MP (militarypenguin) wrote,

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I had my first meeting with a group of trans masculine people. I was referred to the group via a member from another trans group I went to this week; a group which was plenty supportive enough, but seeing a group targeted at a very specific niche of mine was something I needed badly. I've been on T for a year, and while it's been a great thing for me, it's also been a very isolating and lonely experience that's taken an enormous mental toll on me; I have no trans (or LGBTQ-aligned in general) friends or groups in my area, and being online can fill that void for only so long before you just need to meet someone like you in flesh and blood.

And meet people like me I did. The room was full of trans men and masculine-presenting non-binary people, more than I'd ever known to be seeing face-to-face in my entire lifetime. It was surreal and wonderful.

We went around introducing ourselves: names, pronouns, and any trans-related topic that had been on our minds. The person who led the group summarized the topics that came up, and had us take it from there.

We talked a variety of topics. A group within the group had relayed a terrible experience they had at a gay bar wherein the staff refused them service and even misgendered one despite their apparent masculine presentation and visible facial hair. This went into the--I think very under-discussed--topic of gender socialization and how it affects us as trans people. Because we largely socialized to be women, that came with its own shortcomings (being more quiet, passive, and meek--something very much reflected in the group at large as each one of us nervously initiated conversation) that were sources of frustration for us. But it'd also come with qualities we didn't think we'd have had we been socialized as men from birth (such as compassion, politeness, and sensitivity).

This led into examining the topic from other perspectives, such as one man who didn't feel he'd been socialized to be any certain gender from birth--not as result of progressively-thinking parents, however, but due to his lower class status, where he was expected to be more of an assertive scrapper.

We discussed the setbacks of presenting as masculine and the inevitable topic of toxic masculinity, too. One of our non-binary members talked about his experience as a teacher, seeing male students from the 5th and 6th grades lamenting how they couldn't show physical affection to their friend without being bullied. A man who'd been on T for a while related how that bled into his own adult life and how he'd been experiencing far less physical affection than before he'd transitioned. Fortunately (and consensually, I must add--many people aren't ok with this form of physical affection and that's perfectly fine) all of us hugged one and other by the end of the meeting.

I talked a bit about the depression I'd been experiencing since starting T, and my main motivation for coming to this group--I'd been diagnosed with depression for well over a decade now, but it'd been mostly stable until just this year. I experienced a distinct and pervasive lack of enthusiasm, as opposed to the euphoria I'd hear so many trans men experience when on T. We talked about varying factors, but the one that stood out most to me was in response to--aside from the aforementioned lack of known trans groups and people in my area--how I said I didn't have any negative experiences as a trans person, he said something to the affect of, "It's one thing to never have had any negative experiences, but it's another to have no one know the whole picture of you." It was a deeply empathic response, emphasizing on how the loneliness of my situation no doubt impacted me deeply. It meant a lot.

There were other things we discussed, relating to sex drive and things that turned us off pre-T that suddenly turned us on post-T, crushes on others who didn't know we were trans, and likely other things that have escaped my memory. I'm grateful I went, I hope to attend another meeting.
Tags: life, trans stuff
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