So You Can Fuck Us; What’s Next? Going Beyond Sex With Trans Women

I’m writing this article centering experiences of trans women of color, though other trans women may relate as well. I’m discussing our disposability, lack of desirability, and offering strategies to combat transmisogyny within our communities. I speak on behalf of myself, the experiences I’ve collected, and possible solutions. What’s stated here may not be true of every trans woman’s experience, and this isn’t an article that is asexual inclusive since I do not have experience or knowledge with those experiences.


As part of Trans Awareness Week, I think it’s incredibly important to talk about dating and having sex with trans women. We have a legacy of being queer that is often erased in narratives about trans womanhood, and this article aims to bring that up while also pushing this discussion further than just having sex with us.

I read this incredible article about having sex with trans women, and there’s also a pretty comprehensive zine called Fucking Trans Women that I would recommend though I have only skimmed it. After seeing both of these exhaustive resources on how to gender a trans woman’s body and how to have sex with her, I began thinking of how people already only value us for sex. It’s definitely important to have great affirming sex and less awkward or awful moments, and I want to push this conversation forward about loving trans women beyond sex.

Abbygail Wu and her wife Wu Zhiyi via http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news32127.html

Abbygail Wu and her wife Wu Zhiyi
via whatsonxiamen.com

It’s within my experience, and the experience of at least a dozen trans women of color that I know, that we are the first to be disposed of in intimate relationships. By “disposed of,” I mean when life gets hectic for our partner(s), we are the ones who take the least priority and are the first “stressor” to be cut off. This is definitely an acceptable thing to do when someone is genuinely having their life fall apart and cannot maintain a relationship, so I am not advocating that every person stay in a relationship with a trans woman in every situation. I’m simply noting a theme that has been true for me and many trans women I’ve talked to about intimate relationships. I mean, what reason could you have for breaking up with us but maintaining a relationship (sexual, romantic, or a mixture of both) with other people? If your life is in shambles, wouldn’t it make sense to not be with anyone? Why are trans women the first to be cut off, and the only people to be cut off?

I feel like the answer of “transmisogyny” doesn’t explain enough. It’s because we are not valued as lovers, partners, or long-term relationships. The recent cultural trend of supporting trans women has made us highly prized assets; somehow you can prove your radicalness by being the example of someone who has worked through transmisogyny enough to view us as worthy of sex and love. But what kind of love views us as disposable? What kind of love makes us the casual fuck buddy while you pursue romantic interests with non-trans women?

Russian couple Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova via http://instinctmagazine.com/post/same-sex-couple-legally-marries-russia-causes-outrage

Russian couple Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova
via instinctmagazine.com

There are other patterns I noticed with trans women of color, and I’m gonna break these down a little bit, depending on how complex I want to get with them:

When we are in poly relationships, we get the least amount of time and/or emotional investment.

I’ve seen and experienced trans women being the least prioritized in poly relationships. Again, because we aren’t seen as valuable of long-term relationships or emotional investment, we are treated like sex experiments for Radical Points without being centered in another’s life. I’ve had a few conversations where TWOC admitted that they didn’t want to be in poly relationships, but didn’t think anyone would seriously commit to being monogamous with them. This has led to flexing our boundaries in order to have some semblance of love in our lives rather than nothing.

We are left or cheated on for lighter-skinned/white trans masculine people.

It is seriously a community trauma. Almost every queer trans woman I know has experienced being devalued for someone lighter-skinned or white, and/or masculine. This is probably one of the worst damages done to a TWOC because it has led to lots of feelings of self-loathing and questioning of self-worth. We are constantly resisting white supremacy. We are viewed as the opposite of cis white men, and to be left for a cis white man can lead to feelings of inadequacy and undesirability. Especially in situations where we are cheated on for white masculine folks, that deception and betrayal cuts deep into self-esteem because the message is “a white masculine person is worth the ending of our relationship.”

Sofia Burset and her wife, Crystal from Orange is the New Black

Sofia Burset and her wife, Crystal from Orange is the New Black

We are often the “first” for someone, regardless if they’re straight or queer.

