Transgender and Being Sexual

Jun 24th, 2011 | By | 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
by BattyBattyBats

There are a myriad of issues about sex and Transgender.

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.

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8 Comments to “Transgender and Being Sexual”

  1. Vallin says:

    Great article! I’m as out as I can be within reason (not beating it to death) to those of my friends comfortable with LGBT. Definitely on Facebook and Flickr.

    • Vallin says:

      And one more thing…the trans community is the ONLY community where “admirer” is an insult. I work in music/entertainment and retail/customer service (also entertainment) where our livelihood depends on positive social admiration. I’m sure that’s true for the cis-community as well as the LGB (and I am bi-genderqueer) community.

  2. An amazing article, thanks for the writing.

  3. Bob says:

    great article. I recently found that my attraction to transwomen is far stronger than to traditional men or women. It carries the potential for both emortional and physical connection thta just isnt present in traditional hetero or homo relationships in my past. Why would that be odd? it’s in the gene pool. How could there not be people who found trans people attractive beyond objectification when there are trans people? It is a shame it’s so hidden. folks who aren’t bar creatures really don’t have any places to interact.

    • Vallin says:

      Exactly, Bob. I’m “officially” bi-genderqueer (after decades of cis-male str8), and by extension selectively open to non-trans gays, bi’s, and (in my dreams!) lesbians. But my strongest attraction–stronger than my original heterosexuality–is to transwomen. One reason is that the marginality of the community requires more commitment on my part, much the same as my interracial attraction to cis-women and trans-women. And the other factor is that I became attracted to the trans community after I was 40 and more independent of my family and cultural background.

  4. Kim says:

    I am not sure if I agree with what is written here. Since I disagree with calling any and all people who have “gender identity issues” Transgender or TG then I have to fundamentally have an issue with this article.

    First, being a medically transitioned TS woman I do not like the fact that I am forced to share a category with someone who can so easily call themselves gender queer, gender neutral because in my eyes my gender is not in question I am a woman, period.

    Second, this is not a sexual ting for me who I decide to sleep with (my preference has always been men and will remain men) has absolutely nothing to do with my gender which is why yet again I do not like being lumped in with the LGB community their category is purely sexuality based.

    I have been fortunate to be able to date men as well as have a very long term relationship with one man (well over 10 years). I less often face the problem of not being able to find men who will admit or come out to being with me or wanting to be with me because of one simple factor. Passability…….. Truthfully the whole issue of this topic is more encompassed in the ability of us to pass as female. Not that I am beautiful or stunning, I want to be clear that I do not claim to be those things, I am a typical very normal looking woman and present as such and act as such and thus am respected as such. While I do not begrudge my sisters who are new or older (age wise) and transitioning and maybe even long term transitioners that may suffer the fate of not being able to pass for whatever the reason, their desire to be loved by someone and not be hidden, one has to examine what the passability factor has to do with it.

    The other fact is that we all know that there is going to always be a certain number of men who are trans attracted who will only ever want to frequent sex workers behind closed doors and who will never own up to or admit their attractions simply because it is my belief that most men get involved with us after a discovering that we even exist via the porn world and as such we are seen as sexual objects from the very beginning. They did not grow up having a trans woman as a mother, someone they admire and see as a caregiver. Many do not have a trans woman as a sister, aunt or cousin so they do not know us on a every day personally connected level. No men ever find out about an attraction to a cis gender female via the porn world.

    Lastly, ladies I strongly believe that we have to top perpetuating the stereotypes and mis understanding we have to to resist the urge to become sex workers, understand and value ourselves, stop letting men objectify us and say no to men who we damn well know are not going to be good for us or our self esteems. Hold men accountable that want to date us even if it means some long days and nights alone without companionship. I myself am not dating anyone and though I want to very badly I absolutely refuse to even look at a man who isn’t going to represent and respect me and that means I’m on your arm, I am at the families dinner table on Sunday when you are and I am your WOMAN, period. Granted I don’t expect this on date one but I am never gonna be hidden. If you can drive into my driveway then I can damn sure drive into yours. If from jump street you are talking to me about no one knows about the ladies I like and I consider you to be just any other woman then you know what there are no return phone calls after date one. Simply even saying those words to me means you DON’T see me as just any other woman.

    So while I think this article speaks to and about a great many people I do not accept it for still many of us.

  5. I came out last year, while owning and managing several businesses in a small town in rural northern Nevada, where being a redneck is sort of a given to where nobody even calls himself that, and being a cowboy is considered a formal profession. And yet, I’m generally accepted with very few exceptions, and life goes on. More often than not people are not just nice to me but exceptionally so. Ditto as to the larger city nearby, where I live: Reno, NV. Again, people tend to be super-nice to me. I walk past folks, I smile, and for the most part, they smile back.

    Even though my formal profession is as a software engineer, I have wild fantasies and somehow, I exude sexuality. I’ve had a gentleman come up to me in Walgreens and respectfully touch my shoulder and politely explain how attracted he is to me and what he’d like to do with me, sexually.

    Part-time, I offer part-time strip shows and modeling in hotel rooms, and I’ve made more than $300 in one hour and then I got some additional money as a tip, besides. I can routinely make $160 an hour by looking sexy as such. I haven’t sold sex but if I did I’d probably make good money.

    Often, I’m so into my own strip shows that I am so turned on that I can’t even breathe normally any more. When the paid portion of the show is done, and if I’m enthused to seduce the client, then I make sure he knows the paid section of the festivities are over. I even have him make an “x” on a piece of paper with wording to that effect. Some men orgasm while enjoying me physically, others do so while watching the show and, um, helping themselves, which they’re most welcome to do.

    After a man orgasms, he tends to have a mood change. Some leave immediately; most become VERY talkative and I learn a lot about how they think about how they view life — and how they view girls like me and where I fit in.

