Some trans men are feminine. Trans men do not have to be masculine in order to be male. Some trans women are masculine. Trans women do not have to be feminine in order to be female.
There are a lot of stereotypes that exist about the trans community and even within the trans community. Society says, for a trans man, if you identify as a man even though you were assigned female at birth, you should be masculine and act like a man. We all know that gender is a social construction, though, and “acting like a man” means something different culture by culture and person by person.
For many trans men (and cisgender men, for that matter), myself included, we feel we need to live up to U.S. standards of masculinity - being tough, not crying, being the breadwinner in the family, etc.
As a gender studies student, I studied the way our society boxes in our various genders to the detriment of everyone. Men feel like they can only express their emotions in ways that are appropriate - mainly through physical violence - if they show their emotions at all.
Women feel like they can’t show that they enjoy sex for fear of being called a slut but also shouldn’t be too prudish either. These are just stereotypes but many people feel confined to them and trans people are not immune.
When we emerge as the gender we rightly feel we are, there are times when some trans people will overcompensate on their femininity or masculinity in order to be validated in their identity. I know I did.
We’re breaking out of these molds though and trans people are leading the way. I don’t have to “act manly” all the time to know that I’m a man.
To further complicate matters, not all trans people are interested in passing. Passing means to be seen as the gender with which you identify. I pass as a cisgender male. For many trans people, that’s the goal, but not for all trans people.
Not all trans people have gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is the clinically significant distress caused when a person’s assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify. To alleviate my gender dysphoria, I started HRT to help change my secondary sex characteristics to match my male identity. Then I had top surgery a year and a half later. Three years after that, I had a hysterectomy and metoidioplasty to further my transition and to feel more whole in my body.
My wife is a trans woman who hasn’t had any medical intervention at all. She has gender dysphoria and has taken steps that are not medical in order to alleviate that dysphoria. She may choose to medically transition through certain surgeries and/or HRT later. It’s her body and it’s up to her how she chooses to feel her best. She’s supported me through all my bodily choices and I respect her bodily autonomy in the same way.
Gender dysphoria can be all-consuming. It can cause someone to never want to leave their house, to hurt their bodies, to transition without the oversight of a doctor. For others, the gender dysphoria can be managed with HRT or with a binder or makeup or hair styles. For some, the dysphoria will be so bad they won’t get out of bed for days at a time. On other days, they’ll feel confident and secure. It can come and go. For others, they may not have any gender dysphoria. That doesn’t make them any less trans or any less valid.
The trans community is as diverse as any other community. Trans women don’t owe society hyperfemininity and trans men don’t owe you hypermasculinity in order to be seen as the gender with which we identify.