I often get asked a lot of questions related to trans issues or my own personal transition. As a public spokesperson and activist for many years, it’s something I do on a daily basis in one way or another. I’ve gotten questions ranging from if I like cheese to whether I get wet enough to have sex without lubrication or not.
When I first started about my transition, I happily answered everyone’s questions because I truly do believe that educating is the key to fighting ignorance and prejudice. I never denied answering any of these questions. And I still answer most of them. I’ve told thousands and thousands of people on live TV and in interviews in several countries what my birth name was, when I had surgeries and what kind, how I have sex, how my genitals work, whether I get wet enough or not, what it’s like to have an orgasm with a penis and with a vagina, who I’m attracted to, what bathroom I use, how I hid my genitals when I went swimming prior to having genital surgery, when I had genital surgery, whether it hurt or not, why I had it, whether I’m sure I’m not just gay, whether people can see pictures of me prior to my transition, whether I hated my body and so on and so on. I was even on TV two days after I had my genital surgery talking about how fucking great it was (which was just the morphine still working).
You see, the thing about questions is that you don’t always deserve an answer. Especially not if your questions are degrading, inappropriate or too personal. What most of the question I get have in common is that they are all related to my body, identity, my looks or my experience of my body. They are all related to who I am as a person or how or who I was “before” (secret answer: I’m still the same person – just a lot happier and I don’t want to kill myself anymore). Because this is what people are mostly interested in when it comes down to trans people. People are constantly diminishing trans people to their bodies, their genitals and their looks. People are honestly more obsessed about my body and my genitals than I am. No one talks as much about my body and my genitals as some random ass people I don’t even know. If people were really concerned about issues related to trans people, they would ask me questions about the situation of trans people, what still needs to be done and how they can help. But no one really cares about that. They just wanna know if I can squirt or not.
With time, these questions become tedious. They become a repetition and a constant reminder of how no one really cares and all they want to know are superficial shit about my body and identity that won’t actually change anything for trans people. All it does is satisfy their curiosity about me as a subject; a body for display.
I recognise that these questions and things people want to know is a process and sometimes an important part of learning for some. Sometimes people just want to relate to me or are genuinely interested in these things. Most of the time I am fine with answering them because most of the time I am in the role of an educator. I am there to educate you and I am here to help you understand. But that doesn’t mean I am obliged to answer these questions. It doesn’t mean that you get to be hurt I didn’t want to answer your questions or that I thought your question was stupid. Because sometimes these questions are simply stupid. Such as the constant question of whether I am not just really a gay man. I mean, honestly. Does anyone actually expect me to answer that question constructively? Because there is absolutely nothing constructive, respectful or logical about that questions. Absolutely nothing.
The way trans people deal with those questions is their own personal choice. Some trans people decide to try and answer all questions in hope that it will actually do some good. But some trans people have no interest in sharing personal things about their bodies or identities with complete strangers. Some trans people pick and choose questions they feel comfortable with answering and sometimes it depends on the context or situation whether trans people answer them or not.
The thing is that you can easily find the answer to these questions elsewhere if someone doesn’t want to humor you. The internet has an endless source of knowledge, articles, videos and people talking about these things. In the age we live in, knowledge is not something hard to come by and I urge all of you to think about the questions you ask, where you are, who you are asking and why. Because I can assure you, these questions are constant. Every single day. I literally have a document in my computer with generic answers to all of your questions. Because it’s that predictable. Ask yourselves whether you would be comfortable answering such questions. I also urge you to take it further than just ask questions – be curious, care about these issues and see how you can help. Educate yourselves and help educate others. Because we need allies in this fight and you might just be that ally if you care enough.
Pro-tip: Please take a look at my TEDx talk that focuses on how the categories of sex and gender are constricting and harmful to our society: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NHV4Az-EzY
P.s. And in case you are wondering about whether I do get wet enough to have sex without lubrication or not – if we are not about to have sex, it’s not really something you need to be concerned about (unless you are a trans person and want to know for future reference, then just totally PM me on Facebook and I’ll give you all of the juicy details… pun intended).