Trans Women Are Amazing

If more men, cis and trans, came out to talk openly about dating trans women, less trans women would be subject to violence and murder.

Morgan M. Page, July 26th, 2016

I like trans women.

No, we’re adults, let’s not be coy: I am sexually attracted to trans women.

Saying that, or writing that, sounds strange and fetishistic. That’s one of the reasons I’m writing this. We’re here in Transgender Awareness Month, and while I’m generally cynical about “awareness” as a method of social change, in light of what women like Morgan M. Page and others have said, I think this situation could use some airing.

Thanks to social media, over the last few years I’ve made the acquaintance or sometimes even the friendship of wonderful, talented trans women; it seems only natural that I’d fall for some of them.

There’s a lot to talk about in such a simple statement as “I find trans women attractive.” I worry about it, and not necessarily for the reasons you might guess.

First of all, to trans women, I worry about sounding like a chaser, basically someone who likes trans women solely because they are trans. I think the exact definition and opinion of chasers varies from woman to woman, but in general I get the impression they can be a bit creepy and obsessed with genitalia. Being interested in someone sexually tends to involve a bit of thinking about private parts anyway, but having had or not had top and/or bottom surgery isn’t something I hinge my attraction or acknowledgement of a trans woman’s womanhood upon.

I’d be lying, though, if I said “being trans” doesn’t play some part in my attraction to trans women. It’s certainly something I mull over: is that bad to think? It is transphobic? Trans women are women, and cis women are women, but trans women are not cis women and vice versa. I don’t know exactly how to talk about that, not just in the context of this blog but even to myself. Honestly in daily interactions it never comes up; I flirt with trans women in pretty much the same way I flirt with cis women. “Being trans” isn’t the entirety of why I might find a woman attractive, but it can be a part of why, and that’s as far as my current understanding goes. All I can really do is work on improving my perspective as time goes on.

When it comes to other cis folks, I’d like to think—at least among people I know and trust—that the reaction to what I’ve said is: No big deal. Were that the whole world was so easy. I don’t have to imagine disgust, or calls of “Well, don’t you like cis women?” (Or, to be more honest about how they’d put it, the awful “Well, don’t you like real women?”) I’ve seen those things. I’ve listened to men say them. Men who probably watch transgender porn, because a lot—and I mean a LOT—of cisgender men do.

I can’t say those things don’t affect me, or that I absolutely don’t have concerns about them. I do. I live in this society, I come up against my privileges just like anyone else. Yet a year or two ago I read something by a trans woman, which I can only paraphrase because despite my efforts to track down the quote I couldn’t find it. Basically, if all the men who watched trans porn stood up for the rights of trans women, they would have nothing to fear.

There are of course other men who’ve written about being attracted to trans women. Several have been published by major outlets. Laverne Cox even had some things to say about men who like trans women. One thread I always see running through these articles, and it’s one that irks me, is the constant reassuring to straight cis men that liking trans women doesn’t make them gay. Are we truly so fragile that we need this constant coddling?

The answer is a resounding yes. We are immensely fragile about our manhood and our identities as heterosexuals that men kill trans women they are attracted to because they are attracted to them. That is quite frankly one of the most fucked up things in the world. As actress Jen Richards says:

There’s a huge bag of homophobia and transphobia right here. It literally kills people. That’s why it is important for men to talk about this, and talk about it openly, respectfully, and aware.

Just like cis women, not all trans women are interested in men, but for those who are, the risk of being involved with cisgender men can be extreme. The responsibility doesn’t fall on those women not to be attracted to men; it’s on us men to stop constantly reinforcing the awful culture we’ve created. We’re not going to do that by staying silent.

“If cis men do not get engaged in conversations about the trans women they date WITH the trans women they date we’ll continue to see violence”

Morgan M. Page, October 11th, 2016

I also worry that these words fall flat because I haven’t actually dated any trans women. I’m more likely to meet cis women in my day-to-day life anyway, and in a small, conservative-ish city like my own those odds are even greater. Yet I knew I liked cis women long before I ever dated them, and no one would question that. I’m not worried about “actually” being into trans women. A much more real concern, one I know trans women often have to grapple with, is if I’d suddenly give in to that societal shame and say, “I can’t do this.”

Of course, the Internet helps with making connections, but then there are the issues of distance and resources. There is, at this very moment, a woman I’m quite taken with but I lack the funds to take any real steps toward seeing that further. And I’m generally petrified of dating apps. But these are things for me to sort out on my own.

Trans women are awesome, they’re funny, they’re hot, they’re smart. They don’t deserve any of the shit they get on a constant basis. This single blog post isn’t going to change the world, or make life better for them, but like so many other things we need to start talking. In an increasingly hostile world such as the one we’re facing, with the US election looming in two days’ time, we have to start doing something because people are dying.

I’ll continue to give trans women the support I’ve tried to, and be more honest about my affections.