A photo of Heat Sauna, where trans masc sauna night attracTion takes place. Photo credit Heat Sauna via Twitter
A photo of Heat Sauna, where trans masc sauna night attracTion takes place. Photo credit Heat Sauna via Twitter

Have you heard of attracTion? It’s a new, trans masc sauna night based in the North West of England, and a welcome, sexy addition to the growing number of UK club nights and spaces catering to a trans masc audience (see T-Boys Club to Testohunkie). But attracTion is unique in “its desire to cater to gay, bi or queer trans mascs looking to enjoy that staple of gay men’s culture – cruising in a sauna.

For me attracTion marks an exciting opening for the ongoing development of transfag culture in the UK. So I sat down with Kaleb Bleu, the man behind the moment…

Jackson: Before we jump into discussing your new sauna night, can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and your work? How did you get into the adult industry?

Kaleb: Hey friends! I am a 28-year-old, adult industry performer and the driving force behind attracTion. My work is centred around fetish, healthy masculinity, role fluidity and raw, human sex.

I’ve been transitioning for 14 years. Originally from Nottingham, I moved to Manchester and found my feet and my passion immersing myself in gay and queer men’s clubs and cruising culture. I figured if I loved it so much and was good at what I was doing, I could start earning money off of it. People already fetishised me – why not charge for it?

Liberated and empowered is the only way I can describe how I feel about my work personally. If you can do it, so can I! I wanted to show people the differences in bodies and how we can love and empower ourselves through self-taught confidence. We’re all entitled to it.

So I was really stoked to find out about your new sauna event. Especially as it’s outside of London, which I think is where a lot of queer sex events are concentrated. Why did you set it up? What was your thinking?

I identify as a queer man. I enjoy hooking up with people regardless of their expression but I am attracted to masculinity, in all its forms. I like fucking men a whole lot and I find more and more trans men actively seek sex with other guys, regularly. The only way I/we can seek that sex is to enter spaces that can be intimidating and a lot more complex when you have a trans body.

I understood we needed a space for gay/bi/queer trans and cis men/masculine folk to be able to coexist and explore each other sexually – without having to worry about whether the other guy will be ok with it, or whether that space will see you as male in the first place. Queer trans men and masc folk often don’t get to learn about gay cruising culture and it’s a part of our lives we’re all entitled to experience if we identify as such.

Personally, missing out and not having the same experiences as cis gay/bi/queer men has been complex for me and induced a lot of dysphoria as I felt I had to catch up. So holding a safe space for those that have these desires and nowhere to put them was something I wanted to do. I’ve never seen anything that specifically caters for queer trans men/mascs. Why? We’re all super horny, yknow!? Also there’s gay saunas everywhere, with deep roots in queer history… I want to make more history.

What are the challenges and joys of navigating gay saunas as a transfag?

The biggest challenge is my own mind and getting past what others might think. It takes a certain level of self awareness and confidence to place myself in a space I know I’m welcome and entitled to. But understanding others may not always agree with my presence can be challenging.

Although it comes with added risks, the experiences I’ve had in saunas are what made me love going to them. People ask about my body, they show interest in me and sexual curiosity, and I like that. Guys leave that place with an experience they might never have again, or an open mind for the next time the chance arises. The compliments, the ego boosts, the affirmation, and gender/sexual euphoria I’ve received in saunas is like no other. The time men will take to go out of their way to tell you how sexy you are is flattering and it’s what brings me back to them.

Do you think transfag culture has a way to go in the UK? For example I look at some of the sex events and spaces available to transfags in places like NYC and Chicago in the US and often feel we’re lagging behind. What do you hope to see more of?

I always find that transfags have micro-communities and are often so sporadically placed that we rarely share space unless an event is central to us all. But we all somehow know one another, or know of someone who knows that person. And we all have grand ideas but only a few put their plans to action.

We do have a bit of a way to go, such as integrating into gay cruising culture, as a lot of events intended for the transfag community all seem to be T4T or party/rave based. Some of us just want to fuck cis guys in a chill environment without the thumping bass behind a meat curtain.

I’ve been to the US and it seems a lot more inclusive for trans masculine people in gay sex spaces, from my experience. Cis- and transfags integrate with a lot more ease in the communities I’ve spent time in whilst in the US. Space is made for us rather than us having to take up space – like here in the UK.

I’d love to see more inclusivity in gay fetish spaces in the UK – with them actively promoting safety for trans masculine people. Also more spaces for transfags that cisfags are welcome to, but not aimed at. And generally more solidarity for the wider trans community in gay spaces. It’s not really a big ask.

What advice would you have for transfags in the UK who want to visit or feel more comfortable in gay men’s spaces?

I wish I could just say, “go and find out” but I understand that’s not as easy for trans masculine people. I wish I could say that these spaces are super inclusive and welcoming, but, mostly, you need to have an understanding that unless you look a certain way you might have to fight an extra battle.

If you get past the first hurdle of entering the space, go into it with an open mind and don’t stick to your normal type. I’m often more successful when I have the mindset of everyone’s there for the same reason no matter what we all look like, what happens in that sauna stays in the sauna. They come with added anonymity and discretion.

Get past your own limitations. It’s difficult to battle with the looming challenges we face as trans masculine people in spaces like these but if you act with a level of confidence, that often reflects and makes an experience a positive one. Knockbacks will happen – but take it on the chin, there’s always next time. Or the next guy! There’s certainly an art to not giving a fuck. That and many years of practice!

Interested in attending? The event takes place at Heat Sauna in Stockport. The next date is Friday 26th January at 9pm, keep an eye on attracTion’s social media for more information. Tickets start from £15 and are purchased on the door via cash or card.

Read more from Jackson King for Trans Writes here.