We need … a masculinity that is not painful for those who wear it or those who fall in love with it or for those who interact with it. Radical masculinity does not hurt. –Sinclair Sexsmith
For what it’s worth, I don’t stand by Ira Gray (tw for rape, sexual assault, rape apologism), and I never did, though I actively don’t now, and I want to articulate that. I’ve been thinking a lot about community accountability and justice and what that might look like— so much of it is unfolding and being facilitated over Tumblr, which I think is really amazing!
I’ve been thinking also about who we want - as trans men - to be speaking for us. I never felt that Ira Gray spoke for me, but I know a lot of trans guys did and I imagine there can be some feelings of betrayal around that. Last night, I was at a party and I met a Pulitzer-Prize winning writer who has been legendary in my mind since high school. I sat down next to him and asked him if he had any writing projects these days. He lifted his glass of wine and said, “Just drinking.” I laughed, but he didn’t. I felt disoriented and a bit shaken; I had to let go of my idea of who he was. It can be hard to not be able to reconcile your idea of a person you admire with a shattered reality.
Let me address the trans guys here for a second. What kind of man do you want to be? What kind of man don’t you want to be? It is SO IMPORTANT for us as trans men/boys to figure our shit out around misogyny, consent, power, and privilege. And how to be good to/for the women in our lives. It is (can be) hard work but we need to hold ourselves and each other just as responsible for it as we hold/held the cis men we hated/feared when we were feminist dykes. (Generalizing there from personal experience.) And as trans men/boys it is SO IMPORTANT that we hold each other accountable to that, which means speaking out even when it’s uncomfortable— I didn’t really want to write this post. We can’t be gross bros. We can’t be selfish in or out of the sack. It is so much more fun to be down on my knees for the women in my life. We have
a chance to change what masculinity looks like and how it acts. We have to because so much of masculinity is fucking intolerable to me, and yet WE WANT TO BE/ARE MEN FOR SOME REASON, and those reasons aren’t just no reason, so let’s fucking be good, and honest, and check ourselves, and check each other, and own up to where we go wrong. 100% consensual sex exists. It’s fucked up to pretend otherwise and we have to do better than that.
I remember the first time I realized that once I began to pass as a guy, if that ever happens, that women might be afraid of me, the way I fear (still) men walking behind me at night. I remember in that moment this sense of panic and also trying to decide what to do: cross the street? whistle loudly so the woman would know where I was? I sometimes still can’t stomach the idea of becoming/being the very thing that still makes me so afraid most of the time, but then I think about all the soft and loving men I have also known, and how much I love being a fairy fag boy with a thing for femme sharks, and I hope I can use my years and years of interacting with men as a woman-thing to figure out how to be a better/kinder/softer boy.
Women in my Tumblr world: I love and respect you and your feminist boredom, your spoons, your draft purging, your archives of feelings, your boundaries, your overshares, and I want for you in life to always feel safe and I’m so sorry for all the fucked up things that masculinity has done and continues to do to you. I’m going to hold myself and the men/boys in my life accountable for that.