How to Tell Your Friends You’re Transitioning…to Be a Top

Are they ready to support you through this new and exciting sexual journey?

The day has come: You’re ready to shout from the hill(top)s that you’ve finally topped and didn’t fail miserably. For the first time in your trans male life, you’re ready to let everyone know that you are now a sexually dominant person, newly forged by the flames of your own sexual heat.

But wait just a minute—what about your friends? Aren’t they ready to come along with you on this journey? Won’t they eventually embrace your newfound sexual identity as a breakthrough rather than a betrayal?

I think we all know the answer. Though you may be feeling as unstoppable, all powerful, and weirdly muscular as the genie version of Jafar, you have yet to stand before a jury of your peers and submit yourself to their judgment.

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In other words, you legit have not told your friends yet. Maybe you’re scared of what they’ll think, or maybe you’re worried you’ll somehow change in the eyes (and the dynamic) of your social group. Maybe you’re still coming to terms with it yourself. Maybe, after a lifetime of trying to reconcile your gender identity with your fraught relationship to sex, you’re finally letting the smoke of past traumas clear. Maybe this revelation on your part—that years of bottoming were only a pale lead-up to this, the moment of your first topping—is earth-shatteringly frightening to them, even as it is exhilarating to you.

Maybe you simply don’t know how to be a top.

Think about it: How are you supposed to know how to be a top when you’ve spent your whole life being a bottom simply because it was less complicated?

So what does a top do? you ask yourself. What does a winner do?

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Now this isn’t to say that tops are all winners. Don’t be absurd! It’s just that you, up to this point a lowly bottom, have always considered yourself kind of a loser. Nothing personal, really. You’ve always just kind of thought you sucked, in every sense of the word. You didn’t have much confidence in how you looked, and while everyone else was busy getting laid, you were still laying on the floor listening to weepy adolescent music well into your 30s. And bottoming was part of that, for a time. You kind of thought: Who am I to make my needs known? Who am I to take a risk?

No one, really. You’re not anyone. Just a person who might finally be figuring it out. Someone for whom things are starting to click. After all, you surprised yourself. For once, you weren’t too shy or too scared or too in your own head to top. It didn’t matter that you didn’t have a dick, and it didn’t matter that you never, in a million years, thought that you could do this. In the past, when the mere lack of a dick seemed like the supreme disqualification, this all would have seemed insane to you. That you could have the confidence not just to have sex the way you always dreamed about, but to have the gay audacity to enjoy it.

But forget about your younger self—that depressed, fluorescent adolescent. Let’s talk about your friends. Because trust and believe, they’re about to talk about you.

First off, make sure everyone is sitting down, including you. There are going to be a lot of lewks and vibes, and you don’t want to seem shaken by so many shocked stares and dropped jaws.

Be prepared to take those “top of the pops” sex puns fast and hot, because they’re about to come at you hard.

If you’re at brunch, don’t order anything. Anything you ingest will instantly become part of a “foods you can eat now that you’ve stopped bottoming” text chain that will literally never die.

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Breathe, take a moment for yourself. Relax. Unclench your butt. And tell them.

Tell them about how you feel powerful, but not because of any stupid ideas about masculinity or butchness or dominance. Tell them about how you truly never thought you’d be able to do this. Tell them how, in an otherwise hideous year, you found a way to transform yourself beyond what you ever thought possible—how it means more to you than just a sex position, how it actually makes you feel like you might want to be a part of the world of dating, even after so many rejections and insults and deep hurts and messages from cis men asking, “Is there a pussy?”

How it kind of, almost, not quite, makes up for all that. How it makes you kind of sing to yourself inside every time you think about it.

Tell them all this, and be prepared. Be prepared for them to forgive you. To love you for who you are. To see you—maybe for the first time.

Henry Giardina is a writer living in Los Angeles.
@punkgroucho