ROMEO

Love Across Genders – Idàn and Max

Idàn Sagiv Richter is a life coach, performer, and filmmaker who writes with great honesty and passion about sex, love, and community, in his personal E-zine, ‘Loverships.’ Idàn has written Love Across Genders for the ROMEO audience. In this blog post, he presents his perspective on trans-cis relationships and reveals some intimate parts of his relationship with his husband, Max.

Love across Genders
Idàn Sagiv Richter

CockSure

It all began with a porn film. I was 19 and working at an LGBT film festival that screened adult films every night at midnight. When a colleague and I came out of the theater, after watching a full-length porn starring exclusively trans guys, he sighed and said: “I’ve never felt so happy about having a dick in my life as I am now”. I frowned. That was the first time I heard a cisgender gay man talk about trans guys. Little did I know that this experience would be the beginning of a life-changing dialogue for me.


Related: Femme is Sexy


Crush at First Sight

Years later when I moved to Berlin, I discovered a very vivid local queer and trans scene. A friend and I started a gender-bending, queer-empowering band named ‘Peanut Envy,’ poking fun at the old Freudian term. At one of our performances in Amsterdam, I met Max. He had scruff, flaunted big tattooed arms and wore a lot of purple. I had an instant crush on him. We married two years ago.

Love across Genders
Image by Ron Helbig

The personal bit about Max and I

In our five years together, so far I’ve seen him coming out – as a trans guy – countless times. After years of knowing my family, he has recently come out to my parents and siblings. I was very proud of him and also very proud of my family that responded with maturity and sensibility. To be honest, until that point there was never really an occasion to share that information. And then one day, much to our surprise, such an occasion came up. When we told my family about our wish to become fathers, my family asked,”Whose sperm is it going to be?” We looked at each other and smiled.

Attraction and Desire

As a sex-positive couple with an innate curiosity for other people – or in other words, horny – we occasionally look for rich sexual encounters with a third sexual partner. When it’s a face-to-face type of situation, say at a sauna, there is a certain choreography to it – looking, and smiling, and eventually talking. Attraction and desire are the main ingredients here. We’re all curious about each other (and we’re all getting wet down there). And then comes the moment of truth, the necessary coming out moment.

Love Across Genders
Image by Claudia Kent

coming out to cis gay guys

Some guys respond with an ear-to-ear smile, which is usually followed up by an animated locomotive dance to a cozy place, where we can get hot and heavy. We had some really beautiful experiences with really awesome guys.

Some guys respond less than ideally, acting all weirded out. They either don’t get it (some don’t even know that trans guys exist), they look confused, or they are totally overwhelmed. It’s as if the cat’s got their tongue; they laugh nervously, or start rambling.

And some guys say the most unfortunate, unreflected and hurtful things. In most cases, it’s not intentional, but that doesn’t make it any better. Rejection sucks when you’re on the receiving end – everyone knows that – but when it comes with -isms and phobias, that can be really traumatizing.


 

Transphobia

Some people think they are being supportive by saying stuff, like “I would have never suspected.” Similarly, statements like “trans guys are so hot” are generalizing and objectifying.

But, what really breaks my heart are some outright transphobic messages, like the ones that misgender and the ones that say “you don’t belong here.” Just like homophobia, acts of transphobia are criminal behavior – hate crimes. So, coming from cis gay guys makes it worse, because we should know better. This just goes to show how much more educational work still needs to be done.

When Max reads these lines, he chuckles and says, “The good experiences can be very powerful yet somehow the bad ones stay with you longer.”  No matter how other people respond, every time Max comes out to someone it moves me. It also inspires me a lot – it takes real courage to do that. Max came out to his family and friends no less than three times: first, as a lesbian, then as trans, and finally as a gay guy. I feel proud of him.

Love Across Genders
Image by Claudia Kent

being an ally to trans people

There is a worldwide flourishing and vibrant trans gay guys’ community. Gay couples of cis and trans guys live and thrive. We date, fuck, fall in love and form meaningful relationships (not necessarily in that order!). Some of us get married and raise children together.

I once saw a guy at a queer music show wearing a fun T-shirt saying, “Give trans guys a chance!” My purpose in writing these lines is to share with you my life experience and the benefits of valuing diversity. I suggest you give yourself a chance to find love, intimacy, and friendship in unexpected places and with unexpected people.

The last, but most important takeaway is: learn how to be an ally to trans people. That means speak up for social change and for equal rights. Take time to become informed. Educate yourself and don’t expect trans people to teach you. Reflect on what things you might say or do, that may be judgmental and observe where it’s coming from.

Love across Genders
Image by Ron Helbig

Polite Curiosity is good

Clear communication is a great way to avoid making assumptions about others. Ask people what pronouns they use and how they identify themselves. When in doubt, use the short- form ‘trans.’ Ask people about their sexual preferences. Don’t think ‘if he doesn’t have a dick then he must be a bottom.’ Regarding sexual desires, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, ask ‘How can I make this pleasurable for you?’

Love across Genders
Image by MAD FOX

Useful Terms

Trans or transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assumed sex at birth.

Cisgender, often shortened to simply cis, is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were given at birth.

FTM – short for Female-to-Male, indicates a Trans Man. Their sex assigned at birth was female and their actual gender identity is male. MTF is short for Male-to-Female, indicating a Trans Woman.

Photo Credits

Photographers MAD FOX, Ron Helbig and Claudia Kent.

Got a Story you’d like to share?

Send your story to social@planetromeo.com.

Other Stories

Keeping Up Appearances

Keeping Up Appearances

VideoChat: Face-to-Face

Did you know you can use VideoChat on the ROMEO app?

VideoChat on the ROMEO app

End Note
We’re always looking for new opinion pieces; it’s a chance for you to have your voice heard, and to read other points of view. We’re happy to present some open editorials here to stimulate thought or initiate a conversation, but just because we share something, doesn’t always mean we agree with it; more that we think it’s worth thinking about. Topics like gay culture, food, fashion, sport, music, human rights, dating, sex, and anything else you get up to, that’s what we’re looking for.