I remember the first penis that I ever saw in the flesh (other than my own, of course). I must have been around eight or nine years old, and we had been taken by our youngish male teacher to the leisure centre for a special swimming lesson, the outdoor pool at school having succumbed to autumnal leaves and general sludge. Having no designated area for teachers to change, our teacher was compelled to change with us boys – specifically, on the bench opposite me. Pulling down his trousers and underwear in that brisk business-like fashion that men are apt to do in changing room settings, he revealed his glorious member – and my own responded accordingly. I have seen many, many penises since then, but this is the one I remember most clearly. It's the first time I knew without a doubt that I was gay, although I didn't have a vocabulary for it back then.
Why share this anecdote, you might ask. Well, I think it's important for you – especially if you are heterosexual (most people are, of course) – to understand just how deeply rooted my being gay is part of my identity. This, and other such similar experiences, all formed part of a journey through childhood and adolescence – a turbulent and sometimes dangerous journey of self-questioning, self-discovery, and ultimately self-affirmation.
It's a journey that I'm still on today. Imagine my surprise, then, to find out this morning that I am in fact wrong, and that I'm a trans woman. That's right: Juno Dawson suggests in today's Attitude magazine (a publication boasting a "global audience of affluent, fashion-conscious, brand-loyal gay men") that in fact "a lot of gay men are gay men as a consolation prize, because they couldn't be women." Read more via Independent