Lovers. Submission. Please.

Heya, this is Lia Incognita! I’m one of the three guest editors for DUDE 3: Lovers. DUDE is usually made by trans guys but for this issue we also welcome work produced by their lovers or others about sex and relationships. Submissions close at the end of May and we need more!

Who are you?

Well, I’m part of the anti-racist, anti-sexist queer performance trio, the Ladies of Colour Agency, so there’s my credentials for being a third of something. I also write for Asian-Australian arts and culture magazine, Peril, and (with Max Attitude) at queer hanky code blog flagging opinicus rampant, and I’ve been an associate editor at The Scavenger.

More generally, I’m stubborn, ambivalent, greedy and righteous as you might expect from a pansexual polyamorous agnostic switch type, mega lazy, mega ambitious (like finger in every pie but delivered to bed please) and a little bit bossy. Also I’m a cissexual woman but in print I prefer gender-neutral pronouns such as ey/em/eir.

What do you want?

Your submission! And I want it to be pithy, intimate, detailed and unique. I think the strongest submissions I’ve read so far have been the ones that have a small focus, fleshed out to fullness. Don’t try to represent all trans guys or lovers because the magazine gets repetitive quickly if the submissions are all general and abstract. I mean, you can go abstract, go deep into thoughts and feelings and ideologies, but anchor it in your experiences. You don’t need to be a writer. Just tell your own story – and not your whole life story but the meatiest parts. A remark that you mulled over for days. A glance that made your heartbeat boom. The aftershocks through your sense of self. Yeah?

Can you be more specific? 

Sure. I’ve been mostly looking at the text submissions, maybe Nyx can talk later about what we’d like to see in image submissions. We’d be interested in advice columns & how to guides, eg how to come out to your family about your partner transitioning. We’re taking letters to the editor on the previous issue too, and we might even take personals ads! (I’ll talk about that more later.) We’ll take fiction and erotica, as long as it also touches on some ideas and issues too. And of course you can submit anonymously or under a pseudonym.

Some suggested topics:

  • sex, especially in relation to changing bodies/identity, ‘gender dysphoria’
  • how transitioning affects or affected your relationship (positive/negative)
  • anxieties around a lover’s hormone use, surgery, body
  • peer and cultural pressures: passing, not passing, visibility
  • disclosure – yours / managing a partner’s
  • scene politics, whether queer, gay, lesbian, straight – hierarchies of who belongs, who’s the coolest
  • parenting / pregnancy
  • marriage
  • have you left a transitioning lover? We would really like to hear stories of transition break ups – what went wrong?
But we’re open to all submissions, not just on these topics. Feel free to run ideas by us, we’re happy to talk about your submission even if you haven’t yet written a draft. Email dudemag.special[at] or chat to us on the Facebook event here. I’ll post more ideas and topics next week. Submission guidelines are here.

x Lia Incognita

James Darling EXTENDED interview

James Darling is the dreamy boy next door you wished you had kissed behind the shed. James is a trans queer porn actor and sex educator. Jez met up with James in San Francisco and amongst the tom foolery there was just enough time for a quickie.

Jez: How did you get into the porn industry?

James: When I moved to San Francisco I got an opportunity to do a scene with a person I was dating at the time for Crash Pad. What could be better? I just moved to a new city and I’m going to get paid to fuck my lover! That was my first taste of queer porn and I loved it.

If Buck Angel didn’t exist, I would not have gotten as far as I have with porn. I think there would still be indy productions happening, like XX Boys by Kael T Block and Body Alchemy by Loren Cameron for example. Those are some of the first things that put trans men out there as sexual beings.

Is the queer porn scene diverse?

There is absolutely way more diversity in queer porn but there definitely needs to be more people of colour and more people of size in queer porn because it is predominantly white thin bodies, but I know the producers are trying really hard to do that and a lot of it has do with who turns up for auditions. These films are coming out of the producers pockets, they aren’t huge productions like what you see in LA.

We have the same issue with achieving diversity with DUDE MAGAZINE, we rely on the submissions to help us maintain diversity and we actively seek that out. Why do you think this happens in our community?

I think a lot of it has to do with how society values different bodies. I hear this a lot with queer play parties like ‘oh we have trans women show up’ and I think a lot of it is about creating an environment where these people will feel comfortable coming and if you are getting messages from everywhere in society telling you that you are not as desirable then it is harder to apply or send out a photo because then you get rejected and you don’t want to be rejected by people in your community or people within your queer family. It’s a really complicated issue to try and have diverse representation but to do it in a way that is not tokenising.

by James Darling. Courtesy of the artist.