Being The First for someone, regardless if they’re queer or straight, is one hell of a roller coaster. Since there’s so many narratives of trans women being loved in secrecy, it’s terrifying to be out in public with a First Timer since we are viewed as “giving them away.” I’ve tried to shrink myself, talk less, and become hypersensitive of my body instead of feeling present. As the article “Trans Women + Sex = Awesome” states, if you’re going to be with a trans woman for the first time, process that shit with your friends or therapist or family first before you place that responsibility onto us.

We bear the weight of stigma for our partners being attracted to us and being seen with us in public.

Related to my last point, we bear the stigma any person faces for dating us, especially straight cis men. Since cis men’s straightness is called into question for being with a trans woman, this can lead to a lot of issues with intimacy. We become the scapegoat, which can leave us susceptible to violence (Janet Mock writes about this here). We become the reason that cis men’s sexuality is invalidated. It takes a lot for cis men to own up to their desires towards us, especially when it involves sex *and* romance beyond bedroom dates. The best way for anyone to approach their attraction to trans women is being fiercely unapologetic about it to your social circles, and exposing us to as little of the lash back as possible.

Additionally, lesbians also face stigma for dating us because we aren’t seen as “real women.” This transmisogyny has been persistent in many lesbian communities because a strong basis for their identity is not having sex with a penis, which makes the assumption that all trans women have penises or want to use their penis in sex. Many lesbian or queer women’s spaces have made space for trans men but not for trans women. I encourage cis lesbians to talk to each other about why this is, to undo their transmisogyny of viewing penises as revolting, and de-centering the idea that being a lesbian requires an aversion to penis or that lesbians cannot be in relationships with women who have penises.

We don’t get asked out on dates in queer spaces, and there’s a lack of sexual tension that many other queers share with each other.

This is real. In my 3+ years in queer spaces as a trans woman, I haven’t been asked out on a date. Most TWOC I know haven’t been asked out on dates by other queers. This often leaves us to dating straight men who do initiate contact with us, or we have to pursue romantic/sexual interests ourselves.

This notion that trans women are only straight stems from outdated medical guidelines around gender identity that created the idea that to be a “legitimate” woman meant being heterosexual. Trans women have a legacy of being queer, including Sylvia Rivera and her partner Julia Murray. Fallon Fox, an MMA fighter, is also in a relationship with a woman and I, too, am centered on dating, loving, and desiring femmes and women. Queer/lesbian trans women exist, and we’re worthy of the risk of being asked out just like every other queer.

We are viewed as supporting patriarchy by dating straight cis men.

Honestly, in my experience, I have found cis straight men who have handled and viewed me as a woman more readily and steadfast than cis queers. It is incredibly validating having cis straight men view you as a woman worthy of desire and love. I have had transformative sex with cis men who have unapologetically embraced my body in ways that countless queers have not. There’s been this hesitancy with queers who are afraid of my body, or who have not worked through their transmisogyny that makes them disgusted by my body. I know the focus of this article is on love, and when sex is tainted by disgust, that prevents folks from Making Love to us. By saying we are supporting patriarchy by being in relationships with cis men, you are denying us healthy, supportive, and loving relationships. And you can go fuck yourself for that.

Sylvia Rivera and her partner Julia Murray with Randy Wicker.  Photos by Randy Wicker & Diane Daives

Sylvia Rivera and her partner Julia Murray with Randy Wicker.
Photos by Randy Wicker & Diane Daives

…and also, I dream of finding a femme or woman who has dated trans women before. As much as cis straight men are accessible to me now, my sexuality and desires are still centered on finding love and partnership with a femme or woman.

*Inhale of a deep breath*
*Exhale of a deep breath*

My goal in talking about these patterns was to make other aware of what trans women have to deal with when dating. I mean, there are simple things like Don’t Lie To Your Partner(s) that every person should know, but can always use some repeating because it’s still a problem. If you see yourself doing any of these things (putting the burden of being a First Timer on your trans woman partner, desiring whiteness and/or masculinity over your trans woman partner, giving trans women the least amount of your resources/time/intimacy, etc), seriously ask yourself why you’re being such an asshole and talk about it with people who aren’t your trans woman partner.

I know we’re magical and powerful and amazing and magnificent and can handle tons of shit, but maybe try to make our lives easier and enjoyable and relaxing instead? That’d be nice.


