Attraction – or lack thereof – to trans people
As many continue to argue about the appropriateness of sexual preferences that exclude trans people, the ground being debated often shifts or slides so that we are not all talking about the same thing. For anyone continuing to defend a pattern of excluding trans people as potential partners as natural and free from social influence and internalized transphobia, I won’t tell you to stop arguing your case, but do so understanding these two points.
1 – No one wants to coerce or force you to date trans people.
When it is argued that a refusal to date trans people is influenced by internalized transphobic messages and other bigoted assumptions, it does not follow that the solution would be to date the people they hold bigoted assumptions and prejudices about. That would be a horrible experience for any trans person they date. The solution being suggested is to examine your romantic/sexual behavior for prejudicial influence and respond to what you find there the same way we already encourage doing so for all other areas of life.
2 – We’re not just talking about lack of attraction, but about holding attraction that you choose not to act upon.
In many cases trans status is not the first thing a person learns about someone else. By the time they do learn that person’s trans status, attraction - or lack thereof - is often already established. If they were never attracted to the person to begin with, then the person’s trans status had nothing to do with it. If they were attracted to the person up until discovering that they are trans, then “I’m not attracted to trans people” is clearly a convenient lie to hide the truth: that they are attracted to trans people, but for one reason or another they suppress those attractions. The fact that they can’t even acknowledge the attraction that was once there and feel the need to cover it up with this lie suggests that internalized shame and disgust for the attraction they held for a trans person plays a significant role in this dynamic.
Bottom line, please feel free to approach the conversation with:
“There are some trans folks I’ve been attracted to and strongly desired, but I just can’t go there because x, y, z.” Or with,
“It just so happens that I haven’t been attracted to any of the trans people I’ve met so far, of course I have no clue about the folks I never knew were trans.” (For added clarity, mention the number of trans folks you’ve gotten to know well. Is it 5? 12? 50? 250?)
But please stop with the “I’m just naturally not attracted to trans folks, stop telling me I have to date folks I’m not attracted to.” That’s just not how it works and you’re being intellectually dishonest with yourself and with others.
I deeply dislike conversations about dating trans people, because cis people always decide to join in. And from there it’s but a short hop, skip and a jump to “Kim Petras is fucking hot, any guy who says he wouldn’t fuck her is lying”. Like … cool story, thanks for sharing. It really means a whole lot to me that you don’t judge me based on my junk, just how much you want to play hide the sausage. But that’s not actually what we’re discussing here.
And also this whole “but why are you forcing me to date trans people?” meme seems to get predominantly whipped out when we’re discussing trans women. Trans men have their own problems, sure, but if a trans woman complains that people don’t want to smooch with her then all of a sudden she’s upholding the patriarchy by forcing people to love her against their will. And it’s not like we;re the only group that have ever said this. Black, fat and disabled women discuss how the media biases people against their bodies all the time, but no one ever accuses them of forcing people to love them.
And that’s the whole thing. We trick people into having sex with us, then we force them to buy a house and grow old with us. It’s deliberately misinterpreting what we say, and ignoring basic context, in order to continue a trope about how trans women are all basically dudes who are just really, really hardcore about rape. So much so that we spend years convincing trained medical professionals to prescribe us powerful hormones and sign off on serious surgery, just so we can listen to you pee.
And like, if someones feeling really bored one night, can we have a conversation about how radfems actually benefit from rape culture, and use it to their own advantage? Because I have a really, really hard time believing that someone who defines a trans person peeing as an attempted rape is actually really serious about rape prevention. Coz as offensive as that is to me as a trans woman, it’s a hell of a lot more offensive to me as someone who has been sexually assaulted.
As a trans person who has been raped, equating trans people’s existence to rape, or equating trans people not disclosing their status to rape, or equating criticism of cissexism to rape is an insult to survivors and trivializes the effect of rape culture.
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