People who have been in the lime light for years like Buck Angel and Loren Cameron, they obviously work hard in the gym, they are muscular men and in the eye of the public it might click with them to see a ‘typical’ man and this further cements a stereotype of what’s ‘hot’. This makes it harder for trans guys who don’t want to be in the gym 7 days a week, people who are still beautiful and attractive, like yourself who has more of the boyish look going on. What is that like for you?

It has been interesting, the ways I get received. I am so amazed at how many messages I get from people who are so happy to see a different kind of body. I mean my body is still very privileged in the western world, I am thin and I am white and I pass almost all the time, but I am also kinda feminine and sometimes butch it up. I am pretty sparkly and fabulous and gay and some people don’t know how to handle that.

I certainly could have used more empowering images of transexuality when I was younger and I am very honoured to be a part of that [now].

How would you describe yourself behind the scenes?

Oh I am totally shy and awkward! Some people when they meet me are really surprised, in my day to day life I am a pretty quiet dude.

We were just at the Folsom Street Fair Fetish Festival like two days ago, how was your time there?

I feel really lucky when I’m in SF because a lot of men have some knowledge of trans guys and some random men can fondle me on the dance floor and it’s fun, but I have to let them know at some point that I’m trans and guys out here mostly respond really positively. Guys will be respectful and be either ‘That’s hot’ or ‘Sorry that’s not my thing’.

Most trans guys fall into two categories, some won’t care and just wanna fuck and some don’t want their trans status to be a part of the equation. For me I would rather it not be an issue. I do want people to be hot for my body but I don’t want intense gender theory 101 discussions when I’m trying to get laid!

Yeah totally! Especially I think it can be hard when you are first exploring your homosexuality or queerness during or after transition. James, how do you go about cruising for sex? I basically just trust my instincts and know my boundaries, but what do you do?

I know for a lot of trans guys – myself included – often it’s easier to find guys for casual sex online. As much as it’s really exciting to be out in a public space and to be cruised, it’s risky. It’s easier to spell it out online.

I think it’s important to know what you want to get out of an experience and what your boundaries are. Be really assertive about that and if someone is pushing your boundaries then that person isn’t worth your time and you should get out of there. Before you go and have casual sex (with somebody you don’t know) it’s probably a good idea to let a friend know where you are going to be and when you expect to be back and what to do if you aren’t back. Make sure you have a safety net and know what safer sex is to you.

There are a lot of misconceptions that trans guys only bottom!

I know! I have a cis male lover and I top him. What’s not to love about being able to choose the size, length and width of your cock and it never goes soft! Cis guys can’t do that!

And reciprocation! Some trans guys find themselves in situations where you play in a power dynamic because it’s a new experience and end up just giving pleasure without receiving.

Yeah I know. A lot of the trans chaser guys here are really fixated on the changes that happen with testosterone and are really into oral on trans guy cocks. I am picky though and I am one of those guys when having casual sex with men, I prefer to be used and fucked and don’t always need reciprocation, but I do appreciate it. A lot of trans guys are fans of blowjobs, who doesn’t like a blowjob!

You can do it!

Max talks to his mate Art about their experiences obtaining chest surgery with no intention of taking testosterone. Max is a 26 year old boyish PhD student in Cultural Studies, who also works as a journalist and is suspicious of authority and institutions. Art is a fifty year old butch builder.

Max: I think we were in different situations because I ‘played the game’ a little more: saying I ‘identified as a guy’ and wanted chest surgery ‘first’, neither of which is necessarily true. I just wanted chest surgery and not to take testosterone. But regardless I was pressured by practically everyone to start taking hormones. Like, they couldn’t understand why someone with breasts wouldn’t want them, unless they were quintessentially and essentially male, and therefore wanted body hair and all that. What was it like for you?

Art: From the day they sprouted I always thought they were wrong on me. I saw the results of a lot of ftm mates and thought that is finally what I want. I never wanted pert little boobies that a massive reduction would provide, so I started the process in January 2011. By March I had the interview and the all clear by the psychiatrist that I wasn’t mad to want what others had got, without it necessarily being a ‘gender issue’.

Except for my boobs — and how a lot of the outside, uneducated queer world respond to me — I’m actually very comfortable with who I am. I’m not on T. I have underlying health issues and don’t have a massive drive to go on it at this stage. To me it was about body dysmorphia, like a big nose or big ears. I had the op[eration] in October and had a very good recovery. I could dress myself et cetera straight away and took panadol only for a week or so… I had full nipple sensation and this nearly drove me through the roof while they were healing!

