such thing as an “enemy”. For even “enemies” foster fertile ground for getting what you want.

Take Trump, for example. Many on the left, and pretty much every transgender person in the United States, save maybe Cait Jenner, believes Trump is the vilest of enemies of the transgender movement. Yet, from our perspective, Trump’s presidential win, his administration and his policies are responsible for some of the most significant and proactive initiatives. Those initiatives will have long-lasting implications for the United States; particularly in the legislative branch, and in courtrooms and city halls across the country. For now, more than ever, we see person after person, who happens to be trans, running – and winning – public office.

What’s more, we see more and more transgender leaders throughout our society – models, CEOs, inventors, school teachers, school principals – coming out one after the other. Following them are scores of young people who are far more comfortable identifying out of the gender binary than at any time in the history of the country. And following them are man companies realizing the right side of the transgender issue is supporting transgender people.

These trends are sure to continue. As we have said before, conservative agendas are losing agendas. Progress will always prevail in the end. DeVos will not forever be head of the education department. Nor will Trump administration policies remain in place forever. Neither will The Donald.

Besides, there are far more interesting things to be focusing your attention on than what’s happening in Washington. A great place for your scrutiny: what’s happening in your head. I presume, since you’re reading this, that you’re either transgender, or trans-attracted or transamorous. If you fall into any of these categories, it would behoove you to think about why you’re still hiding the fact that you are trans, or that you find transgender people attractive, if that’s what you’re doing. With so much positivity happening in the country,  the time couldn’t be better for you to come out.

Besides, it’s highly likely if you do, those who matter in your life will embrace you. Once you embrace yourself.

Transamorous men tread a thin line


I’m not trying to make a sympathy appeal for transamorous men. I talk about the thin line transamorous men tread in my Man’s Guide for Finding a Transgender Partner. What I am thinking about though is how easy it is to make the transamorous man the bad guy in the cis-male – transwoman relationship dynamic.

Season Two of Transparent got me thinking about this. In the Episode “Davina”, a transgender woman has a boyfriend named Sal. In this episode he gets out of prison and comes home to Davina’s delight. There’s a moment in the episode where Sal has a conversation with Maura, the show’s main character. The conversation he has was reminiscent of thoughts I’ve had about some transwomen I’ve been interested in.  Sal takes it to a whole other level though. Sal makes recommendations for surgeries and results Maura can undertake to improve her appearance. It’s a difficult scene to watch if you’re at all clued into how sensitive such subjects are. And here’s where things get dicey. A far better description comes from a quick website search:

“Ex-con boyfriend, Sal…comes back to society and promptly begins telling Maura exactly how many ccs of silicone he recommends she have injected “in the titty area.”  This leads to one of the realest exchanges we’ve seen between Maura and Davina yet, as the tension between the two boils over into argument: can Davina do better than the “trans-amorous” Sal, or does she have to settle for life with a man who may well only want her because of her gender identity?”

As a “trans-amorous” man myself, I cringe at this author’s description of men like me. And, I understand it. How far can I go in offering advice on changes a person can make? Is it even my place?  I remember, early in my transition, making suggestions to a woman I was dating who was considering her FFRS. I felt my ideas would be warmly received. After all I was one of a small handful of people in her life who cared about her. But she wasn’t warm in her response to my suggestions…and that’s putting it lightly.

I get such decisions are personal to the transperson. I also get that there’s a line any man can cross when interacting with any woman regarding her appearance. For transwomen I imagine the process of making appearance changes to match an ideal are a huge and personal set of decisions….with an emphasis on “personal” meaning “none of my business.”

But what if the person you love makes choices which result in her looking in ways which are unattractive to you? Yes, looks should not play that big a role, but shoulda-woulda…they do! After all, don’t transwomen, whether they are lesbians, heterosexual or whatever, have preferences? Even shallow ones like race, height, and such?

Of course they do.

I met and dated, very early on, a transgender woman just after her chest and SR surgeries. She got these e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s breast implants. She was pretty and well-adjusted, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finding that massive chest attractive. She was certainly grossly disproportionate IMO. It wasn’t the only cause that ended our relationship. But her appearance, or rather my desires in my partner’s appearance (my story) played a part in our relationship’s demise.

So where does the transamorous man stand regarding decisions his transpartner makes during her transition? Is there a point in a relationship where it becomes ok to give input? It’s a curious question to consider. For the line is fine. And clarity, understanding, grace and rational approached – coming from both parties – can help a lot.