Well, if you wanted you could always go stealth and not tell them you’re trans.
Isn’t Taylor a unisex name, though?
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man my son!
- Rudyard Kipling
you’ve already done most of that.
you’ll make it all the way, one day.
…wait…I thought it made it harder because of decreased sensitivity?
Or does it increase sensitivity?
- libido increases and everything turns you on, which makes it better
- orgasms last like ten times as long and so much more intense omg
- though in the case of the OP, I think he was probably referring to dick growth.
I totally understand the differences—however, I do believe that the sort of rhetoric is, if not the same, at least similar. Which may, on a broader level, be responsible for the instinctive recoiling?
I mean, if that’s the sort of rhetoric that’s getting used to convince cis lesbians (and I very specifically use lesbians, because I am one, and consequently cannot speak for queer women—and queer seems to be a much broader category anyways!) to see trans* women as viable partners, it’s not surprising that there’s this sort of backlash? I mean, it does sound very similar (at least to me), and that’s unfortunately the sort of rhetoric cis lesbians have had to deal with from het guys for a long time.
To address your other point: What then of pre- or non- op trans women? I mean, it’s their absolute right to do whatever they need to do to feel comfortable in their bodies. However, say someone has no attraction to phalluses whatsoever, and no desire to test that boundary. What then? Is it transphobic of them to avoid sexual relationships with trans* women?
As a thought experiment, that might actually explain a lot. Like, okay: it’s very hard to guess what’s in someone’s pants—it may be a phallus, it may be a vagina. Say someone doesn’t want ANY contact with a phallus, regardless of the gender of its owner. So: wanting to avoid the awkwardness of initiating sexual contact only to find out that they can’t follow through (and maybe get called transphobic/hateful), maybe said individual chooses not to engage in the first place?
That might explain the hesitance— but it’s also a very valid concern, because the individual would be caught in a seriously untenable situation. Leave, get called nasty names and have their motive misconstrued— or stay, and do something they’re not comfortable with.
I’d love to hear your opinions!
“However, say someone has no attraction to phalluses whatsoever, and no desire to test that boundary. What then? Is it transphobic of them to avoid sexual relationships with trans* women?”
It would be transphobic of them to avoid sexual relationships with trans* women who don’t have phalluses, but perhaps not with those who do.
The difference lies between declaring “I don’t want sexual relationships with trans* women” and “I don’t want sexual relationships that would involve a phallus”.
(and even that is questionable; how would you classify a ‘phallus’? Would you date a cis woman with an unnaturally large clit? or a castrated cis man? To some extent, our ideas of gendered body parts are social constructs.)
Fewer people would have problems with the latter; it’s the former that usually causes the most problems, because apart from assuming that all trans* women have phalluses, you’re also assuming that they’re into the kind of sexual acts that would involve them, which can be especially hurtful for trans* women who are extremely dysphoric about their genitalia and prefer sexual acts that don’t involve penetration or even them being completely naked.
There’s also the huge amount of negative connotations involved in blanketly declaring a refusal to date trans* women as opposed to specifically people-with-phalluses, because there’s little difference between that and genuinely-transphobic sentiment.
“So: wanting to avoid the awkwardness of initiating sexual contact only to find out that they can’t follow through (and maybe get called transphobic/hateful), maybe said individual chooses not to engage in the first place?”
From what I know, the vast majority of trans* people usually disclose things like the state of their genitals prior to initiating any sexual contact, or if things look like they might lead to sex. Which can be problematic in its way (because it places an added obligation on trans people to be upfront about bodies in a way that cis people are not, and can often lead to rejection). So I doubt this hypothetical is common. If someone is truly concerned about their sexual partner not having a phallus, then… just ask, in much the same way that you might be unwilling to date people who might be of a particular religion or political leaning.
