"If the fact that I am a male is not enough to “be masculine" then, obviously to “be masculine” is performance… and for me it has always been a high-pressure performance, that has always been terribly acted. One of my first performances was after being confronted by other boys at school. As I clutch my home-made Spice Girls Trapper Keeper to my chest, these boys tell me to “man up” cause “your acting like fag or something” and I… not even fully aware of what “fag” means, tense up and take from these guys their mumbling, yet aggressive, yet inarticulate cues as to how to behave in order to avoid continued questioning and embarrassment – I take those cues and perform, the only way I know how… I look down, purse my lips, lean back and say, “Psssh, Dude, Whaaat? Dude…Fag? What?”
Whenever I actively try to “be masculine” it feels like that type of pressure again… and confusion, always wondering why; even though I have a dick, being male alone is not enough to “be masculine”.
I haven’t worked very much on my performance skills, these days I go back to what I did as a kid. I dumb myself down to bro myself up. But in doing this, I realize that 90% of the examples of responsibility, leadership, power, loyalty, safety, sacrifice and achievement in my life have been displayed by women. Many of the examples of masculinity I’ve seen in my life have been of reticence, destruction and arbitrary aggression. This is not to say that men are all destructive, they’re not, I love men, they’re great, but I place no premium on this sense of masculinity- I can be powerful without having to “be masculine.” A strong brow and a nude lip are enough for me to pay homage to those- teachers, my mom, Hillary Clinton, etc- who’ve proven with their lives that being masculine is literally just for show.”
We as femme cis men have a very complicated relationship with masculinity. We are often very attracted to it but have consistently been unable to attain it. This gets even more complicated when we involve race, and our attraction to and rejection by white masculinity.
However, notice how quickly we use transmisogyny and cissexism to try and shimmy our way into the Boys Club of Masculinity.
He mentions how having a dick and (therefore) being male hasn’t been enough to afford him masculinity.
It’s a lament that charged with pain and a history of exclusion. But it does not change the fact that equating penis with maleness is incredibly cissexist and in particular, incredibly transmisogynistic.
But he is not alone in doing that. Hell, I’ve done so in the past.
Femme cis men, we gotta do better.
When we base our maleness on our penises, we erase the existence of our femme trans brother. When we base our maleness on our penises, we have committed an act of violence on our trans sisters and trans feminine siblings.
And all for what? To be accepted as a lesser form of maleness? To be dirty secrets whispered only between 12 and 3 am?
We gotta do better y’all. We seriously do.