Sunday, July 26, 2009

Transgender and being sexual, the double-edged-sword of transphobia

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 euphamisms became standard for any polite discussion of coitus, of copulation of humans. So it became 'the sex act' and then 'sex' making any duscussion 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 sexest 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.


Gaeilge said...

batty pleasepleaseplease offer this to bilerico.
this needs to be said

"... as we're planning our new look and expansion, I've been hunting for new contributors that I think would help expand the discussions we have here on TBP."
-bil b

Gaeilge said...

maybe you could put this up in a diary at pam's house blend too. no one is talking about this- it is pretty key.
pam's has diaries, you are a commentor there i'd love to see this up.
please think about it...
best, g

Anonymous said...

Wow. That certainly needed to be said! Do you mind if I post an excerpt of this and link back to you on my blog?

I second the others here. Please try to get this posted at places like Bilerico, PHB, Feministe, etc.!

Battybattybats said...

I'm following up one of these suggestions :)

Gaeilge said...

batty thanks so much for posting at bilerico.great picture too, and if i may say, you're a cutie! if you'll only become a permanant blogger there that will be the best.(how does one do that?)
...i hope you will.
mercedes allen posts at her webpage and posts new or reposts at tbp...
best of luck and i hope i will soon see your work up there permanantly!
take care^*^

Gaeilge said...

ok you're being drafted,lol

"we're having a contributor three-for-one sale! (Which is great since they're all volunteers!) Today I get an opportunity to introduce three new contributors to the Project. Remember, as we get ready to launch the redesigned Bilerico sites, we're also looking to expand our contributor base. Interested? Send in an application"


Gaeilge said...

oops!link wass wrong....

Battybattybats said...

Thanks Gaeilge.

I'm considering your suggestion, though my output varies a lot because of my symptoms making a regular commitment a chunky decision.

And thanks on the compliment on my picture too :)

Gaeilge said...

any time.
i just watched "the hunger" again.
i love catherine D. in that.
the house is so cool too.
i have watched "the hunger" tv show(Brit.)but it's not so great...
also, i'd love to see "carmilla" (le fanu short novel)
made into a movie, maybe with jennifer connaly she is so totally cool looking.
i notice you're scots.
i'm irish myself.
yay celts....

hope i see you on tbp!

Battybattybats said...

I haven't watched the hunger in years, I really must see it again. I love the song Bela Lugosi's Dead. Haven't seen the series yet though I've heard of it.

There's been a few films based on Carmilla but not very closely. Hammer Films Karnstein trilogy for example is 'inspired' by it. I've not managed to see the first of these The Vampire Lovers which is closer to Carmilla than the others which do little more than borrow an idea and name or two but while Lust for a Vampire was pretty standard hammer fare i quite liked Twins of Evil especially Peter Cushings tyrannical character.

A good accurate version of the story is long overdue.

As for ancestry, well I'm quite a mix. Scot/Irish/Welsh/English are the main but there is also a chunk of German/Bohemian/Carpathian Gypsy in there as well.