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“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin,” says Tiq Milan, a friend of the future groom.And that cultural sexism is often more visible to trans men, because most say they find it easier to be low-disclosure than trans women.“I’m putting it together in my head, I’m like: ‘He’s gonna be one of my groomsmen, he’s gonna be one of my groomsmen,’” he points to his two friends and grins.The other men light up when they hear the news and start talking about rings, how much they cost, will it be princess cut or pear shaped? “That was one of my dreams, to get married, to be somebody’s husband, to be somebody’s father,” says one of the friends, Redd Barrett.“From when I was like 12, I used to think about that all the time.” I ask the groom-to-be how he knew his girlfriend was the one.They met at work, he says, and by the time he came out to her, they were already in love.In one previous job, he heard his boss call female colleagues “old cows” and refer to a middle-aged job applicant as “Dame Edna” after she’d left an interview.“Evidently men say things like that to each other all the time,” he says.
As soon as they came out as men, they found their missteps minimized and their successes amplified.James Ward, a lawyer in San Francisco who transitioned about six years ago, put it this way: “We have the ability to just walk through the world and not have anybody look at you twice.” One day in court, Ward and his opposing counsel were making a big request to a judge.Ward knew their question would not go over well, so he wasn’t surprised when she reprimanded both him and his opposing counsel for asking.But if they hadn’t said so, you wouldn’t have known.
Over the last three years, transgender awareness has exploded.
“I said ‘I’m trans, and you’re not gonna want me anyway,” he recalls, unable to keep the smile off his face.