Sachiko Takeuchi: Off the Record

Honey & Honey x Tokyo Wrestling March 2007


Sachiko Takeuchi

2. Loving an FtM

K:
In Japan I've heard several straight girls say they'd be into dating an FtM, and I totally understand the attraction.

T:
Yes but, you know, when you do, you start to question whether you're a lesbian anymore. Like, does that makes you bisexual? (laughs)

K:
I don't know how FtMs see the issue of dating lesbians, but as far as "neko" lesbians are concerned - the kind attracted to boyish types - it seems to makes sense. I see lots of them together with FtMs.

T:
That's great! Really it is! (laughs) You know, I put all this into my manga, but I get nervous thinking that some people will think I'm strange for dating an FtM and still identifying as a lesbian. But still, quite a few people do write to me saying, "I'm dating a transgender man but I still live my life as a lesbian" or "I'm dating a transgender man but I definitely consider myself straight." There are many different ways of seeing things.

K:
I know there's no need to micromanage sexuality and categorize everything, but still I think that if you were straight and you started dating an FtM, then you are still straight if it was the masculine aspect of your partner that attracted you to him. And, if someone who is lesbian started dating an FtM, then I think it's fair for them to still say they're lesbian. But of course, all this depends on the individuals involved. If it were me dating a transgender man, even though we wouldn't be a "lesbian couple" I would still see my sexuality as that of a lesbian. Though I don't know how he'd feel about that. The reason why I'd still see myself as a lesbian is because I'd be attracted to the boyish part of him that understands a woman's heart. And, if my partner saw himself as a man and liked me for being the woman I am, then I think it's fair to say he's heterosexual.

But when talking about FtMs, it's important to realize that everyone's not the same. Some transgender men want nothing less than to be seen physically and socially as exclusively male. They sometimes stay totally away from gay culture like we have in Nichome. But there are also plenty of FtMs that frequent lesbian bars and events. They sometimes see themselves as more androgynous, rather than male or female. Therefore, I think it would be rash for someone to say that they're not a lesbian because their partner is FtM. Each couple would have to deal with the questions raised by their being together. But, anyway, I guess once it's a matter of the heart, categories are totally beside the point: What do they matter when you’re in love! (laughs)

H:
That's very true.

T:
I also see it that way (laughs). However, once I start thinking that some other folks might see it differently, I have trouble knowing how to illustrate my ideas for my manga.

K:
Sometimes I think that FtMs should not be shuffled between "man" and "woman" and just be allowed to be FtM. Like, how people say there is a third sex.

T:
I agree.

K:
But, then again, I'm sure there are a lot of people who would not agree with me. There are a lot of different ways to look at these things.

T:
I have a feeling that in Japan many FtMs tend to be sensitive. So I always take extra care when I deal with these issues in my manga.

H:
Yes. You are very careful.

K:
There are certain things that are better off left out.

H:
She basically takes the stance that if there's even just the slightest chance that someone would be uncomfortable with something, she leaves it out.

T:
But at the same time, if I let myself get too concerned over every little thing, then there'd be nothing for me to write about!

K:
You're fine as long as your sincerity comes through.

T:
That's probably true.

K:
I think it's clear to the readers that you're very faithful to the idea of painting a clear picture of FtMs, and that you interact with them all the time. In the manga, your FtM characters are very magnetic. The love you put into portraying your characters really shines through.

T:
That's good to hear. That's something I've wanted to know.


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