Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Eleventh Unexpected Trans Annoyance

So I wrote that list a little while ago about unexpected trans annoyances, and I plumb forgot the one annoyance that actually inspired me to write the damn list.  So here it is, number 11:

11. People still expect me to wear women's underwear for some reason.

I focus on underwear in the title, but this goes beyond panties.  It just so happened that my first realization of this phenomenon had to do with panties.

I'd been out for probably a year when I went home for a summer.  As it happens, my clothes got dirty, and I decided it was about time to do some laundry.  I do a load of laundry and forget it in the dryer.  Dad winds up finding it, and is very confused by the fact that there are (gasp) men's underwear in it that clearly aren't his.  Around that same time he also realized I do not wear bras.

Previously I'd already been through the drama when I rejected a pair of embroidered women's shorts from my grandmother and my parents acted as though it was weird that I didn't want them.  I'd written a long rant to them a few months into my social transition because it was clear that they didn't truly understand that when I said I was a transsexual man it didn't mean I was just a particularly butch woman, and after some drama everything seemed fine.

But somehow, despite that rant, despite several conversations in which I was trying to assert very clearly "I am a man now and acting shocked when I do or wear things typically associated with men is very offensive to me," underwear slipped through the cracks.  Also slipping through the cracks included men's scented deodorant and cologne as well as men's vitamins (I've known two trans men who had relatives begin buying them women's vitamins as soon as they came out when they'd never done it before, assuming this would be appreciated).

Here's what really irks me about the underwear phenomenon, as I call it:  It specifically focuses on things that most people don't see.  It makes the assumption that no matter how masculine a trans man looks on the outside, he's "probably" still doing everything the same "behind the scenes," like wearing women's panties or deodorant.  It's an extension of the idea that being trans is a costume rather than a sincere identity, and having that viewpoint crushed makes people uncomfortable.

I assure you: There is no anatomical difference that makes wearing women's panties necessary for trans men.  Some trans men do still wear them (as do some cis men), but typically we wear men's clothes from top to bottom just like other men.  Plenty of us are also more-dedicated consumers of male-advertised products just because it helps with dysphoria in its own way to purchase things specifically advertised to men (there's this ridiculous ad going around for a manly yoghurt and I just know there are trans men who will buy it).

So to conclude, when somebody comes out as trans, if you're going to assume weird things about what we wear under our outer-clothes, don't assume that these are--or should be--clothing cut and designed for our assigned-at-birth sex.  Typically they won't be.