Not to mention that: “maybe said individual chooses not to engage in the first place” -> if most cis people thought and behaved in such a way, there would be barely anyone who would ‘risk’ being open to trans* people; where all the cis people go off to have sexy funtiems and leave the trans* people to be forever alone (potentially also isolated from each other, because cis people far outnumber trans* people) until a pansexual wanders by. And that makes me sad.
out of curiosity - have you actually been in a situation where you were interested in a woman only to turn her down upon discovering that she was trans?
and since I thought this was interesting in further illustrating the variety of ways in which sexual attraction manifests for people, I’m leaving this quote from a faab genderqueer friend, currently dating a trans woman: “i have realized: i am interested in people who like their vaginas or want to have them, regardless of their actual gender identity or physical configuration. … i am attracted to mind vaginas. i can be with trans guys who like their vaginas. and i can be with trans girls who are pre-op but want vaginas, and who can only rly get off by considering their penis a clit. but with a trans guy who is all about having a penis and nothing else, or a trans girl who likes her penis, i can’t do that”
Oh, sorry for the confusion!
I believe, but am not sure, that it was posted by Ms C Brennan.
- That said, it feels a bit unsettling for someone to declare that they will NOT have trans* women sexual partners - primarily because trans women are a diverse group with diverse bodies, and should be judged as individuals rather than written off completely from the start
See, this is a bit concerning to me. I mean, unsettling though it may be, I have to reiterate that consent is paramount. I mean, the same example could be used (and is, albiet slightly less elegantly worded) by heterosexual men against lesbians.
There is no measurable difference between “a diverse group with diverse bodies, and should be judged as individuals rather than written off completely from the start” and “How do you know you don’t like men? Have you met every man in the world?”
It’s the same question—if someone doesn’t feel a desire for whatever reason, then that is fine and the decision should be respected without question. If that rhetoric is unacceptable for straight men to use against lesbians, it doesn’t get any better in the retelling, if you catch my drift.
- my problem with the screencapped comments had to do with how the writer seemed convinced that only the first type of lesbian existed.
That’s a radfem perspective, and though I can respect it, it’s not one I personally ascribe to. That being said, the OP does raise some valid points; namely that the context of the ‘cotton ceiling’ does relate, according to its creator, to the sexuality (which you posit means trans* sexuality, and I still have to wonder who the OTHER people in the equation are)—which as I’ve stated, is something I take particularly to heart.
- the argument that cis lesbians are universally unattracted to trans women on the basis of their genitals comes across as a bit creepy
See, I don’t see why. I suppose that’s a YMMV sort of moment; I would assume that it’s a matter of the ‘package deal’. As you say, it is possible to date outside of ‘type’, but if someone prefers their partners a specific way, I don’t know that it’s contingent upon US to declare it creepy. I mean, it’s their prerogative to limit their dating pool, right?
And I don’t know that anyone is saying that cis lesbians are UNIVERSALLY unattracted— plenty of lesbians, bi and pan women pair off with trans* women. I think it’s more accurate to say that a small subset of women aren’t attracted, and like I said, I have to say that it’s their prerogative. So long as they’re being respectful, of course.
- I’m not sure if the sexual preference argument would still hold
I’m of the opinion that it would. People have all kinds of preferences. Some kinksters won’t date vanilla. Some people prefer to date brunettes. Some won’t date people who don’t vote a specific way— but we don’t say that they must. So, for me, it all comes down to individual choice, and the fact that individuals shouldn’t be shamed for a choice that they make for themselves, harming noone.
“I mean, the same example could be used (and is, albiet slightly less elegantly worded) by heterosexual men against lesbians.”
Not really; though I guess I could have termed it better. By definition, all cis men are 1) men, and 2) barring accidents or other medical conditions, have a penis. So it’s fully understandable that a lesbian might declare that she’d never be attracted to a cis man. (there are a few who do date trans men, but that’s a different issue.)
But with trans women, you have people who are either:
1) women with penises
2) women with vaginas
and if lesbians are women who are attracted to people who are women and/or have vaginas, then it wouldn’t make sense for them to write off trans women as a whole, if a trans woman in question technically falls within their date-able people criteria.
“And I don’t know that anyone is saying that cis lesbians are UNIVERSALLY unattracted”
Ms. Brennan (if that’s her) seemed to be, so that was where my comment was directed at.
