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A trans man (sometimes trans-man or transman) is a man who was assigned female at birth (AFAB). The label of transgender man is not always interchangeable with that of transsexual man, although the two labels are often used in this way. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes different types of gender variant people (including transsexual people). Many trans men choose to undergo surgical or hormonal transition, or both (see sex reassignment therapy), to alter their appearance in a way that aligns with their gender identity or alleviates gender dysphoria.
Although the literature indicates that most trans men identify as heterosexual (meaning they are sexually attracted to women), trans men, like cisgender men, can also have any sexual orientation or sexual identity, such as homosexual, gay, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual or asexual, and some trans men might consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable to them.
The term trans man is used as a short form for either identity (transsexual man and transgender man). This commonly referred to as female-to-male (FTM or F2M). Trans men may identify as transsexual, as transgender, neither, or both. Transgender man is an umbrella term that may include anybody who was assigned female at birth (AFAB), but identifies as male. For instance, some androgynous, bigender, and genderqueer people might identify as transgender. Because transgender is an umbrella term, it can be imprecise and does not always describe specific identities and experiences. Transmasculine is a general, broader term for individuals who were AFAB but identify closer to the masculine (or male) side of the gender spectrum.
The term transsexual originated in the medical and psychological communities. However, unlike the term transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term, and many transgender people do not identify as such. Transsexual is a term for AFAB and assigned male at birth (AMAB) people alike who feel their sex organs do not reflect their gender and have chosen to change some aspect of their body; it is an older term, with GLAAD stating that it is "still preferred by some people who have permanently changed - or seek to change - their bodies through medical interventions (including but not limited to hormones and/or surgeries)." The transgender community sometimes uses the term passing to describe a transgender person's ability to appear as the gender they identify with. The opposite meaning is conveyed by the terms "to be read" or "to be clocked", and means not passing.
Originally, the term trans men referred specifically to female-to-male transsexual people who underwent hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or sex reassignment surgery (SRS), or both. The definition of transition has broadened to include theories of psychological development or complementary methods of self-acceptance. Many of those who identify as transgender may face gender dysphoria.
Transsexual and transgender men may seek medical interventions such as hormones and surgery to make their bodies as congruent as possible with their gender presentation. However, many transgender and transsexual men cannot afford or choose not to undergo surgery or hormone replacement therapy.
Many who have not undergone top surgery choose to bind their breasts. There are a few different methods of binding, including using sports bras and specially made binders (which can be vest-type, or wrap-around style). Tape or bandages, although often depicted in popular culture, should never be used for binding as they tighten with wear and compress the ribcage, and could result in injury.
Some trans men might also decide to pack, to create a phallic bulge in the crotch of clothing. However, this is not universal. Trans men who decide to pack may use anything from rolled up socks to specially made packers, which resemble a penis. Some packers are also created for trans men to be able to urinate through them (stand-to-pee, or STP, devices), or for sexual penetration or other sexual activity (known as "pack-and-play").
- Social transition: using a preferred name and pronouns, wearing clothing seen as gender appropriate, disclosure to family, friends and usually at the workplace/school.
- Sex reassignment therapy: hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and/or surgery (SRS)
- Legal affirmation: name and (sometimes) sex marker correction in legal identification documents.
Being socially accepted as male (sometimes known as passing) may be challenging for trans men who have not undergone HRT and/or surgery. Some trans men may choose to present as female in certain social situations (e.g. at work). After physical transition, trans men usually live full-time as male. However, some transmasculine individuals might choose to use and engage their bodies to be pregnant, birth a baby, and chestfeed.
Prevalence, identity and relationships
In the United States, the ratio of trans men within the general population is unclear, but estimates range between 1:2,000 and 1:100,000. A U.S. Census Bureau study in 2015 suggests that there were around 58,000 name changes in census records consistent with female to male transgenderism although only 7,500 of these changed their sex coding as well.
