How do you know if someone is trans? The difference between genital preference and bigotry.
Evey Winters has written a very interesting piece commenting on people who say they are not attracted to trans people. The question is: How do they know this? To give one example: Can you tell me which of the people depicted here are trans?
As Winters correctly points out no one is obligated to sleep with someone they do not want to sleep with.
But as Winters argues, if we’re going to talk about genital preferences and trans-exclusionary attitudes in dating, we can’t do this halfway. We have to look at the basis for the attitudes that make people say things like this.
You have no idea who’s trans
You can read the whole article here (and you should, especially if you want to respond to this post).
The main important point is this:
Your emotional response to another person will not be based on whether that person is trans or not, because you will – in most cases – not know whether this person is cis or trans.
The attractive man sitting next to you in the bar can be trans. The beautiful woman passing you in the street can be transgender.
Since most people do not expose their genitals in public, your immediate sexual attraction to other people is rarely influenced by what they have between their legs.
In other words: Your sexual attraction to other people is not based on whether they are trans or cis (non-transgender).
Winters takes this one step further:
A lot of you can’t tell if you’re sleeping with a trans woman. You have no idea. Many of you have slept with post-op trans women and have never known because they didn’t feel the need to tell you. More importantly, you don’t know that you haven’t slept with a post-op trans woman, do you? How would you prove it?
Look, if it were actually possible to exclude trans people from your dating pool, y’all would do so. But you can’t.
When you say, “I don’t date trans people,” what you mean to say is, “I feel bothered by the idea of dating my idea trans people.” And that is a very different discussion entirely.
Because even though you can’t avoid it, you feel some kinda way about us. If you think people don’t notice that subtext when you speak, well, I don’t know how to help you there.
Discussions about trans inclusion, or exclusion, in romance often reveal prejudices that we’ve all sort of decided not to talk about. For some reason, this particular conversation makes them fair game as rationales to promote abusive attitudes.
On genital preferences
As Winters points out, no one can stop you from having a “genital preference”.
The question we have to ask, however, is why someone would have to announce this to the world in the first place. If transgender people had not existed, the penis-oriented or vagina-oriented people would probably not have brought this issue up in conversations.
That tells us that in most cases the motivation is transphobia, not the fear of someone forcing them to sleep with a woman with a penis or a man with a vagina. Because no one is! Forcing them, I mean.
Winters puts it this way:
Let’s say you have a genital preference. The place this gets a little more questionable is why you felt like you needed to say it in the first place. And I think that’s on you to examine, but you always had the power to just privately decline to date or sleep with anyone you like.
What was it in you that made you decide to make a public service announcement about the genitals you prefer in partners? What stand are you making?
It’s ok to say it, I guess, but it’s one of those things that feels like an odd coincidence and is only something you bothered to say because of trans folks.
Still, any version of “I won’t date trans women because I don’t like penises,” or similar sentiments is where you’ve left the land of “preference,” and moved into repeating assumptions about our bodies.
Instead, if you’d like to avoid being rightfully called out on anti-trans sentiments in your writing and speech, try a version like this: “I only want to date women with vaginas, I’m not attracted to penises.” This is a perfectly valid expression of your wants and boundaries.
Let see how good you are at identifying transgender people. Who among the five persons depicted here are trans?
Illustration photos. No 1: Ranta Images. No 2: Nicolas McComber No 3: Aaron Amat. No 4: justhavealook. No 5: FG Trade.
Read the whole article here!
82 notes · View notes