November 14th-20th is Trans Awareness Week, leading up to Trans Day of Remembrance on the 20th. This is a week where we raise visibility for trans people and address issues that affect the trans community. For Trans Awareness Week this year, we’ve asked several of our favorite TWoC writers to come in and share their thoughts and experiences with us. TWoC started the entire LGBTQ movement in the U.S. And they continue to be the victims of most of the anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination. If we aren’t centering things on them, we are failing.


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Luna Merbruja is a Mexican-Athabaskan writer, artist, healer, and performer. They're the author of Trauma Queen and the forthcoming poetry book Heal Your Love. They have written about race, gender, sexuality, healing, and feminism for Autostraddle and EverydayFeminism, and is published in the anthology Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic. They're currently a book editor at biyuti publishing and a project advisor for Mirror Memoirs.

Luna has written 3 articles for us.

90 Comments

  1. 0

    I am a white transgender female , and lesbian. I would let a cis lesbian fuck me if she would do it looking into my eyes, and seeing the love I feel for her. Because I only want sex from any woman if it comes from loving who I am in my heart….as a female. But I think most cis lesbians are not knowledgeable about the truth that being transgender is a real thing. Until they learn and accept us as females, just as much as they are……… They are the “patriarchy” of our lives.

    • 1

      Lesbians are the patriarchy of your lives as trans women? Are you serious?

      “The ACTUAL patriarchy perpetuates problems like male violence and housing/employment discrimination against me, but that’s child’s play compared to those lesbians WHO WON’T FUCK ME!”

      That’s literally what you’re implying.

      • 0

        Sorry if I overstated the power you have over us. Just was trying to point out how important cis lesbians’ acceptance of us as female gendered, regarding our self image, is.
        Power is what corrupts and allows injustice….male or female, I believe.
        I only meant you have that power of acceptance that we need.

    • 0

      That’s good to hear someone say, because I’m pretty sure there are a lot of trans women who don’t entirely believe it. I’m a (white) trans woman, and I’m not entirely sure I do. I think my last partner reminded me too many times how lucky I was that she was willing to be with me. And was way too reluctant to disclose to certain of her friends that we were in a relationship, so much so that I would have to pretend we were “just friends” in front of certain people. Since she broke up with me, some years ago, I haven’t even tried to be in a relationship. Being alone seems easier.

      • 0

        Donna I wish I could give you a great big hug right now. I’m a cis woman but I have some idea of what it is like to be in a relationship with someone who makes you feel like that and it is a soul destroying form of abuse. Nobody ever deserves to be made to feel unworthy by someone who claims to love them.

        I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world that my partner ever looked twice at me, let alone wants to spend the rest of her life with me. She is so intelligent and passionate and loving and silly and exasperating and breath-takingly beautiful that I can’t imagine why she is willing to put up with me. None of that is because she is trans but it’s not in spite of it either, it’s all just part of the woman I love.

        I don’t know you at all but I’m absolutely certain that somewhere out there is someone who would love you for who you are and not treat you like your ex did.

        • 0

          Technically i agree with Donna, despite my own attempts to use my cis privilege solely as firepower for the good of us as a couple – because i know only two cis/trans lesbian couples from a sample of like 30 (i have [legitimate] access to normally restricted resources) which aren’t in a clearly abusive/deficient relationship. And one of those still has a chance of crashing in fire – either over politicopseudoreligion or sexual matters when next summer their self imposed limits are no more. That is not good statistics.

  2. 0

    Thanks for writing this! I found it a little difficult to read because pieces that stem from pain and anger are often difficult to “hear” as well. I started to feel defensive, like no no, we are not out to use you and leave you for a cis white dude (because I hear some version of this a lot too from lesbians, since I am bi) but I am so glad you wrote this from your perspective because it really opens my eyes to feelings I can’t exactly identify with, but I can understand on a different level. It seems these are experiences that are far more common than I would expect or hope, so I understand where the exasperation with feeling like a sexual object that can be discarded at the fist sign of stress comes from. I’m sorry this is such a common experience among trans people. I’m also glad Autostraddle can provide a huge platform and safe space to communicate.

  3. 0

    ^ aha. also some women are dead practical and realise they despite the hype don’t really need the reproductive options bc won’t use them anyway. And the social bonus from gf’s genetic advantage and repro health marker ladder ratings means less than the very tangible real life advantage of fewer returns to the manufacturer because the gaming/nerdery mode doesn’t turn on.

