New Year’s Eve was a blast.
“Van” and I went Baltimore gay bar hopping, bringing the New Year in at The Drinkery, taking in some House Music at Ziaskos Bar & Lounge, meeting up with buddy “Teddy” outside Club Bunns, and wrapping up the night at the Gallery Bar and Restaurant.
Everyone smiling, wishing strangers a Happy New Year, and wearing party hats and tooting horns.
At the Gallery Teddy introduced us to his friend “Victor,” a tall, light-skinned, 40-something black man who is a dead ringer of Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers.
I was a tipsy from two glasses of white wine, a glass of champagne and a spicy clove cigarette. So I was a bit more forward than I usually am.
“Victor, you are handsome guy. Are you single?”
“Yep, I sure am but looking.”
“Well, what are you looking for?”
“Well, I like women…and women with a little something extra.”
I sobered up a bit. We were in a gay bar and I had seen Victor before in other gay bars. What did he mean by he was looking for a woman? He was in the wrong place.
Then it hit me. Ohhh. Wow I can be dense sometimes. By women with a little extra Victor meant transgendered.
“You like transgendered women,” I asked.
“Yeah,” Victor said, smiling sheepishly.
Baltimore has plenty of people who are transgendered. I see them in clubs. On the streets. But I never really talked to one.
Often I notice they are in the company of handsome, very masculine men. But I had never had an opportunity to talk to a man who was open about his attraction to a transgendered person.
I wasn’t going to pass up this chance to talk to one. Victor went over to the buffet table and brought back a plate full of fried chicken wings to share. I took one and started asking questions.
The first: what attracted him to trans women?
Victor explained that he liked very feminine transgendered women who are passable.
What intrigued him about them is that a transgendered person was like having the best of both worlds — a best male buddy and girlfriend all rolled into one.
“So, I have to ask. Do they do you or are you doing them?”
“Immanuel, I’m a total top. I fuck them.”
“So your ideal transgendered woman is somebody like Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black?”
“Oh yeah, she is beautiful,” Victor said. “I like the ones who dress like women all the time. Not some deep-voiced guy who likes to do drag from time to time.”
Teddy later told me he had once dated a guy who was a drag queen and was into drag pageants. Teddy prefers more masculine men and broke up when this man began dressing more as a woman in everyday life.
But during the time Teddy dated him Victor would hang out with them and use that connection to meet transgendered women.
“I think all his talk about preferring women and transgendered girls is bull,” Teddy said. “I think he is really gay and likes men but won’t own up to it. By dating women and transgendered women he can hide that.”
Victor did admit he never took transgendered people around his mother or family — only women he dated who were biologically female.
However, there are men in the gay community who prefer transgendered people, although their voice in the gay rights movement is silent. Author and transgender activist Janet Mock even wrote this article about how society shames men attracted to trans women.
This societal attitude has devastating effects on trans women. Mock explained:
This pervasive ideology says that trans women are shameful, that trans women are not worthy of being seen and that trans women must remain a secret — invisible and disposable. If a man dares to be seen with a trans woman, he will likely lose social capital so he must adamantly deny, vehemently demean, trash and/or exterminate the woman in question.
So I think Teddy was wrong. Victor knew what he liked and was not afraid to tell that to a stranger in a bar in the opening hours of the first day of 2015.
“Hey, I wish you luck with dating this year,” I told Victor. “You seem to know what you want. And if I meet a transgendered woman who I think you might like I will introduce you. I think you are a cool dude.”
Victor smiled. “Thanks man.”