This is not the first time i've upset people with an idea. Though perhaps the actual idea is missunderstood this time. Hard to tell as my CFS has been making communication a little difficult.
The upset occured on a comment at facebook and it occurred again in a comment at Questioning Transphobia, the latter here: http://questioningtransphobia.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/i-hate-mtf-and-ftm/ though each in very different ways.
So lets consider what the idea actually is, and I'll see if i can get it across properly this time.
Lets start with some basics.
* some people are binary-gender transsexuals. They are strongly neurologically fixed in being male or female and where possible correct their bodies to match that.
* there's also non-binary transgender people including transsexuals and non-transsexuals, including Genderqueer and many crossdressers. We can worry about whether all bi-gender people should be considered non-binary or not another time.
* there are many people who are not transgender or transsexual i.e. are cisgender cissexuals, who nevertheless are attracted to Transgender people. There are also transgender people who are attracted to transgender people.
* just as society has in recent centuries been largely transphobic so too is attraction to Transgender been dissaproved of, taboo etc.
Ok. That's our starting point. Lets expand on that shall we?
* Some binary Transsexuals have argued that this attraction is bad. Pestering, unwanted, negative, missgendering and harmful. Because of course they do not want people attracted to them for charcateristics that they do not want and are trying to fix, they may find that extremely disstressing or offensive. Perfectly understandable.. for them.
* Non-binary people have extreme difficulty in getting and maintaining relationships with people who are not attracted to their being Trans. Many relationships end when a crossdresser comes out to or is found out by their partner. Some genderqueer people I know have found their degree of gender expression curtailed by what a partner deems acceptable.
Already we have the beginnings of an obvious potential, though still solvable, problem. Lets add further factors.
* Arguments from various sources including Feminists Binary Transsexuals and Psychiatrists have described the Trans-attracted as Gays in Denial, (including sometimes arguing that Transgender people are also Gays in Denial) based on the relationships between Trans-attracted people and Transgender people. The argument goes that the Trans-attracted is really interested in the male characteristics of male to female transgender people. This ignores a lot of different factors.
What factors does it ignore?
* Trans-attracted people may be female as well as male.
* Trans-attracted people may themselves be transgender or they may be cisgender or any other part of the sex and gender spectrum.
* Trans-attracted people may be attracted to people on any point of the sex and gender diverse spectrum. Even irrespective of whether usually they are attracted to the same or opposite cisgender cissexual sex.
* Trans-attracted people are attracted to Trans people because and not in spite of their being Transgender.
So we have one group that finds the trans-attracted a nuisance or worse quite upsetting because they do not want to be attractive for being perceived to be transgender. Understandable. We then have a group that needs the trans-attracted to find fulfilling relationships. Also Understandable. And we have that group attracted to what they are attracted to, a sense of Trans Beauty, Transgender as beautiful and desirable.
But is the problem just one of helping the Trans-attracted to the ones who want their attention and away from those who don't? No it's not so simple. We have other issues involved.
* Most Transgender people are deeply closseted. For fear of Transphobic persecution but also for fear of never finding someone who will be attracted to them once they are out.
* Most trans-attracted people are also afraid of the consequences of being outed.
* This closetting of Trans-attraction results in many of them visiting Trans sex workers or Trans pornography but not being willing to let family or friends know about their attraction and so are less likely to have a full open lasting relationship with an out Trans person.
* like all closetted repressed communities there are many other maladaptions and harmful coping methods and problematic issues withion the Trans-attracted community that need to be healled and overcome.
* The issues of the transgender sex industry and the sex industry in general are complicated in themselves, however they also have a bearing on the stigmatisation of the Trans-attracted amongst much of the community including amongst binary transsexuals, amongst other parts of the transgender community, amongst other parts of the sex industry and in the general community. This alone is a complex set of intersections of prejudices stereotypes and blamings.
So as long as the Trans-attracted are clossetted many trans people will also be closetted, the Trans sex industry will have a strong client-base who do not want others to know of their desires, many trans people will be alone and romanticly unfullfilled and many trans-attracted people will make do with cis people when they'd rather trans or will also remain alone.
* I suspect that as its been said that homophobia, including assaults and murder, often comes from the perpetrators issues with their own attraction to the same sex and after hearing about the frequency in transgender assault and murder cases that the perpetrator knew in advance the victim was trans but later claimed they just found out it seems to me that many cases may be Trans-attracted people unable to accept their own attraction and/or trying to prevent others from finding out about their relationships and the feared consequences of being discovered to be trans-attracted.
* This means that to end or reduce transphobic murder and assault and villification it is neccessary to reduce the stigma towards Trans-attraction.
* This means that all those who contribute to, support or fail to act against the stigmatisation of the trans-attracted are assisting in all the negative consequences of that stigma including the harm done to transgender people unable to find partners and if my suspician is correct also to some, maybe many of, the transphobic assaults and murders.
In that last one, and one perhaps that Lisa at QT may have missunderstood (and i may have misscomunicated) i am neither blaming trans people as the major causes of trans-attraction stigma but neither am i letting those amongst the trans population who have encouraged this prejudice off the hook for being prejudiced. Whether empowered and overprivileged or disempowered and underprivilieged everyone is responsible towards every human rights issue without exception as a basic mutual-obligation consequence of the idea of Equality and Human Rights. And every voice may have an impact even if only a tiny one within a limited minority community. Inaction also is a choice with consequences too. She called what i had said victim-blaming, but I never said that the victims of transphobic violence were those who were prejudiced against the trans-attracted. I'm sure some victims were supportive of trans-attraction.
If anything one might conclude from my argument that some peoples vocal trans-attraction prejudice might have got other transgender people than themselves killed by contributing to the hostility towards the trans-attracted in parts of the trans community and the hostility towards trans sex workers and erotic models in parts of the trans community and the lack of inclusion of such in attempts to undo prejudice. It is worth considering that the seperation of trans people from the trans-attracted is very different from the situations of the Gay and Lesbian communities. But even then the majority of trans-attraction prejudice will still come from mainstream society. All groups even majorities are made up of individuals, so no-one gets out of having some responsibility, but some are of course vastly more powerful and influential than others. The violent conforming peer-pressure of much of male society will clearly have a far greater impact on that. But that doesn't make it ok to hold such a prejudice or to support it or to by inaction allow the prejudice to continue unoppossed.
Those transsexuals who are not interested in the trans-attracted still have an Ethical and Moral obligation to not foster prejudice against them just like a hetero cis male may not want gay cis men to find him attractive and ask him out but should not foster homophobia etc. The issues of problematic behaviour amongst parts of the trans-attracted population should definatly be addressed.. like problems in any closetted and/or repressed population caused by the closeting and the stigma. Internalised trans-attraction-phobia as well as general ignorance about the sex and gender diverse community (attraction doesn't come with knowledge automatically after all) will of course lead to all manner of problems that its in the interest of the entire community to fix. Yes the main cause of trans-attraction prejudice has been cis society but we all have to act against it. Sure problematic behaviour of some trans-attracted people gives them all a bad name but what minority is that not true for?
We all need to address this just as we all need to work on all human right issues and prejudices.
Especially if this is a cause of some of the transphobic violence suffered by the sex and gender diverse community!
It's late so i have no time for refining or proper editing so lets see how that goes. Discussion of these ideas is very welcome. As always i'm willing to explain further my thoughts and to hear oppossing views. I'm happy to learn i'm wrong about things. The all important part is the why of being wrong or right as that leads to greater knowledge.
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