  4. 0

    Wow, yeah… Trans lesbian (who is white) here, and a lot of this article rings very true for me, too. Especially the last part, which hits home because it really sucks to be simultaneously accepted and rejected by our community. It’s sort of like calling customer service and having them tell you there’s nothing they can do to help: the individual on the phone really isn’t responsible, and blowing up at them isn’t going to improve things or make you feel better, but they are part of the system that isn’t working. Having the queer women’s community allow us into their space, but only as a platonic participant, isn’t any one queer cis woman’s problem. But when an individual data point becomes a trend, it’s hard not to hold the entire class responsible, even if there’s not any simple or straightforward solutions.

    I think that’s probably enough whinging for one day, though, can’t let the weight of the world get me down 🙂

  5. 0

    I’m a white queer trans woman, but I’d like to add one thing which I think is important for potential partners of trans women to understand:

    Don’t patronize us. Seriously. If you’re a woman, then you should realize that we have been women just as long as you have: all our lives.

    Among cis queers who date or partner trans women, infantalization is a big fucking problem. People consider us as “fledgling” women, and think that our womanhood is a new and fragile thing. It’s important to realize how much cis people create and enforce that perspective, especially when dating us. Trans women are not fragile, but we have fragility thrust upon us by a culture that tries to break us and expects us to crack, that expects us to already be broken.

    I think sometimes cis queers who want to date trans women are inclined to view us as projects, or seedlings, or whatever variant of that metaphor you like. We’re not yet full grown, not yet put together. We need to be guided. And while I think there’s a kernel of kindness in there somewhere, the fact is that treating your partner as if they aren’t capable in and of themselves creates an uneven power dynamic and reinforces harmful tropes bout trans women that a lot of us have to work really hard to unlearn.

    In short, if you start with an assumption that the trans woman you’re interested is not your equal, then you’ve already poisoned the well.

    • 0

      YES to this. I feel like this reply needs to be its own article.

      There are a lot of very trans woman-specific problems that get some much needed space in the above article. It is very true that there seems to be more than enough space in queer and dyke communities for trans men, but for trans men who primarily partner with cis gay men, this is such a thing.

      I’ve frequently got the feeling that I’m seen as the cute, but immature and uninitiated tag-along kid brother who should be thankful that I’m being invited to sit at the grown up table by cis gay men who are often my age or younger who think they’re being really “nice” or “down” or whatever. I wanna print this out and put it on wallet-sized index cards to be like “this is what you’re actually doing right now, and this is why I don’t want to be your ‘first'”.

      Sometimes I wonder if it has something to do with the media obsession with trans children and early-transition narratives that neglect the reality that that most trans people are grown-ass adults who live entire lives following transition. Whatever it is, the shit runs rampant with social justice queers especially, and I was happy to hear someone put it into words.

    • 0

      I’m glad you brought this up…I’ve been guilty of doing this myself. My fiance can tell you a couple of funny stories about how I attempted to help her embrace womanhood when she came out five years ago. Things like suggesting that she wear pastels and floral prints, use words like “butt” instead of “ass” to sound more feminine. She rightly informed me that she was going to do womanhood her own way, dammit, with tomboyish clothes and the right to speak however she chose.
      I’ve thankfully become a more informed ally since then. Glad she was patient with me! But yes, even if a trans woman has had less lived experience being perceived as a female, her womanhood is every bit as authentic as a cis woman’s.

  6. 0

    I really like this article, because as a white cis lesbian, I can recognise very little of the experiences. I also happen to not know any trans women particularly well, and those who I have met are white.

    I super love this article because at first it made me feel defensive. But then I realised that’s exactly how the ‘not all men’ blokes feel with regards to street harassment etc. And my advice to those men is always, ‘this is happening, listen’. So now I get to take my own advice. This is an experience I should listen to, and I’m very grateful for you sharing it with me. Thank you, I now have a lot to think about.

    • 0

      The dynamics described in this article amount to something VERY different than “MRAs demanding for women to engage in relationships with them”! MRAs or “Nice Guys” feel entitled through their male privilege to demand sex and romantic intimacy from women. This article describes a truly gross and painfully familiar dynamic where transwomen, particularly twoc, are made to feel undeserving of safety and love in their relationships with the same cisgender queer women who enjoy a certain queer activist street cred through their (hollow) declarations of trans-allyship.

