3 min

Sizing him up

Trans men stake their place at the baths

Credit: Jennifer Gillmor

Saturday night and we’ve left the throbbing music of the Barn. We descend into The Bijou porn theatre and bathhouse, a bevy of lust-driven fags out to get off.

At The Bijou, I like the back side of the slurp ramp, the economy of bodies touching to get each other off, then moving on. I press my self tight against the boards as other hands grope and tease my back and ass. I reach up through the hole, pull a cock close and descend on it hungrily.

Later, I pass one of the booths and admire the leather daddy inside. I want to be on my knees in front of him, but I don’t go in. I can’t guess what his response would be if he touched me and found breasts where he expects a chest, a wet cunt instead of a hard cock.

Gay men don’t expect to find me here; that helps me pass all the more. My slim soft hands make me chicken rather than girl. As a female-to-male tranny fag, being in this space feels illicit. How would the average fag react to finding my body here? What if I had not pressed myself so tightly to the backside of the slurp ramp, allowing some of those dark groping hands to encountered my rather noticeable rack of tits?

When I entered the door in my street clothes the attendant affirmed my body as male and took my money. My fellow patrons don’t smell me as woman, nor do their fag cocks go soft in my mouth. I don’t believe I’m a woman, and yet it feels like I’m pulling one over on the guys here.

My claim to belong here might not hold up to a close inspection, my male citizenship could be revoked at any moment.

Late last year, the AIDS Committee Of Toronto sponsored an event at the 519 Church Street Community Centre called Tranny Fags And Bio Boys Talk It Up.

It’s a space for queer men of all body forms to talk about their experiences, fears and desires about having sex together. The room is tightly packed. All boys and men, with cocks and clits, with two-centimetre dicks and eight-inch dicks. (Bio men count cock length in inches, but trans men count in centimetres so we, too, can say, “I’m a hot, hung 10.”)

We are all sizing each other up through our clothes. Was he born that way? Is his body as he would like us to see it? The conversation is simultaneously encouraging and daunting. A spa owner speaks, and I am torn between applauding his courageousness or getting annoyed.

Part of me wants to lick his boots in respect, as he is taking a considerable business risk just being with us. To invite our bodies into his bath is brave. I know too many gay men who revile pussy, think of it as gross and smelly. Just the thought that we might be there could lose him business, and here he is handing out free passes to tranny boys.

He tells us that if we pass at the door we are welcome in his bath, that his staff won’t tolerate transphobic violence.

But then I want to shake him for saying that we would have to keep a towel on, for his revulsion about vaginas. He also tells us that we’d be thrown out if we were to have man-on-man sex with our tits and front hole exposed to other patrons.

Fair? Do other men get stopped at the door and told their bodies are not sexy, and allowed to come in only if they keep them covered up? If old men, fat men, or men with disabilities and others who aren’t deemed hot by the porn industry can get it on openly, why not me?

A group of bisexual men from Toronto Bisexual Network also attend the meeting, talking about how excited a trans presence at the baths is – and how several female members would like to visit the baths, too.

I wonder if they’re present to work with us tranny fags or if they’re merely titillated at the possibility of occasionally finding a “woman” in a bath.

If it’s the first approach, I want to work together. We both sit on the fringes of the gay world and we both need all the allies we can get. If it’s the second, piss off. I am not a woman, and won’t be made one for your sexual pleasure.

During one discussion, an older bio fag admits yes, at one point his sex had been a political act, and that this was part of the growing pains of joining the community. He then dared trans men to be man enough to take the necessary risks for our sexual expression.

Sure, I rise to the bait. Who I fuck, how, where and when is political – and risky. I need to know who my allies are, who stands beside me in making gay sexual spaces open to all men, whatever their bodies may look like.

My sex is political and look out. I want my sex in your face and on everyone’s lips.

You’re welcome to cum, too.