In a study by Kara Devaney, entitled Transgender Research Literature Review, it is addressed that the term transgender encompasses a myriad of different and unique identities that do not follow the "normal" rules of gender. Miriam J. Abelson writes, "There is no question that trans men's experiences are men's experiences and give insight about men, masculinity, and gender inequality."
A trans man may be gay, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, asexual, demisexual, etc., and some trans men consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable to them. The literature commonly indicates that sexual attraction to those of their same gender (e.g., trans men liking men and trans women liking women) is considerably less common among trans men than among trans women; the vast majority of trans men are reported as heterosexual. Surveys from the National Center for Transgender Equality show more variation in sexual orientation or sexual identity among trans men. In NCTE's 2015 Transgender Survey of respondents who identified as trans men, 23% identified as heterosexual or straight. The vast majority (65%) identified their sexual orientation or sexual identity as queer (24%), pansexual (17%), bisexual (12%), or gay/same-gender loving (12%).
Some trans men date heterosexual women, while other trans men date queer-identified women; the latter might be because queer-identified women are less invested in the gender and sexual anatomy of a person when it comes to selecting an intimate partner. It is also common for trans men to have histories with the lesbian community or to feel that they identify better with that community because of its wide acceptance of gender variance, with a number of trans men having identified as lesbian (often as a "butch lesbian") before realizing that they are instead transgender.
Trans men have less success fitting in with and identifying with the gay male community because it tends to be more cisgender-focused and body-focused (especially in terms of being phallocentric); as a result, gay trans men are likelier to partner with each other than with a cisgender gay man. There are, however, cases of women being likelier than men to thoroughly question trans men about their motivations for modifying their bodies.
Some scholars argue against assumptions that trans men are predominantly heterosexual and usually have lesbian histories. In scholars' Ian Irving and Rupert Raj's book Trans Activism in Canada, researchers state, "There is still a common misperception that trans men are largely heterosexual amongst those who conflate gender identity and sexual orientation. It is frequently assumed that trans men are exclusively attracted to women and have lesbian histories prior to transition." They add, "Recent data from the Trans PULSE project (Bauer, Redman, Bradley, & Scheim, 2013) challenge this assumption, with 63 percent of female-to-male spectrum trans people in Ontario reporting non-heterosexual identities and/or past-year sex with trans or non-trans men." They also argue that, based on some research, "many non-trans gay men have welcomed trans men into gay communities and have increasingly recognized trans men as potential sexual and romantic partners."
Trans men can be victims of sex crimes, and there are cases where rape has occurred, including with the intention of changing the sexual expressions and/or the sexuality of trans men; this is known as corrective rape. In a 2016 Bangkok Post article, a researcher stated, "Unlike in South Africa, where homophobic rape is rampant, with increasing trends as a large number of men still want to use violence to force trans people to abandon their sexual identity, there are no official surveys or studies about this problem in Thailand. [...] Recently some video clips emerged showing the rape of trans people." Furthermore, the article told about two cases of rape of trans men in Thailand, and a claim that "it seems that quite a few people [in Thailand] would say they have heard of, or known about, such cases in their communities".
Notable trans men
- Alexander James Adams, American musician
- Kye Allums, American basketball player
- Buck Angel, filmmaker, speaker, and advocate
- Schuyler Bailar, swimmer on men's team in Harvard University
- Ben Barres, an American neurobiologist who teaches at Stanford University
- Thomas Beatie, an American advocate for transgender rights. Also became famous as the "pregnant man".
- Oliver Baez Bendorf, an American poet and librarian
- S. Bear Bergman, American author, poet, and playwright whose gender identity is a main focus of his artwork.
- Chaz Bono, American author and activist, the only child born out of the marriage of musicians Sonny Bono and Cher
- Willmer "Little Ax" Broadnax (1916–1994), African-American hard gospel quartet singer
- Cidny Bullens, American singer-songwriter/recording artist
- Balian Buschbaum, German pole vaulter
- Alec Butler, Canadian playwright and film-maker
- Mauro Cabral, trans and intersex advocate, and co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality
- Meryn Cadell, Canadian singer, writer and performance artist
- Patrick Califia, writer and poet
- Loren Cameron, American photographer, author and activist
- Ryan Cassata, American singer-songwriter, public speaker and transgender activist
- Harry Leo Crawford, Australian convicted murderer
- Aaron Devor, Canadian sociologist and sexologist
- Michael Laurence Dillon (1915–1962), physician and author
- Robert Eads (1945–1999), subject of documentary Southern Comfort
- Reed Erickson (1917–1992), businessman and philanthropist
- Rüzgar Erkoçlar (b. 1986), Turkish actor and model.
