Gay & Lesbian Services of Western New York

Transsexualism: Female to Male

This Info Page will focus on Female to Male Transexuals. As in the “Male to Female Trans” article, the object here is to give a brief overview and point out resources particularly those that exist locally.

When people think of transsexuals they tend to think of male-to-female probably because this group has received more Press and for a longer time and statistically there are more male-to-female trans persons. Of course, you have to question any counting of a largely invisible group that tends not to publically self identify in the first place. Female-to-male transsexuals have been more invisible for many reasons including class issues, pressures from our own GLB communities as well as mainstream society, gender stereotyping and ease (or the lack of) assimilation. The movie, BOYS DON’T CRY for which Hillary Swank won Best Actress for portraying Brandon Teena brought FTM issues out of the shadows and into mainstream consciousness. FTMs may also be somewhat less focused on anatomical change than MTFs giving emphasis as well to socio-cultural issues like what it “means” to be a man. (See for instance the work of author, Kate Bornstein)

There is a wealth of information on the Internet on Transsexuals. The interested reader might go to search engine Google.com and type female to male transsexual into the search field. One listing was very helpful for youth issues, TransBoy Resource Network and FTM International has a lot of information on what to think of and expect in terms of the process of physical/anatomical change.

I should make note that Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are NOT THE SAME. How you identify as male, female or somewhere in between does not of necessity equate with the object of your sexual desire. Many FTMs identify as heterosexual men but others identify as gay, bisexual, nonsexual or asexual (self stimulation). Others identify as pan-sexual or just sexual.

FTMs have in the past tended to isolate even from each other. Realistic fears of being out or outed have been based on harassment, ridicule, beatings and threats of all kinds including being killed. The emotional and psychological toll of this over time can be tremendous and has prevented many FTMs from seeking support and help.

Resources that you should consider taking advantage of:

1. The Trans Page on this website.

2. Attend the monthly GLYS Trans Group (see calendar and time). Facilitated by Kay Patterson and Patti Jones of Spectrum Transgender Group, this can be a small discussion for youth who ID as trans, or a general discussion to increase the awareness and compassion on GLYS’ non-trans youth.

3. Contact Spectrum Transgender Group (contact info on our Trans Page)

4. The Internet. As noted above, Google.com has many pages of sites on this topic. If you are careful to not always hold everything youread as fact you will find a wealth of information including many stories of personal journeys.

5. Books. Luna (recent teen fiction dealing with a young MTF) and Normal (non-fiction)can be obtained at theGLYS Drop-in Center or mailed to you. Other books include: True Selves, Understanding Transexualism – For Families, Friends, Coworkers and Helping Professionals by Mildred Brown & Chloe Rounsley; and Transexuals, Candid Answers to Private Questions by Gerald Ramsey, Ph.D.

6. Talk to an experienced health care professional.

7. The Endocrinology Clicic at Women’s and Children’s Hospital is a good resource on the physical/hormonal side of things.

8. Understand and accept that the process is a long one that begins with your own understanding and acceptance.

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