    Most men view girls like me as an obsession that they’ve fought for a long time and finally gave into, while being very nervous e.g., one person first needed a drink, another needed a cigarette before meeting me. Some of them would never tell anyone they are attracted to a girl like me. Especially men in the macho professions such as law enforcement and former military … the passion for me is there but they would not ever hope of being accepted by their peers or family, if their attraction to me came out. These are men who are willing to stare down the barrel of a hostile gun and put their lives on the line — brave men, demonstrably. And yet, being open about being with a girl like me is something that even they don’t have the courage to do.

    Over the past two years I have observed just how intense a force social acceptance or non-acceptance is on others whom I care about. I tend to be a catalyst and repressed people open up to me, and I’m amazed at the pain they self-inflict by seeing themselves with other’s eyes in conservative, condemning value systems.

    Me, I don’t have that. I have been so used to not belonging ever since I was very young, six or so. It doesn’t bother me. But, I’m shocked at how deeply social non-acceptance bothers others.

    I like free-market politics and so I once went into a chat forum with that theme, and it became known that I’m a transgender, transsexual girl. The hostility aimed at me in those conservative circles was intense — and these were people with whom I was basically in agreement as to many ideas.

    In Minnesota, where one of my two romantic female partners is from, the family dynamic became a war zone when her parents were told I’m a transgender girl (and by implication, their daughter is a lesbian). Five years of good relationships vanished and for a while I was outcast. I batted back the issues diligently as fast as they were hurled at me, and eventually the tide turned and the cultural battle was won. I recently visited there with my partner and all was well, but it’s the sort of peace you found in 1946 in Germany or Japan.

    My conclusion is that much of the cultural battle still needs to be fought, and conservative cultures are the main problem area. Certainly the concerns are somehow religious in origin — even though, as I pointed out, their revered ancient text makes no mention of transgender as being a problem.

    Why religious folks tend to be against the existence of girls like me, against abortion, against free immigration … who knows. It’s a weird package deal. My approach is to oppose it with a calm, vigorous, principled stand, and to be ready to argue logically for every point. As Ayn Rand pointed out: when on your side you have Right, Reason and Reality — those are powerful weapons to pick up and use.

    When the US took over the building of the Panama Canal, the problem was that the construction crews were getting sick. The US first established basic hygiene (don’t dig latrines close to wells, kill off the mosquitoes) and then we could focus on the canal work.

    Ditto with transgender acceptance and transoriented acceptance. The DSM V has only just come out 3 months ago with the transgender condition no longer classified as a formal mental disorder. Being transgender will first have to be accepted as a first step. Only thereafter would I expect being transoriented to be accepted. And, it’ll happen first in California, later in Nevada and many years later in Minnesota.

    Every now and then, I hear someone explain how they voted Democrat not due to any enthusiasm for the candidate or the party, but as the main counterforce against conservative ideas and the categorical bigotry that this idea set tends to bring with it. And that logic is hard for me to fault, much as I like free-market ideas.

    My guess is that the country is already moving in the right direction. When we overcame, for the most part, the idea set that treated women as inferior, and blacks as inferior, and gays as inferior — we also learned the principle that to treat anyone as inferior is something whose decision premises needs to stand up to scrutiny. And, this paves the way to acceptance of girls like me, and the good gentlemen who are attracted to girls like me.

    I expect that in 50 years’ time Hollywood will make a movie like “Red Tails” but it will be not about black people being discriminated against and finally prevailing — but transgender and transoriented people in that role. I fully expect to see a cartoon superheroine who is transgender and an honorable gentleman with whom she’s in a relationship.

    Methinks there’s a better future, it’s just a long way off, and it’ll be a two-step process.

    ~Tanya

  6. What is a trans oriented person who likes dressing in leather straps and chains, pink see through nighties and fishnet stockings? Not that having your own label changes you any, but I am curious if there’s a name for my sexual preferences and behavior. In the mix is also the fact that I love women who like being on top, femdom light if you will, and men that do not have more body hair than a small patch above his cock and are effeminate bottoms too.

    I really get annoyed with the constant hussy fits about what is and isn’t okay to call a transperson of any particular flavor. Running a very close 2nd is being treated like an outcast for saying out loud that you dress because it makes you feel sexy and have no attraction at all to the idea of a sex change stronger than what you wear to bed with your partner (or yourself, I can dig it!). I guess you could say that I’m not into the Victorian granny routine where I’m not supposed to notice the 6 foot tall Mrs Doubtfire from Adams apple to the “sensible” shoes. Sorry, but if the sensible shoe fits, I’m just being honest.

    Some of us are in it because we feel alive sexually when wearing whatever gets his or her rocks off, think shemales are hot, call the hottie with a rack out to here and a chubby swinging down low a shemale. Same goes for ladyboy or any other label that you get beat with a rolled up newspaper like a dog that just peed on the carpet by tranny-police.

    And finally, what’s up with the insistence that one is not gay if he (or she) goes through with SRS and is in a sexual relationship with a person who is the former gender? For starters, what’s wrong with being seen as gay? If you are, even just a little bit, why do you feel put off by yourself? I’ll never figure that one out. After charging through here like a bull in a China shop with regard to sacred cows in the TG community, let me close by saying you wont improve how society sees you or receives you as a man, woman or other, until you get over putting things in categories and then beat people up who “offend” you. Lighten up Francis, you have enough working against you and adding annoying trans PC police to that list does nothing more than piss off an annoy people who are actually on your side and find you sexy. Do you get it that a guy who is into shemales is not against the TG community, and is in fact a very enthusiastic fan. If you don’t like being called this or that either keep it to yourself or tell hi or her privately and spare the rest of the drama that gets so old so fast.

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