        • 0

          You seem to be assuming that the following people cannot identify as lesbians: 1) people who are sexually and/or romantically intimate with transwomen 2) trans women.

          This article doesn’t especially revolve around “lesbian” as an identity marker, but since it’s one I use myself and am keen to recuperate from its frequent association with radfem transphobic bile:

          Lesbians love women and transwomen are women

          And to suggest otherwise is both tiresome and hateful, and ultimately derails this conversation about how cis-lesbians (and plenty of otherwise identified queermos) obviously need to do a much, much better job of loving transwomen.

          • 0

            Yes Laura. The reason why those two can’t be considered lesbians is the exact same reason why a Kinsey 5 can’t be considered a lesbian but ‘political lesbians’ can. It’s called colonising of our sexuality by ideology.

    • 0

      True, no female owes sex and relationships. I would also grant that she does not owe anyone an examination of her motives. This works in all directions equally. No female owes voluntary information and a medical record access either. And no lesbian owes reverence and respect to a 20th century pseudoreligion – and therefore does not need to examine why she DOES date trans chicks. ‘Because :P’ is a completely sufficient answer, and one i stand by personally.

      So it all devolves to an opposed contest of your and other women’s physical abilities. Her power against yours, her biomechanic tuning against your visual field resolution and depth, her discipline vs your passion. Fact is, for every arbitrarily chosen fish in the sea there is always a bigger fish. And not only bigger per se and with bigger names on quickdial but also one with across the board better infosec and higher tech.

      Knowledge, as they completely truthfully say, is power – and even if i tried i could not think of a reason why you would deserve power over random other women…and cannot think of a scenario where you are going to be handed it on a platter. I have reasonably drilled into my three lovely transsexual women, my gf and and two close friends, the meaning of Sparta’s (and NRA’s) ‘molon labe’, applied to life in general – to not give any advantage to the likes of you out of fear, or habit, or perceived odds, or perceived fairness, or respect, or homage to your ideals – and making you come and get every single byte and bit of power over her personally.

  7. 0

    This was so important to read, thank you! As a cis woman, I’m always demanding that people unlearn their ideas about assumed heterosexuality wrt ME, but I haven’t been doing the same for my trans sisters and that is wrong of me, and I’m sorry. Thank you for bringing that to my attention so I can change!!

  8. 0

    “After seeing both of these exhaustive resources on how to gender a trans woman’s body and how to have sex with her”

    If you ever find the time to read rather than just skim “Fucking Trans Women”, I think you’ll find that there’s a lot more going on there than “how to gender a trans woman’s body and how to have sex with her”. I spent three years working on that zine. It’s 80 pages long. Is it about sex? Yes, and the focus is on how WE get the sex WE want. The primary intended audience is trans women, the secondary intended audience is people we sleep with.

    Before you characterize my work you might do me the small courtesy of actually reading it.

    • 0

      And honestly, if you don’t have a copy yet, I’d be happy to comp you a copy to read so that you can at least say you read it, even if you don’t like it or disagree with some of the things I have to say. Seriously, let me know. It rubs me the wrong way for my writing to be mischaracterized and for you to admit that you didn’t even read it :/

      • 0

        Ahhh Mira can I just say I **LOVE** your zine and have it out on display in my living room ’cause I think it is an important read! It’s also a super powerful zine (one of my favorites ever really). I have it out because it’s SUPER educational and in-your-face and honest about everything and I just want every person who comes into my household to read it.

        I was sad to see the start of this article began by dismissing your hard work that was so important and life-changing for me, as a genderqueer dfab person. Fucking Trans Women, Whipping Girl, and Stone Butch Blues have all shaped who I am as a queer person and yeah. ANYWAYS. THANK YOU.

  9. 0

    This was a great and very informative article. I hope that with greater understanding of their needs and desires, more trans* ladies will be able to find partners who treat them as well as we all deserve to be treated.

    One small point: I imagine the idea that it is necessary to “undo the transmisogyny of viewing penises as revolting” is quite controversial, is there any critical material someone could link me on this issue, so I can educate myself?

