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Are Trans Gay Men Invisible?

Cole Hayes

Trans gay men visibility evokes a famous line from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man: "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." Cole Hayes is here to correct that perception.

My best friend told me once, “Cole, you're so gay it transcends gender.” He told this to me after I came out for the third time, but this time as a gay man. To me, it was funny and we laughed but it got me thinking about the reason behind it. I've been asked by handfuls of gay cis men, “How can you be gay?” my response is always the same, “The same way you can be gay.” Of course, many of them don't understand and it will always be difficult to fully explain it to someone that could never truly know but I continue to explain as best as I can.

There is a myth that testosterone turns you gay. Of course, this isn't true but my theory (based on my experience) is this: I was always a man but my body didn't reflect it. I felt disgusted at the thought of sleeping with a man because I knew he would be looking at me, at my body, as female. I came out as a lesbian later on and for awhile I felt “fixed” but as the years went on, my dysphoria got worse. It wasn't about being gay because women that were attracted to me were attracted to a woman as well and that still felt wrong. 


Once realizing who I really was, it didn't take long before my true sexuality could be recognized and processed. In short and as cliché as it might sound, I truly felt like a gay man trapped in a woman's body. That's how I have always seen it, for me. Once my body began to transform with HRT, I slowly became more in love with myself and idea of being with another man. Thinking back to childhood, I always had a strange attachment to the male physique, drawing it, imagining it, wishing I had it. For me, it just made sense, the male body. It's curious because so many people worry that testosterone will change you from the core but really, what it can do, is open your up to who you really are. It can show you things you've been hiding from even yourself. Hormones didn't make me gay, they gave me the confidence I needed to realize I was gay. Now, when a guy flirts with me, I know it is because I am a man that he finds attractive and I no longer feel ashamed of thinking the same about him. 

Watch Hayes transition in the video below.

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Cole Hayes