My sexual history is--not surprisingly--rather eclectic. Since I'm a sexual transgressor myself, I suppose it's natural that I'm attracted to other people who are also transgressive in some way.

That's certainly been part of the appeal of the FTM lovers I've had. "FTM" stands for "female-to-male" transsexual, and refers to women who wish to undergo the medical and legal changes required to become men. This term seems the most formal--more casual terms are trannyboy, or transman, and they mean basically the same thing.

Almost all the FTMs I have known had a masculine look and manner long before they got medical treatment. "Passing," in FTM parlance, means successfully presenting oneself to the world as male. Some FTMs can pass without any hormones or surgery, especially if they bind their chests. It's also common to wear a pants-stuffer of some kind--a rolled sock, or a strap-on dildo, or a custom-made prosthetic. Ironically, the hardest place in Seattle to pass is Capitol Hill: Being a butch lesbian is definitely not the same as being an FTM, but the visibility of butch lesbians in this neighborhood means that someone with short hair and men's clothes doesn't automatically read as "male."

For FTMs who pursue medical treatment, the first step is usually getting physician-prescribed testosterone injections. I've known a number of FTMs both before and after they started testosterone, and the hormone's effects are dramatic. Within months, their voices changed and they grew facial hair. Within a year, their bodies' fat/muscle distribution shifted to more masculine shapes. Their skin texture and the contours of their faces changed. They smelled and tasted different. Their appearances were distinctly male.

Some FTMs never have surgery. Those who do frequently choose to first have their breasts removed by a surgeon, who then constructs a masculine-looking chest. Some have hysterectomies. There are some surgical techniques to construct a penis, but they are not always successful. Few FTMs attempt this--the guys I know feel they can have a satisfying sex life without it.

Want more info? Try the Ingersoll Gender Center ( American Boyz, a nationwide FTM support organization ( Also read Transmen and FTMs, by local author Jason Cromwell.