    • 0

      Leaving aside the issue of finding penises “revolting,” I don’t happen to agree that it’s trans-misogynistic not to want to have sex with someone with a penis. Some people just don’t find them sexually attractive, and I don’t think anyone should be in the business of monitoring and criticizing other people’s sexual orientation.

      None of that means that trans women aren’t women, or can’t be lesbians.

      None of that means that cis women who love trans women aren’t lesbians.

      And sometimes, although nobody should feel pressured or coerced to do anything they don’t want to, if people are willing to open themselves to possibility, sexuality can be more fluid than they think. Without getting overly graphic, the “penis” of a trans woman who’s been on hormones for any substantial period of time bears virtually no resemblance, in form or function, to what people generally think of when they think of that word.

    • 0

      I was also wondering about that – I don’t think that viewing penises as revolting is inherently transphobic. I say this as a cis woman in a relationship with a trans woman. If the reason why someone thinks a trans woman’s penis is revolting is only because they think that penis = man then yes that’s clearly transphobic, absolutely. But to say that finding penises revolting regardless of the person they’re attached to or that person’s gender is transphobic sounds problematic to me, and seems to suggest unless a lesbian likes penises of any sort she’s transphobic. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not liking or wanting to interact with penises. (And a lesbian who finds penises revolting can still be intimate with a trans woman who has one anyway, there are ways around it, especially since many trans women feel similarly about it.) If that is still transphobic though then there’s something I still don’t understand, which is totally possible since I’m cis.

      I don’t know… it’s like, no matter how much someone loves their partner and their body they may still find buttholes gross and not want to touch their partners’. I guess I see it more like that.

      • 0

        Well, it’s one thing if a trans woman feels dysphoric about her own body. It’s quite a different thing if someone who is not a trans women views our bodies (or part of our bodies) as gross. If anybody who is not a trans woman finds any part of our bodies “revolting,” then yes, they are being transmisogynistic. The idea that trans women are disgusting underlies a huge amount of our oppression. But maybe our bodies don’t exist for others to judge. Maybe if others don’t have something nice to say about our bodies(or if they can only manage giving a compliment that they directly follow with a criticism), then they shouldn’t say anything at all. Cis people aren’t entitled to endlessly pontificate about their feelings about trans women’s bodies. Luna may be looking for a lot from allies, but personally I am not. All I am looking for is for allies to be polite. And to leave trans women the fuck alone and let us live our lives.

        Furthermore, I’m not looking to guilt any cis person or transmasculine person into being attracted to me or having sex with me. In fact, I prefer to have sex with other trans women. But it is not cool for these folks to find any part of our bodies revolting, disgusting, or gross. If somebody has those feelings, they should keep them to themselves.

    • 0

      I really don’t think it should be controversial. Some people are not attracted to penises, and that’s fine – but not being attracted to something does not make it revolting. If you are actively disgusted by someone’s genitalia that is more than just a natural preference, that is something learned, and something that can justifiably be critiqued.

  10. 0

    Thanks to all the cis lesbians who understand, or are trying to understand, that transgender women are female….with female emotions and female love to give to others. And, like me, are lesbians…because we love other women, and need to give and receive female emotional connection with them. Thank you for your effort to understand.

  11. 1

    “I encourage cis lesbians to talk to each other about why this is, to undo their transmisogyny of viewing penises as revolting, and de-centering the idea that being a lesbian requires an aversion to penis.”
    So now, not wanting to have sex with penises/ not finding them attractive is bigotry/ transmisogyny? I am capable of understanding that not everyone wants to have sex with people who have vaginas (most gay men, straight women, and a lot of bi people prefer penises to vaginas) so why can’t you accept that some people prefer vaginas to penises?

    • 0

      I’ll repeat my response to InvaderQuinn above:

      I don’t happen to agree that it’s trans-misogynistic not to want to have sex with someone with a penis. Some people just don’t find them sexually attractive, and I don’t think anyone should be in the business of monitoring and criticizing other people’s sexual orientation.

      None of that means that trans women aren’t women, or can’t be lesbians.

      None of that means that cis women who love trans women aren’t lesbians.

