I anticipate the frequency with which this question will be raised. Just like I recognize the default reaction to first hearing my name is “What does [my name] mean?”
I’d be lying if I said that I had not put thought into naming this blog. In fact, I thought about it long and hard; I chose “The Other Gentleman” because it is expressive of feelings and thoughts others have elicited in regards to my gender identity.
In a nutshell the (negative) rhetoric I’ve received around being a transgender man is “You’re not a real man”. Like, oh, okay, just unapologetically assault my gender identity why don’t you? But don’t stop there, while you’re at it, why don’t you tell me that I’m not human as well and that I’m not deserving of dignity and respect either? Some might say that I’m reinforcing the negative comments I’ve been unfortunate to receive, but I believe that in acknowledging that I am indeed a different kind of man with a very unique form of masculinity is a positive move.
That is what “The Other Gentleman” is about; a different kind of man with a masculinity that he defines; distinguished by his experiences and the strength of his character. A man who believes in equality of the sexes but sees opening the door for a woman as simply the polite thing to do. A man who takes pride in his appearance and is cognizant that dressing well is a form of good manners. A man of integrity who lives in accordance with his principles whatever they may be.
I am aware that our versions of “masculinity” may not conform to the one defined by society as “normal”, but that does not render us less masculine or invalidate our identity as men. We may not ever be received by the wider society as men of equal “manliness” to cisgender men and while that is discouraging, we should do our utmost best to not let that affect us. It is afterall, hard to swim against the tide of societal convention, but regardless of how difficult it is, we should remain true to our authentic selves; and for that, persons will always toss us into the “Other” category. But who said that that is a bad thing?