An Open Letter to Buck Angel – Mom, don’t read this

Your proudness in being able to state that you are a man with a vagina is something I knee-jerk, wall-up, closed-down couldn't get comfortable applying to myself.... Right?

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This is an account of only my story and my internal dialog. I can not possibly speak for an entire community and I hope when you read these words that it gives you a glimpse of the world through my eyes, not as glasses you’re being forced to see through.

Dear Mr Angel,
I have known you from afar as the trans porn star. We were both in the same industry as far as being openly, out trans men was concerned, and I had assumed I knew you. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know until I watched your documentary.

Not saying that I know everything now, but I know enough from listening to your story that I had been holding onto a lot of shame about my body. I had, like the majority of the people I now teach, thought that there was only one way to really be a man. That you had to have both the software (soul? gender identity?) AND the hardware (genitals?) together to be a man and if you didn’t you were forced forever to be a trans man, which felt like a subgrouping of the greater whole.

Your proudness in being able to state that you are a man with a vagina is something I knee-jerk, wall-up, closed-down couldn’t get comfortable applying to myself. I associated vaginas strictly with cisgender women. I felt as if it was wrong to feel proud of it, and couldn’t be something I’d ever feel… I had no problem with you feeling like that, but it just wasn’t for me.


What magic happened when I met my wife and she was so freely able to love a human based on nothing but their character and soul. Stripped away whether I was masculine or feminine… Stripped away whether I had a penis or a vagina… Stripped away everything but who I was as a person and I’ll forever be changed because the comfort you have inside of your body is what I now have too.

Knowing your story, and being loved unconditionally, were the exact ingredients needed for me to now accept my anatomy as my own and not a mistake I grudgingly have to ignore. I want to get in touch with myself (no pun intended) and stop being off in fantasy land about having anatomy that isn’t mine. I want to feel my sexual life through my own body and not my imagination. And those things were given to me by having an example, an idea, the language… Of someone who was trans and openly loved there own bodies and anatomy as their own while being masculine. I’d never thought that was possible.

Being abel to use and feel my own body is a huge gift I hadn’t known I even could want and still be considered male, but you’ve helped me see that that didn’t have to be true.

Thank you for contributing to at least one person’s (me) rediscovery of their given body and their masculinity simultaneously.

J.R. Ballard



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