I see people writing wholly warranted posts about how men are sexist pigs, and i agree with them, and then i feel disgusted at myself for effectively wanting to be male as long as i can remember, not just in body, which is defendable, but in all those non-physical aspects of gender, which isn’t likewise defendable, and i hate myself and feel like a jerk for my persistent fantasies of being a regular guy. because i know what regular guys are like and what they do to people. and what kind of sick person must i be to want to be like that.
passively suicidal at the moment. in class so i won’t do anything. just regular self-hate from reading sj things. feeling helpless to do anything. hate my inability to be perfect. perhaps it’s an impossible goal, but i could always try harder, and i hate that i don’t because i’m selfish and i’m so tired and sometimes i put my wellbeing and happiness over that of others because it was killing me being sad all the time. but with happiness thus comes guilt. fml.
that way i would be cis, and also i wouldn’t have male privilege causing my existence to be inherently oppressive to women no matter what i do or how much i try not to hurt anyone
I’m not a trans woman (gay trans man here), but the fundamental problem with that entire OP is how it defines ‘lesbian’ as ‘cis lesbian’, and considers it unreasonable to expect them to be attracted to trans women. As well as assuming that all trans women have “peen”. As well as assuming that lesbians are genitally-obsessed people who are attracted to vaginas rather than to women, which I’d think is offensive not just to trans women but to many lesbians, cis and trans. As well as the constant wielding of cis privilege, placing cis lesbians’ health, comfort and happiness over that of trans womens’, which isn’t even considered in the least and practically treated as a joke.
also, given how that commentated-screencap was already pretty triggery for me - unleashing all my insecurities about how no self-respecting gay man would ever be truly attracted to me because I’m trans - I’d imagine it might be worse for someone who is actually a trans lesbian and reading that comment manifesto about how they’re not real lesbians and should gtfo the lesbian community because they make the *real lesbians* uncomfortable.
so you might want to get that taken care of before there can be further dialogue.
Hi there! I’ll try to address the points as they arise.
- the fundamental problem with that entire OP is how it defines ‘lesbian’ as ‘cis lesbian’, and considers it unreasonable to expect them to be attracted to trans women
And here I thought that I was very careful about that. Though I do use the term ‘trans* woman’ and ‘trans* lesbian’, that’s for clarification purposes. As you’ll note, I’m very staunch in my belief that trans* women are women and that they are entitled to a space in the lesbian community.
HOWEVER, having said that, I also firmly believe that consent is paramount and that any individual person has the right to choose their own partners. If that means they choose NOT to have trans* women sexual partners, that is a choice we must respect (so long as they are, in turn, respectful about it. No one’s entitled to rudeness). Hopefully that clarifies this point.
- As well as assuming that lesbians are genitally-obsessed people who are attracted to vaginas rather than to women, which I’d think is offensive not just to trans women but to many lesbians, cis and trans
With all due respect, you’re a gay trans* man. Consequently, your opinions as to the lesbian community aren’t going to really be as important as those views of the people in the community. Some lesbians ARE attracted to vaginas, and that is fine. Some are attracted to a broader scope of genitalia, and both of those manifestations of lesbianism are fine. What bothers me about the concept of the ‘cotton ceiling’ is the implication that any individual is entitled to the sexual availability of anyone else—and that it appears to do so by coersive means.
(For example, “Genitally obsessed” for someone who simply prefers a specific organ, OR “transphobic” for someone who doesn’t want to engage in sexual relations with a given individual. Shaming someone for a sexual preference just isn’t right.)
- As well as the constant wielding of cis privilege, placing cis lesbians’ health, comfort and happiness over that of trans womens’, which isn’t even considered in the least and practically treated as a joke.
Now that’s one hell of an assertion! I’d like to see some evidence of my supposed cis privilege, or where I specifically state that I am placing the interests of cis women over those of trans* women. Please, by all means, show me.
Likewise, I’d be especially interested in whatever statement gave you the impression I considered trans* women a joke—or treated them in any disrespectful manner. If you want to make assertions, fine, but please be willing to provide evidence to back up the inflammatory statements.
- given how that commentated-screencap was already pretty triggery for me
While I am very sorry you were triggered, the screencap makes a valid point, and as such was included. I cannot be held responsible for the million potential triggers in the world, and as such, please be aware that this blog is frequently un-trigger warned, and proceed accordingly.
- I’d imagine it might be worse for someone who is actually a trans* lesbian
This is perhaps true. Having said that: dissenting opinions are still valid ones, and will be presented if they support a specific point or argument. That’s just blog rules. Please read the Salient Points page for more information—because I agree with certain facets of a post doesn’t mean I endorse the whole thing.
