This interview has been a long time coming, being a topic that they gay world, and the world in general, is very slowly getting exposed to but still very ingnorant of. When the opportunity arose to do an interview with a female to male transexual it was not going to be passed up.

As an introduction (try and keep up here) Brosh Matthews was born a girl, and was a lesbian, is now living as a man, a gay man, but in a relationship with a woman. Got that? Right, here’s the interview. You’ll find it fascinating and informative and Brosh’s candid answers are very much appreciated.

How old are you? 27

How old were you when you realised that something was different?
I never sat very comfortably in my female body, and used to resist pretty strongly all the female-gendered things (like clothing) that were imposed on me as a kid. However it wasn’t really until I was 22 that I actually put all the pieces together and realised that what I was feeling was because I was trans and there was something I could do about that. The big ‘light bulb’ moment came for me when I had to have emergency surgery because of a problem with an ovary, and afterwards, I found myself telling everyone that it had been my appendix. I was like – why am I telling everyone it’s my appendix? And then it suddenly dawned on me that it was because I was kind of in denial that I actually had ovaries, and then suddenly a whole lot of stuff made sense.

Is there any way you can describe the feeling to us of being a boy in a girl’s body?
Not easily! I suppose if you and your readers stop to think about it – you all just ‘know’ what sex (male or female or something else) you are. It’s instinctive. So in my case, I just knew I was male in the same way. But then what happened for me, of course, is that they way I understood myself to be,  the person I saw myself to be, did not match up with the way everyone else saw and treated me (ie they treated me as a woman, because that’s how I looked). I guess – imagine if you were regular height, but everyone treated you like you were a dwarf, or if you were fully mobile, but everyone treated you like you were in a wheelchair – it’s just weird, it doesn’t match up with how you see yourself in the world. But then of course there’s that extra layer, that when you actually look at your body, that doesn’t match up with what you expect to see either. So there bits there that just feel like they shouldn’t be, and there’s other bits that feel like they’re missing. So you do what you can to to make your body match with how you feel – and the result it that everyone else begins to see and treat you the same way you see yourself and so that weird ‘mis-match’ gets better and (by and large) goes away. (Told you that wasn’t easy to answer!)

How old were you when you started living as a man?
I started transitioning to being male when I was 22. I was already dressing pretty androgynously, and then as the tesosterone started causing physical changes I changed my name, dressed more masculinely and started behaving in social settings as a man (stuff like which toilets I went into!) to match the changes.

You don’t have a penis do you?
Not in the conventional sense. Taking testosterone causes what was the clit to grow quite a lot, and I think of that  now very much as being my cock. What I’ve got actually looks like quite like a regular penis, but it’s teeny-tiny.

Is that a personal choice or has medical science not yet perfected the art of building one?
Basically, there are two types of surgeries available to construct a penis – a metoidoplasty (or meta) and a phalloplasty (or phallo).  You can’t get either of them in Australia, you have to go overseas.The meta surgery costs around $15k. It involves removing the girl bits, adding balls, and tries to accentuate the growth. Some surgeons will also extend the urethra so that you can pee standing up. It still means that you have a tiny cock that you can’t really use, but it gets rid of the female parts and keeps sensation in the cock. The phallo costs more like $100k and involves 3 or 4 seperate, really major surgeries (provided there’s no complications). A phallo removes the girl bits, creates balls, a ndfull sized cock (usually by taking a big graft of flesh from the forearm, belly or thigh)  which, depending on the surgeon, you  might be able to pee out of. The penis can’t get erect and in many cases there can be limited to no feeling in the penis. It also, in my opinion, doesn’t look very realistic. Some guys get one of these surgeries done because they are just too uncomfortable with having non-standard equipment. For me, I like sex, and so I’m not willing to risk equipment that works just fine and enables me to come, for equipment that might not work and the risk that I might not be able to come again or as easily in the future.

If it were possible and a more successful procedure, would you have it done?
Definitely. If surgery could deliver me a cock that looked realistic and had guaranteed sexual sensation in it, then I’d be lining up to get it done, never mind the cost or the pain. I hope medical science works it out in my lifetime, but if they don’t, then I’ll just live with what I’ve got. It’s taken a while but I’ve learnt to be comfortable with my body as it is, and have found that most people aren’t too worried about my equipment either.

How do your family cope with their little girl becoming a man?
They don’t really. My family are very strict Christians, so with the exception of my sister, who is a lesbian, none of my family have anything to do with me. Most families kind of go through a sort of grief – they feel like they’re losing their child/sibling/etc, but in many cases they work through that and see that the person they love hasn’t ‘gone’ anywhere and is in fact happier now. In my particular situation it’s complicated because of my family’s strict religious beliefs.

Is it safe to assume you have lost friends because of your choice to follow your true gender identity
Nope. I haven’t lost a single friend over it. All of my mates have been nothing but supportive – it doesn’t matter if they’ve been gay, lesbian or straight. Some of them have had plenty of questions, but they like me the person, and then can see that I am much happier and more confident as a person in my ‘new’ body.