I am very happy with my results and have started back at the gym and my regular life a couple of weeks ago. I was out of pocket about $9K, as I did not do it through a private health fund. For me it has been worth everything. I would only encourage those that want/need/desire the surgery to investigate it further and see if it’s for you.

Good work man that’s awesome. I remember you saying that you wished you’d been able to do it twenty years ago — and that was quite inspiring for me to just do it now, thinking it pretty likely I would just spend the next twenty years wanting it — so thanks! I think our age difference was pretty affective in the ways we were received by medical professionals. I think younger people have to do more convincing docs in terms of not wanting to reproduce. I certainly felt that way. Not that I don’t think it was hard for you in other ways of course. Can you tell me about refusing to ‘trans identify’? I find that really interesting and brave. Like, you just went in and said “I’m butch. I’ve always lived an androgynous ‘lifestyle’ and this is what I want.” Is that right? And what was the reaction to that?

Sure, I do trans identify but not totally and I did not feel that this was anyone’s business when it came to this particular procedure. I don’t think that any particular gender ‘own boobs’ and it does not make sense to me that only if you are on T can you have this procedure… I felt like a new avenue needed to be opened up for butch id[entified] bio women that just simply hate having boobs. I often feel I swing in between and along side trans/butch. I used it to do this: only the first 15-20 min of my assessment was talking about this, the rest was standard questions to test my frame of mind, etc.

I know what you mean. For me it was a cosmetic procedure I was happy to pay for. And I would’ve gladly refused the medicare rebate (about $1000) in order to avoid the assessment process: I found it really humiliating. As someone who works in universities and other places that are awesome — where people are judged by how they think not how they look — I found it pretty offensive that I got a lot of ‘You’re not man enough for this!’ I really like your attitude. I just hope more people who thought they didn’t have access to ‘trans procedures,’ and maybe have more diverse ideas about gender, go through this process, and hopefully the docs will see it’s totally legitimate. It wasn’t easy; I was really pressured to go on T, and forced to see two psychiatrists because of my ‘unusual desires.’ So I would want people to know you do need to be steadfast and assertive about what you want. But you can do it!

max gets his stitches out

DUDE is free online only

Hello DUDE fans!

We’ve been getting quite a few inquiries about getting copies of DUDE, so we just wanted to make our financial position clear to the community.

The {also} foundation have been incredibly supportive and generous: helping us pay for the printing costs of DUDE 1 and 2, as well as our initial mail out. However we still have incidental and other ongoing costs, and we want to be able to make DUDE sustainable as an ongoing project independent of {also}’s funding, which is not guaranteed (for a variety of reasons). We are also very grateful for all the donations we have received and also the support from the Melbourne community at recent events. This also helps us to pay for printing.

In order to be able to keep printing future editions, we need to ensure our cash flow is healthy. Therefore we have decided to sell DUDE.2 hard copies (printed versions of the magazine) and make it available free online only. This recipe means that printing and ancillary costs in future are paid for by sales of current issues, advertising income and sponsorship.

We have also sold hard copies of DUDE.1 on this basis. We have also distributed many free copies of DUDE.1. DUDE.1 will be reprinted on an ongoing basis and some free copies will be distributed through service providers to drive positive change in service delivery to trans people, as well as in certain sections of the wider community to aid in trans awareness.

DUDE will ALWAYS be available for FREE online, but we need to charge for printed copies to ensure the longevity of the project.

See you over the summer at a launch party!

Max, Jez & Ash

For Immediate Release

Projects – Fingerprint


Why not make a zine to celebrate?

Projects – Fingerprint by dotdotdash magazine

dotdotdash is a tri-annual publication that calls Perth, Australia home. Staffed by volunteers, dotdotdash Magazine exists to bring artists and writers to the fore. We publish all genres of poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction, comics, illustrations, drawings, and photos.

You could be here. Submit! Participate! Get involved! We want you.

Mardi Gras Fair Day 2012

Queer Indie Publishers at Fair Day!

  • Sunday, 12 February 2012
  • 10:00 until 17:00
  • Victoria Park, Sydney.

Dirty Queer Magazine, Den Magazine, DUDE Trans Male Zine and Slit Magazine are teaming up at Fair Day 2012. Your one-stop-shop for all things queer and independent this coming Mardi Gras.

Slit: dyke sex culture politics porn magazine.

The Den Magazine: a queer magazine for the LGBTIQ outside of the big smoke

Dirty Queer Magazine: queer photography, arts and culture, published in Sydney, Australia.

Gender Blender DUDE Fundraiser