      And sometimes, although nobody should feel pressured or coerced to do anything they don’t want to, if people are willing to open themselves to possibility, sexuality can be more fluid than they think. Without getting overly graphic, the “penis” of a trans woman who’s been on hormones for any substantial period of time bears virtually no resemblance, in form or function, to what people generally think of when they think of that word.

      • 0

        A quick scroll-thru of your tumblr reveals some pretty transphobic stuff. I wonder what you’re doing here, forcibly injecting the “cotton ceiling” narrative into this conversation? Whatever your opinion of penises in general, trans women are women, and women who identify as lesbian in no way cheapen or change their identity by being attracted to or in a relationship with trans women. No person should be compelled to be in any sort of sexual relationship against their will, but calling out the endemic transphobia in most aspects of our culture, including within the lesbian community, does not equate to compelling lesbians to sleep with anyone they don’t want to.

    • 0

      Here we go again. Let’s just get the highlights out of the way.

      Yes, it’s often rooted in transmisogyny.

      No, absolutely no one wants you to go have sex with or even touch any trans woman, ever.

      Yes, *announcing* the fact that you “just couldn’t have sex with a woman with a penis!” absolutely is transmisogynist; there’s no reason to say that other than transmisogyny and wanting to put us in our place. (Just like, if you’re disgusted by fat women – even more commonly rooted in social beauty standards – announcing that you ‘prefer’ skinny women or couldn’t possibly sleep with fat women is disgusting and bigoted, keep that shit to yourself.)

      Yes, we are saying the constant stream of ‘jokes’ about ‘lol penises, revolting!’ or equating being lesbian with not touching penises is transmisogynist.

      Yes, we’ve heard this all a thousand times; no, you are not bringing up some important point no one’s considered.

      Yes, equating “sex with trans women” with “sex acts with a penis” is hideously transmisogynist, objectifying, hypersexualizing, and exactly how chasers and predators treat us, just the other side of the same coin. Because treating us as a weird novelty sex toy that you would never use… is still treating us as a weird novelty sex toy, and not a person.

      • 1

        “No, absolutely no one wants you to go have sex with or even touch any trans woman, ever. ”
        Please look up the “cotton ceiling.” A term that was coined by a trans woman (Drew… something or other) which basically says that “cis” lesbians will be friends with trans women but will not fuck them, and that’s a bad thing. Also have you ever been on tumblr? The new thing is calling lesbians oppressive for not being more “sexually fluid.” Now where have I heard that before?
        Btw, a penis is a penis regardless of who it is attached to. I hope that at some point in your life, you will understand that some people just don’t like the way penises look (the same way that some people are repulsed by vaginas,) and I hope that you realize that calling them bigots for not wanting to have certain kinds of sex is a form of coercion because a lot of people will end up going through with sexual acts that they DON’T want just so they won’t be accused of being transmisogynists.

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          The cotton ceiling concept has never, ever stated that a queer woman or lesbian has to (or even should) have sex with a trans woman who still has a penis and if they’re not interested they’re a transmisogynist. It’s about how many queer cis women continue to come up with dubious justifications for why they could never be physically intimate with trans women… and it’s totally NOT just about penises.

          If it’s not the penis issue (and again, I think it’s absolutely someone’s right as to who they wish to have or not have sex with) it’s the way these women explain and justify their disinterest (or, let’s be honest, even revulsion) in trans women as partners. As in: “they were socialized male” “SRS creates a ‘fake vagina’ and is body mutilation” “trans women are always femmes and I only like butches” “we don’t have a shared girlhood to bond over” “a trans woman will try and dominate the relationship” “I’m a lesbian and trans women don’t fit that aspect of my sexuality”… blah, blah, blah. As soon as the person is called on one they come up with another five or six.

          And what disgusts me even more is how those queer women and lesbians purposely misread and misinterpret the cotton ceiling idea so they can claim it reinforces their preconceived notions of “trans woman as rapist” and “trans woman as sexual predator.”

          You don’t want to have sex with a woman who also has a penis? No problem, don’t. (you’ll be doing the trans woman a favor). But then those same women shouldn’t turn around and shoot their mouths off about how creepy trans women wanted to force them into having sex with them, and “this is why I’d never have sex with trans women…” (it’s never about an individual-to-individual connection is it). And btw, the person who wrote about “the cotton ceiling” is Drew DeVeaux and if you’re too lazy to even Google her name, then don’t make up some bs based on your sloppy interpretation of what she was actually talking about.

