It's not only physical, either -- transgender people who have undergone hormone therapy are a goldmine of information about the differences between men and women because of the effect different hormones have on your mind. Describing his experience with testosterone on This American Life, one trans man flat-out says "I felt like a monster." He completely stopped thinking about the random women he encountered as people, and a nice-looking one would turn his mind into a pornographic View-Master. That guy was on an irresponsibly high dose, but most trans men on testosterone agree that it increases libido and aggression, which can be a shocking revelation for someone who's spent their life chasing the estrogen dragon.
Western culture has come a long way from portraying transgender people as nothing but villains or sight gags. People win Oscars for that shit now. That is, as long as they're tucking a bulge rather than packing one. Go ahead, name a movie that features a trans man character. Did you say Boys Don't Cry? Do you know how many reviews at the time referred to Brandon Teena as a butch lesbian? Okay, now name another. I'll wait.
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There's a reason that the Wikipedia page of transgender characters in movies and TV lists five times as many trans women as trans men. There actually are about three trans women for every trans man in the population, which is kind of weird, because there appears to be no biological basis for that or anything. In my experience, it's because many trans men simply choose not to identify themselves. It's a lot easier and more socially acceptable to identify as a butch lesbian, because homophobia is hard enough to handle without the added stigma against the transgender community. People also tend to be a lot more accepting of masculine women than feminine men, which says all kinds of fucked up things about everyone. Girly boys are going to get the side-eye no matter what, so that sort of forces their handbag.
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This is why I didn't even know what a trans man was until well into adulthood. Neither did my fiance, or many of the trans men I know. Trans men simply aren't visible in the public eye, and I think that's why they won't come forward, so it's impossible to even know how many there are, which contributes further to our lack of representation. It's this weird vicious cycle of invisibility, like a snake eating its own tail, except it can't even see it. That's why it's important for us to stop being afraid to announce our manhood to the world. What are you, some kind of girl?
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For more insider perspectives, check out 5 Bizarre Realities of Being a Man Who Was Raped by a Woman and 5 Things People Don't Get About Borderline Personalities.
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