- Dominick Evans (b. 1980) disabled activist and filmmaker
- Elliot Fletcher, actor
- Jack Bee Garland (1869–1936), American journalist, nurse, and adventurer
- Alexander John Goodrum (1960–2002), an African American transgender civil rights activist
- Jamison Green, writer and educator
- Alan L. Hart (1890–1962), an American physician who pioneered the use of x-ray photography in tuberculosis detection, and helped implement TB screening programs
- Ian Harvie, American stand-up comedian
- Logan Ireland, first openly transgender man in U.S. Air Force
- Katastrophe (Rocco Katastrophe Kayiatos) homo-hop MC
- Andreas Krieger, German shot putter
- Amos Mac, photographer, writer, publisher, co-founder of Original Plumbing
- Trevor MacDonald, health care researcher, author, public speaker
- Tiq Milan, writer, public speaker activist, strategic media consultant and currently a national spokesperson for GLAAD
- sj Miller, academic, public speaker, trans activist, and author
- Shannon Minter, attorney
- Chris Mosier, American hall of fame triathlete and founder of transathlete.com
- Shane Ortega, American soldier U.S. Army Staff Sergeant
- Paul B. Preciado, trans-activist, writer, body philosopher and art curator
- Ryan Sallans, trans-activist and public speaker
- Lucas Silveira, rock musician.
- Brian Michael Smith, American actor and advocate.
- Chase Strangio, ACLU attorney and transgender rights activist
- Lou Sullivan (1951–1991), American author, biographer and founder of FTM International
- Brandon Teena (1972–1993), a victim of a hate crime, subject of the film Boys Don't Cry
- Billy Tipton (1914–1989), an American jazz pianist and saxophonist
- Max Wolf Valerio, poet, writer and performer
- Del Lagrace Volcano, performer and photographer
- Stephen Whittle, Professor of Equalities Law in the School of Law at Manchester Metropolitan University, and an active member of the United Kingdom TransActivist organisation Press for Change
- Kortney Ryan Ziegler, film-maker and scholar
- My Dearest Senorita, 1972, Spain, drama
- Boys Don't Cry, 1999, USA, drama (based on real story)
- Southern Comfort, 2001, USA, documentary
- TransGeneration, 2005, USA, documentary miniseries
- Transparent, 2006, USA, documentary
- Pick Up the Mic, 2006, USA, documentary (features two FTM artists)
- My Friend from Faro, 2008, Germany, drama
- STILL BLACK: a portrait of black transmen, 2008, USA, documentary about black trans men
- Loop Planes, 2010, USA, short drama
- Becoming Chaz, 2011, USA, documentary about Chaz Bono's transition
- Romeos, 2011, Germany, drama
- Facing Mirrors, 2011, Iran, drama
- 52 Tuesdays, 2013, Australia, drama
- Songs For Alexis, 2014, USA, documentary about Ryan Cassata
- About Ray, 2015, USA, drama
- Real Boy, 2016, USA, documentary about Ben Wallace and Joe Stevens
- Beemus, It'll End In Tears, 2016, USA, Short Drama
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- Original Plumbing magazine Quarterly magazine with online component focusing on culture and diversity in the trans male community.
- Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green
- Just Add Hormones: An Insider's Guide to the Transsexual Experience by Matt Kailey
- Transmen and FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities by Jason Cromwell
- FTM: Female-to-Male Transsexuals in Society. by Aaron H. Devor
- Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love and Life by Ryan Sallans
- Original Plumbing magazine edited by Amos Mac and Rocco Kayiatos