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Love across Genders

Love Across Genders – Idan and Max

Idan Sagiv Richter is a writer, dancer and director who has written with great honesty and passion about his personal experiences. Idan has written Love Across Genders for the ROMEO audience. In this blog post, he explores his’s perspective on trans culture and reveals some intimate parts of his relationship with his trans partner, Max.

Love across Genders

CockSure

It all began with a porn film. I was 19, and I was working at an LGBT film festival that screened adult films every night at midnight. When a colleague and I came out of the theatre, 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 had discovered a very vivid local queer and trans scene. A friend and I started a gender-bending queer-empowering band named “Peanut Envy”, poking at the old Freudian term, ‘Penis Envy’. At one of our performances, in Amsterdam, I met Max, who two years ago became my husband. He had scruff, flaunted big tattooed arms and wore a lot of purple. I had an instant crush on him.

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 had recently come out to my parents and siblings. I was very proud of him and even prouder of my family that really surprised me with the maturity and sensibility in which they responded. 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, with the 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

The bit about 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 have never even heard that trans guys exist), or 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 not intentionally, which 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 with 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 I show Max these lines, he chuckles and says: but did you also tell them about the good experiences we had? 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 three times, no less: 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

The bit about 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 with a fun T-shirt saying “Give trans guys a chance!”. My purpose in writing these lines is to share with you from my own life experience the benefits of valuing diversity. I wish to suggest that you give yourself a chance, to find love, intimacy, and friendship, with people with whom you may have not previously expected to find that with.

The last but most important takeaway here is: learn how to be an ally to trans people. Speak up for social change and for equal rights. Take time to get informed about things you don’t know. 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 simple, short- form “trans”. Ask people about their sexual preferences, don’t just think “if he doesn’t have a dick then he must be a bottom.” And, about their 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 Max 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.

Photo Credits

Photographers Mad Fox, Ron Helbig and Claudia Kent.

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