I am a gay man who is friends with a Trans Man who I like very much and find attractive. We've made out a couple of times but it's never gone any further. Recently he let me know that he wants to take our relationship to the next level. The problem is that, although he is definitely a man, he hasn't fully transitioned and still has a vagina. I don't want to hurt his feelings or lose him as a friend, but I have to admit that's a problem for me -- I'm into d--k. I feel like a bigot or something but it's just too big of a hurdle. Any advice? Anon.
You're not a bigot, you're just a gay guy who knows what he wants. Just as you respect your friend for being true to himself, you have a right to be true to yourself as well. [For the record a Trans Man is someone who was born biologically female but is male inside, and undergoes various procedures to look as masculine on the outside as he is on the inside. Unfortunately, many Trans Men cannot afford an artificial penis and when they can are disappointed with the way it looks. Therefore many retain female sexual organs.]
Trans Men, be they straight or gay, are in a difficult position because -- like it or not, and don't anybody kill the messenger -- a man with a vagina is still considered pretty exotic if not downright weird in our culture, even in the gay community. That perception will undoubtedly change over time. Also, while the public has known of male-to-female sex changes since the days of Christine Jorgenson, the opposite is not as well-known, which also will change over time. Gay men don't have a "fear of the vagina" as some have charged (an outdated, rather homophobic notion, in fact) they just have a disinterest in it -- it's not a turn-on. The same for straight women. Even bisexual individuals may not be attracted to a person who combines the characteristics of both sexes.
Some gay Trans Men find lovers in the edgier or "kinkier" members of the gay male community (or with each other). Yes, it sounds terrible, but that is how some have put it, and how some see sex with a man with a vagina. There's no point beating yourself up because you're not as -- for lack of a better word -- "kinky" as some.
If you were madly in love with this man, you might be able to overcome all obstacles (straight women have, on occasion, stayed with husbands who transition, for instance) -- but maybe not. It's likely that you would have a problem even with an "ordinary" man who for one reason or another lacked a male sex organ or had impotency problems. That doesn't make you prejudiced against Trans Men or anyone else. Just as the fact that you don't want to have sex with women who have vaginas doesn't make you a sexist.
My advice is to gently tell your friend how you feel. Assure him that you can give him friendship and love of the platonic variety. Don't lead him on by making out with him, even if you want to -- that's just not fair. He's got to know that it will not lead to anything of a lasting nature, or even to a hot sexual episode.
Be this guy's friend. If he's in love with you, it will be very difficult for him, and he may need to cut you out of his life to get over you. But maybe his feelings aren't that intense. Hopefully he will understand how you feel and you can continue to have a cherished friendship.