Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Please Sir, I Want More

Like many a dyke, both former and still yet, who came out of New York City in the early 90’s, I was deeply steeped in the S/m (see, I even know how you properly write it, not S&M like straights do, like it’s a root-beer or a grocery store) Body Modification scene. It was just what you did, if you were a dyke of a certain kind (edgy) living in NYC or one of its kazillion neighborhoods, which, if you were a dyke was probably Dyke I mean Park Slope in Brooklyn.

We all did it; we dressed in leather, we beat each other, we had sex parties in dungeons, we frequented clubs at night and in the wee sexy hours. Most of us were bald, and all of us were pierced and tattooed. We play pierced and were suspended with meat hooks; we poured wax in each others ears and on backs; we equestrian or corset trained. Maybe the music scene sucked – I can’t really recall why we were so busy with all this. It took a lot of time and effort, it really did; there were no "capades" in our sex. For something we called "playing," it was very serious business indeed, even and especially if you were an Adult Baby.*

I’ve been holding up shooting testosterone to an old lit candle, and scrutinizing it through this lens of body modification/Sm. I cannot help but notice that to transition is to undertake an extreme form of body mod, and for some must, I insist, must, transect some pretty intense fetishes. There’s a whole (old) school out there that posits that transsexuals are mere fetishists; that to transition to another gender is the ultimate in paraphilia. Transwomen are men with a female fetish, or a vagina fetish, or a femininity fetish, or all of the above. Those of us who know transwomen who are not stereotypically feminine, who have found themselves, finally, in transitioning, understand what a crock of shit this is. Nonetheless, as a sex-positive pervert, genderqueer transsomething with an enquiring mind, I will speculate all the same.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just old age; my desire for a lot of props and pain has ebbed considerably. To live this life unadulterated means being exposed to a lot of emotional pain, both internally and ex. Living as trans means, for me anyway, existing with a fairly consistent thrum of emotional rawness as my brain and body mutate in unimagined ways. These mutations challenge my very sanity sometimes, as I watch my face expand and grow heavy, my torso square, my moods darken then elate. So who needs a flogger?

Is transitioning some next-level body mod? Shit, I’ve done all the tattooing, the piercing, the cutting – I would’ve gotten into corset training except it was too girl. I’ve heard that people shoot T into their nethers to enlarge them – women, I’m talking about here – as a form of body mod. Is this just the next, natural evolution for a guy like me, a guy who found at one point, some peace and even spirituality in the specialized endurance rituals of sadomasochism?

I find the whole idea exhausting. I’m thinking maybe I needed all that hardcore sex to get out of my head, to escape this body that betrayed me. I still catch myself thinking, when I see my tattooed arms, that I wouldn’t have needed to do all that if I’d been born a boy.

But I wasn’t, and I’m not.

What’s your freak trip? What’s its meaning for you, and what does it semaphore? Do you have one? C’mon, you know you do. I can share with you that transitioning does not give me a sexual thrill, some gender frisson, but I’ll also share with you that certain formal actions I regard as definitively male do. Butch dykes know what I’m talking about, like when their ladies tell them to take out the garbage. Strict gender interpretations can be highly sexualized, especially for those of us for whom they were remote, or even forbidden.

Is altering one’s gender a form of body mod? I reckon it is. Will there be a magazine devoted to it, like for piercings or goth girls? Hell, there probably is. But now we’re talking the commodification of sexuality, which must, in this Capitalist kingdom, bleed into gender as well. You know, as a tattooist, it used to gall me that people went out and got a full sleeve, all at once. A sleeve, where I come from, was something you acquired over time that had meaning and personal symbolism - it wasn’t a fucking fashion statement. Somehow, although God knows trannies make it look fucking hot, I don’t think we’ll be seeing all the kids doing it.

*a teendom of being forced to wear sanitary bricks, which are just period diapers, told me this particular perv wasn't for me.

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