As it so happens—I agree with Ms Brennan that the naming alone of Overcoming The Cotton Ceiling workshop sounds coercive and manipulative (especially seeing as how the Cotton Ceiling refers to underwear and thus, sexual availability). However, Ms Brennan and I part ways at issues of radfem ideology—I firmly believe that trans* women are women. Consequently, I address them as such—as members of the lesbian community, their trans* status does not protect them from critique or criticism in matters of lesbian community… nor should it.
- so you might want to get that taken care of before there can be further dialogue.
Thanks for the concern, but I’m rather fond of myself as is. If you have any further points, though, feel free to address them!
Firstly, my accusations weren’t targetted at you but to the person who’d made the comments in the screencap; sorry for any misunderstanding there!
“HOWEVER, having said that, I also firmly believe that consent is paramount and that any individual person has the right to choose their own partners. If that means they choose NOT to have trans* women sexual partners, that is a choice we must respect”
I agree with this to some extent - yes, I also firmly believe that consent is paramount and no one should feel obligated to be attracted to people they are not attracted to. That said, it feels a bit unsettling for someone to declare that they will NOT have trans* women sexual partners - primarily because trans women are a diverse group with diverse bodies, and should be judged as individuals rather than written off completely from the start. Using a racial analogy - I would be similarly disturbed if a white person were to declare that they choose never to date a black person; while this may be true, exceptions do sometimes happen, people change their minds when they find someone whom they love, and I know of cis lesbians with trans girlfriends who might have previously thought they’d never date a trans woman, but then they fell in love with one.
“Some lesbians ARE attracted to vaginas, and that is fine. Some are attracted to a broader scope of genitalia, and both of those manifestations of lesbianism are fine.”
yes, definitely. So my problem with the screencapped comments had to do with how the writer seemed convinced that only the first type of lesbian existed.
Regarding the genitally-obsessed term: I don’t speak for everyone, but I know that on my part, I never need to see someone’s genitals before I decide whether or not I find them attractive. I usually make that judgement while they’re fully clothed. So the argument that cis lesbians are universally unattracted to trans women on the basis of their genitals comes across as a bit creepy; not to mention that there are lots of trans women who are post-op and barely distinguishable from cis women in that area. In that latter instance, I’m not sure if the sexual preference argument would still hold, because if a given lesbian is attracted to vaginas and the trans woman in question has one, then would she have a basis to reject her purely because she is trans?
How loud and often can we say this? THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CISPHOBIA. There is no irrational hatred or fear of cisgender people.
What do I mean, you ask? Only that there is no possible way for a trans person to actually use a cisphobic epithet, because cisphobia is emphatically not a thing in our society. It isn’t. End of story.
Just think about that the next time you, cisgender person, think about calling a trans person out for getting angry at you and using violent, seemingly “cisphobic” rhetoric. Think about why you feel entitled to police the anger of trans people without regard to why or how a cisgender person offended them in the first place.
I’m a trans person and still think I deserve the right to condemn things like ‘die cis scum’ as cisphobic (not to mention counterproductive, unless someone can explain how trans people killing cis people will advance trans rights in any way), and the same for people advocating violence against cis people, kthx.
- is sexist
- is heteronormative
- commodifies sex
- commodifies young cis-het white women
- contributes to rape culture
- contributes to slut-shaming
- erases queer folk
- erases transfolk
- frames a woman’s worth as inversely proportional to the number of dicks that have been inside her
wtf I’m a feminist gay trans non-white guy and a virgin and I DON’T SEE HOW MY VIRGINITY IS ANY OF THOSE.
I’ll have sex *if and when* I want to, kthx.
virginity-shaming is just as bad as slut-shaming, perhaps more so, because it’s sometimes framed as being feminist. when it’s not. STOP PLACING VALUES ON OTHER PEOPLE’S SEX LIVES OR THE LACK THEREOF.
also that last one: sooo cis lesbians and pre-op trans women and other women who don’t intend to or can’t have dicks inside them don’t count any more, amiright? WHO’S ERASING QUEER AND/OR TRANS FOLK NOW?
a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?
