Savage Love | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Savage Love

Trans men did not have their masculinity handed to them. They earned it.

My boyfriend of three months, "Marcus," told me last week that he is a trans man. He has performed oral sex on me and fingered me, but he never let me reciprocate and told me he didn't want to have penis-in-vagina sex yet because to him that was a large commitment. We go to college in a conservative part of the country, and almost no one here knows. He worried that if I found out, I would expose him to our friends and peers and perhaps even press charges (because we had sex when I did not know he was trans). Had I known, I don't think I would have had sex with Marcus. Before I found out he was trans, I was falling for him. Now, I no longer feel those things and do not know if I can continue dating him. I feel like a small-minded bigot that my romantic feelings are based on something as randomly distributed as a penis. Marcus wants to continue to date and to have sex to see if my feelings can change. I don't think they will. But I've never been in this position before. Am I being a bigot?

No Clever Acronym

"NCA is clearly struggling," said M. Dru Levasseur, a trans activist, attorney and cofounder of the Jim Collins Foundation, which funds gender-confirming surgeries for trans people. But before you dump Marcus — if you dump Marcus — Levasseur recommends exploring your feelings.

"Does NCA not see Marcus as a man now? Is she sure he doesn't have a penis? Trans guys have amazing dicks that are different from cis guys' dicks (surgery or no surgery) — how does she know she won't like it or even prefer it? Is she afraid of social rejection? If she wants to explore this, she could talk to a therapist, read some books, or join a support group online (where she won't risk outing Marcus). Who knows, Marcus could be the best sex and biggest love of her life."

My two cents: You're also struggling with the fact that you had sex — oral and fingering count — with someone you might not have had sex with if you had known this detail in advance. I believe Marcus should have told you he was trans before you hooked up. But messing around with someone you wouldn't have if you had known [insert relevant detail here] is a pretty common experience, and there are far worse forms of nondisclosure. While trans, poly, kinky and poz folks are all pressured to disclose, the world would be a much happier place if abusers, users, assholes and Fox News "personalities" were the ones who had to disclose.

"There is absolutely no legal duty to disclose trans status," added Levasseur. "A person's trans status is ‘excruciatingly private' and constitutionally protected information. There are lots of reasons why trans people might be stealth (or not out) like Marcus — for example, the terrifying rate of violence against trans people or the overwhelming statistics of discrimination. But I think disclosure is a good idea early on because it allows people to love you for who you are. All of you. There are many people out there who think trans men are the ideal guys. Don't waste your time on anyone else."

Let's say you've explored your feelings and decided you don't want to keep seeing Marcus. Does that make you a bigot?

"It's OK to have a preference," said Levasseur. "If trans guys are not her thing, no harm done. I would just hope she is kind when she lets Marcus go. It sounds like he wants to convince her to want him or love him, and no one should be in the business of doing that. Everyone deserves to be loved because, not although."

Levasseur wanted to close with a message to any trans men reading this:

"To the Marcuses of the world who will read NCA's letter and see it as another message of rejection to add to a daily list of transphobia and internalized self-loathing that fuels the staggering trans suicide attempt rate: Don't go there. Trans men deserve to be loved for the amazing men they are. They did not have their masculinity handed to them. They earned it — often through journeys that take unbelievable resilience and courage. And we deserve not to settle for someone who doesn't appreciate our bodies or our histories. Find someone who wants the full you."

Follow M. Dru Levasseur on Twitter @DruLawyer. Learn more about the Jim Collins Foundation at

I'm a 32-year-old pansexual woman. I have recently started seeing a 22-year-old het male. The thing is, he's in a serious (but open) relationship with a 26-year-old woman. He's asked me if I'm into playing around with both of them. I'm into it on principle (who wouldn't want to fuck a girl and a guy at the same time?!?), but I'm not sure if it's a good idea. I don't want to deal with the awkwardness around it, let alone have their relationship suffer (and mine with the guy). What do you suggest?

Toronto Poly Virgin

Who wouldn't want to fuck a girl and a guy at the same time? I wouldn't, as I'm gay, gayer, gayest. But I don't see why you — pan, panner, pannest — wouldn't jump at the chance. (After you've met the other girl in person, established a mutual attraction and negotiated the terms.)

Could this three-way end awkwardly? Of course. But billions of two-ways have ended awkwardly over the centuries, and that didn't stop you from having a two-way with this 22-year-old male, right? The addition of a third person might mean a 50 percent greater chance of someone feeling awkward after the three-way, and that isn't awesome. But there is a 100 percent chance of having a three-way, and that is awesome.

This week on the Lovecast, how to come out as polyamorous to your children:

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