You are now living as a gay man, does that mean you have always been attracted to men?
Nope. It’s a funny thing – before transitioning I was a lesbian. I’d never had sex with a man, only women. After being on testosterone for about a year, I suddenly discovered I was sexually attracted to men. It was a bit daunting have sex with a guy for the first time at the ripe old age of 23. I don’t know why the change happened – it might have been the effect of testosterone on my brain, maybe i’m kind of hired to be ‘same-sex attracted’, so that as my sex changed, so did my attaction, I have no idea. But I just went with it, I’m pretty open minded. It’s something that happens to quite a few trans guys actually, they go from being lesbian women to gay men. Personally, I call myself queer – I am mostly attracted to men, but still hook up with women too.

What is the percentage of people living with gender confusion?
There’s probably quite a lot of people who feel a bit confused about the gender. But if you mean how many trans people are there in the world, the answer is that there’s lots. There’s been a bit of research into this area and estimates vary from 1 in every 30, 000 to 1 in every 2,500 people.

Buck Angel has been a fairly visible face of female to male gender reassignment, as has Chaz Bono (formerly Chastity). Do you believe they are good role models or publicity for the community?
Yep, I do. When I look at the gay rights movement, it started with visibility. With more people coming out as gay and lesbian and being willing to talk about stuff. As visibility went up, people’s ignorance (generally) went down and over time we’ve seen greater equality for gay and lesbian people. Trans people still face a massive amount of ignorance and discrimination, and mostly I think that’s because there hasn’t been much visibility around trans people. It’s one of the key reasons that I’ve chosen to be out about being trans, and it’s a reason that I think the visibility that comes from both Chaz and Buck is a good thing. I’m particularly grateful that Buck has shown both trans guys and the wider world that it’s perfectly okay to be a man with non-standard equipment – and enjoy using it. Buck is also pretty good at getting health messages out to transguys and educating gay men about sex with transguys, and I think that’s pretty helpful.

Chaz Bono has now completed his transition and the media spoke of surgery. Can you please describe to us the steps needed to go from being female to male if constructing a penis is not routinely part of the transition?
Almost all transguys will, at the very minimum take testosterone. It’s usually a jab in the arse once a fortnight or so, and the magical little hormone does a lot of stuff – changes your body and head shape, makes your voice drop, changes the way you smell and the texture of your skin, makes you get hairy and/or bald depending on your genetics, speeds up your metabolism, makes you more horny – does most of those things that makes men, men. Most transguys will also have chest surgery – get rid of any chest development that has happened and reconstruct the chest to a masculine shape. A few guys will also have surgery to get rid of their uterus and ovaries – for a lot of other guys though this is no big deal because testosterone stops them from working.

As a man, living with a vagina, do you wonder/fantasize about what it’s like to penetrate someone instead of be penetrated?
Absolutely. Sometimes I have sex using a strap-on cock, and fucking someone like that feels really ‘right’, whilst at the same time being kind of frustrating because it’s not ‘me.’ My tiny cock is big enough for me to get sucked off, too, and so again, that feels really right and makes me think about what it’d be like to have a full sized cock to use. This is probably a good time to point out that just because a transguy doesn’t have a cock, doesn’t mean that he’s going to be a bottom. There are plenty of guys  (straight or gay) around that are tops, that don’t like being penetrated, and in some cases, who won’t use their equipment at all because it feels too weird for them as men.

How do you personally deal with seeing someone new and explaining your situation to them?
I’m assuming there would be a fair percentage of guys that are not comfortable with it. Disclosure is always a tricky thing, I’ve had some interesting discussions with poz guys who have to deal with a similar problem. When do you disclose to someone? How do you do it? In some ways I really like stuff like Grindr and online hook up sites, because I can put it straight up there on my profile and if guys don’t like it then they can just ignore me. It’s actually trickier in person, because I don’t really want to start straight out with ‘hi, my name is and i’m trans’.. but working out the timing is difficult. Certainly it’s a conversation that needs to be had pre getting naked, but then do you do it before any snogging happens? Only when you’re about to go home/into a toilet cubicle? When? I don’t have a stock answer, I play it on a case by case basis. On my online profiles I say that I’m a transguy and tell people to check out Buck Angel if they don’t know what that means – that’s easy. In person, I usually say something like ‘hey, so you should probably know that I’m a transguy.. if we start fooling around you’re going to find that i’ve got some non-standard equipment and I just wanted to let you know.’ I’ve actually never had a negative reaction in my life. Sure, some guys have said, no thanks, not for me, but they’ve always been pretty polite about it. I don’t take offence – everyone has their own tastes – height, weight, hair, whatever, so I’m relaxed if what I’ve got is not for everyone. There will always be someone else who is into it or at least willing to give it a try. And some guys are really, really into it (lucky for me).

Do you have any other messages you’d like to pass on or misconceptions you’d like to clear up?
The only one that immediately jumps into my head is don’t assume a transguy is a bottom just because he doesn’t have a penis!  Actually just don’t assume anything about a transguy (or girl) – ask. We’re all different.