If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.” —
Caitlin Moran, How To Be A Woman (via callmeclinton)
…I’m trying to figure out if this is necessarily cissexist or not. because yeah, I answer ‘yes’ to both ‘a’ and ‘b’, don’t really know why it would make me a feminist even though I am, especially when I know lots of feminists who don’t, but then again the thing doesn’t say that you need to answer ‘yes’ to both ‘a’ and ‘b’ in order to be considered a feminist, which would cover pre-bottom-surgery trans women and cis men, but on the other hand there are also lots of pre-bottom-surgery trans men who have vaginas they want to be in charge of but are still virulently misogynist, which I’d think would make them not feminists, and I think I’m overthinking this. /o\
Wow, I really didn’t ever plan to talk about gender identity here. Whoops.
Is it still dysphoria if you don’t think of yourself as trans?
I’m curious - what makes you think you’re a cis girl? You sound like you’re at least genderqueer, and quite possibly a (gay) trans guy, because the stuff you write is definitely not at all typical of cis girl experience.
also, a person does not ‘become’ trans. a trans person is a trans person, regardless of whether or not they transition.
I’m not all read-up and trans*/queer* terms so maybe I’m wrong, but as far as I understand being a cis girl would mean I was born with a vagina and identify as a female, which I do.
I guess I could be genderqueer, but I’m not sure what that’d mean exactly. I just know that having only a vagina 100% of the time is pretty unsatisfying.
& whoops. I’m sorry about that, my mistake.
hmm, interesting. some possibilities:
1) I’ve heard of cis girls who still experience genital dysphoria and feel that they should have had male bits there instead of female bits, despite still identifying as female. This possibly has some neurological basis; just like how there are trans people who are fine with their genitals in terms of gender, there are cis people who are not.
2) What do you mean exactly when you describe yourself as heterosexual? Do you just mean ‘attracted to men’, or specifically, ‘attracted to men as a woman?’ Because that part of your post resonated a lot with me, and one of the first things that made me more certain of being trans was how I was attracted to men, but in a gay rather than straight way, and was likewise extremely uncomfortable with the thought of having sex as a girl, to the point I considered myself on the asexual spectrum (and occasionally as a lesbian who was exclusively attracted to guys, which completely defeats the purpose of lesbianism).
3) Genderqueer people are those who identify as neither male or female, or a bit of both, or where their gender identity is in a state of flux.
Also, what exactly do you mean when you say you identify as female? Is it about your gender identity (inner sense of being male or female) or just gender expression (being masculine/feminine)? Some trans guys are feminine, some trans girls are masculine.
What is it about being born as a cis guy that is appealing with you? Is it just the anatomical aspect, or identifying as male as well?
Hmm. I don’t know if I can say that I feel like I was born the wrong gender. I think a lot of my discomfort comes from gender inequality and my own fear that I just won’t ever be seen on the same level as a potential male partner when it comes to sex. And idk I don’t really want to try and explain that any better.
Would it make sense if I said I’m attracted to men both as a woman and a man? Because most of the time I’m comfortable with the idea of being with a guy the way I am now, but other times I’ll look at gay porn or something and get really upset because that’s what I want to do, but I can’t.
I guess I could be genderqueer in that I’d like to somehow be able to be both a man and a woman? I don’t know. I express myself as feminine for the most part.
The anatomical aspect is a big part of it, yeah. I want a dick. And I know that having a dick doesn’t automatically make you a man and having a vagina doesn’t mean you’re a woman, but I have a hard time not connecting the two. I don’t feel like I could identify as a man without a penis.
I’m sorry if I’m not explaining things very well.
yeah, you sound like you might be genderqueer and/or genderfluid (where your gender identity isn’t static, but changes).
If - gender inequality and all that other social stuff aside - you could choose an ideal body, what would that be? If your answer would be a conventionally-male body, then you might more likely be a trans guy (though not necessarily; there are genderqueer people and the rare woman who would say the same); if you’d rather have a body that could magically switch sexes at will, you’re more likely to be genderfluid.
“I don’t feel like I could identify as a man without a penis.”
Would you be more comfortable identifying as a woman with a vagina or identifying as a man with a penis, if you had the respective body parts? If the latter, you probably have a male gender identity.
I currently have similar problems fully identifying as male because of my genital configuration, but pre-T I was never able to fully identify as female despite my body, and in a hypothetical situation where I had a regular male body, I know I’d then have no problems identifying fully as male. So for that I consider myself a trans guy.