Transgender and Being SexualJun 24th, 2011 | By Admin | Category: Articles about TO Men, Articles about Transwomen
The article below is posted with permission by BattyBattyBats, an Australian trans activist. The original article is HERE!
This is an interesting discussion on various aspects of taboo in social consciousness regarding the sexuality of transgendered people and those who have an attraction to them. Why, should an aspect of attraction, that is considered so basic and natural among cis gendered couples be considered somehow evidence of fetishism or a sexual disorder when attractions between transgendered people and those attracted to them are expressed in sexual relations? This prejudice contributes to the fear and hesitation transoriented and transgendered people experience when considering having a serious and open relationship.
As someone who has shared my transorientation with friends, the biggest hurdle is to get them to see past the sexual aspect of the attraction. I can understand a degree of curiosity, but we should contrast this with how people react to being told of a cis gendered couple entering a relationship. Of course we assume that sex plays a part in their relationship, but it’s considered juvenile to focus on that aspect of their attraction and affection.~ Admin
Transgender and being sexual, the double-edged-sword of transphobia
Just the word sex alone is a problem. Peoples inability to deal with the subject meant that euphemisms became standard for any polite discussion of coitus, of copulation of humans. So it became ‘the sex act’ and then ‘sex’ making any discussion of the differences between sex and gender in ordinary english with people uneducated in TG issues a mess to begin with.
Transgender has often been cast as a fetish, a going-wrong of sexual desires. So this sets up a conflict where ordinary sexual expression of a transgender person is labelled fetishistic so some reject such behaviour in themselves and others, condemning the sexually expressive as bringing problems onto the whole transgender community.
Others internalised transphobia results in them trying to excuse their transgender nature as purely sexual. This may be conscious or unconscious. But as they grow in self-acceptance many self-proclaimed fetishists find that the more they accept being transgender to some extent the more non-sexual TG aspects of themselves get unlocked after years of repression.
Seems a bad ‘devil and the deep’ scenario already huh? But it gets worse.
Many wonder why if studies suggest TG is comparably common to GLB then why is it so invisible, so closeted?
Ah well here you come to the worst part of the dilemma.
While there are a very significant number of TG-attracted people as the market for TG pornography, TG sex workers shows this is considered further taboo.
Despite the many women who have had posters of folk from David Bowie to Marilyn Manson to Davey Havok and Jefree Starr on their walls in their teens few seriously consider a relationship with gender-non-conformists let alone taking them home to meet their parents. The attraction is there but the social pressure is strongly to conform and have relationships with cis folk. Same for those who visit TG sex-workers, they’d happily pay for the sex but not consider openly dating the same person or openly admitting their sexual attraction to TG to their friends, family and workmates.
And those who do find TG sexually attractive are further condemned by parts of the TG community just for finding TG attractive! Now sure if a TG wishes to transition fully then someone who finds the combination attractive may not be for them, but plenty of TG people do not transition fully.
And in fact it is the fear of not finding a long-term partner that keeps a huge proportion of TG people in the closet, keeping being TG secret form their current and prospective partners.
The desire for sex in fact keeps TG people trying to be Cis!
The sexual drive is the most powerful social force in our and most other species. Yet for TG people it is condemned if present and used to invalidate their gender identity and expression. And yet the taboo of TGs being attractive sexually to others is also one of the major forces holding Transgender people back!
The sexist and transphobic notion that a TG person cannot be sexual without their transgender-ness being a fetish causes horrendous harm. Cis men and women are sexual constantly. Much of media revolves around Cis sexual expression both male and female.
The Transphobic notion that non-gender-binary attraction is wrong also does horrendous harm. This is perpetuated by some binary-identified transgender people (and cisgender transsexuals for those who prefer another term) too which can perpetuate the sexual-phobia in the TG community.
And in society at large the many TG-attracted people need to start coming out about their attraction. That taboo needs to be undone.
Transgender people are sexual beings but no moreso than any cis straight or gay or lesbian or bisexual. We need to be seen in public as sexual beings and more than just sexual beings. We need to be acknowledged as attractive just like cis-folk get acknowledged as attractive.
And TG people will not make sufficient headway by trying to cast sexuality out of the community. That only keeps the majority of TG folk closeted and lonely and miserable. The reactionary fear of the sexual-taboo and fetish label is holding us back. We have to find ways to claim our sexual expression and attractiveness as being as valid as everyone elses.