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            “The cotton ceiling is a theory proposed by trans porn star and activist Drew DeVeaux to explain the experiences queer trans women have with simultaneous social inclusion and sexual exclusion within the broader queer women’s communities. Basically, it means that cis queer women will be friends with us and talk day and night about trans rights and ending transmisogyny, but will still not consider us viable sexual partners.”

            Source: http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/the-cotton-ceiling-really/

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            As a warning: “factcheckme.wordpress.com” is a deeply transphobic site, and they have quotes like:

            “so radfem13 went off without a hitch. mostly. the event took place and the organizers have issued a postgame statement focusing on the legal issues involved in organizing and meeting as women, in women-only space exclusive of men and [transphobic slur]s. the title of the piece is “protecting female-only space in the UK.” an “interim legal statement” was previously published here. the organizers are quoted extensively in an article on “counterpunch” which you can read here (via gendertrender).”

            So yeah, quotes from there should be taken with a pint of salt.

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            I think it’s also important to remember that the TERF obsession with trans women’s penises — I sometimes think that’s all they think about, like the religious fundamentalists who spend all day watching gay porn so they can “report” on it — is essentially a red herring. Because they’re equally bigoted towards trans women who don’t have penises: we’re still “men”; they refer to our vaginas with lovely terms like “second asshole” and “surgical wound”; and they seem to seriously believe that you can always tell a trans woman’s vagina from a “real” vagina because it smells like rotten meat. A canard precisely equivalent to the widespread medieval Christian belief in the “foetor judaicus” — the inherent stench of the Jew.

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          Since you missed it:
          “Yes, we’ve heard this all a thousand times; no, you are not bringing up some important point no one’s considered.”

          Amazingly, I know far more about the whole ‘debate’ than the people you listen to who want to exterminate us and blatantly lie about everything we say. Like you do in this post.

          Can I add how fucking disgusting it is that you chose to respond to a post talking about how fucking us does not make someone an awesome radical ally, and frequently those who do fuck us treat us as disposable sex objects to spout this shit?

          Since you missed it:
          “Yes, it’s often rooted in transmisogyny.

          No, absolutely no one wants you to go have sex with or even touch any trans woman, ever.

          Yes, *announcing* the fact that you “just couldn’t have sex with a woman with a penis!” absolutely is transmisogynist; there’s no reason to say that other than transmisogyny and wanting to put us in our place. (Just like, if you’re disgusted by fat women – even more commonly rooted in social beauty standards – announcing that you ‘prefer’ skinny women or couldn’t possibly sleep with fat women is disgusting and bigoted, keep that shit to yourself.)

          Yes, we are saying the constant stream of ‘jokes’ about ‘lol penises, revolting!’ or equating being lesbian with not touching penises is transmisogynist.

          Yes, we’ve heard this all a thousand times; no, you are not bringing up some important point no one’s considered.

          Yes, equating “sex with trans women” with “sex acts with a penis” is hideously transmisogynist, objectifying, hypersexualizing, and exactly how chasers and predators treat us, just the other side of the same coin. Because treating us as a weird novelty sex toy that you would never use… is still treating us as a weird novelty sex toy, and not a person.”

          And also here have some more elaboration:

          And for the hundredth time no one is saying you have to date or have sex with trans women.In fact, if you’re that repulsed by our bodies, then please stay far, far away from us. Just stop pretending that “attracted to everyone except trans women” is a legitimate sexual preference that isn’t influenced by transmisogyny at all.”

          yes, exactly. and just wanna address one more common response –

          “if you aren’t trying to force people to date trans women, then why would you even talk about this”?

          Because those same underlying transmisogynist attitudes are inevitably going to poison every interaction with trans women. They’re rooted in dehumanizing, hypersexualizing, objectifying attitudes about us. They enforce and perpetuate transmisogyny and violence against trans women.

          they’re also identical to the attitudes that produce chasers, the only difference is the specific levels of that fascination/repulsion with trans women’s bodies.

          challenging our hypersexualization/desexualization is not about producing more chasers. if anyone DID “change their mind” as a result of what we’re saying, and did develop attraction to trans women, then ideally imho they’d continue to never touch a trans woman; maybe that’s overkill but idc really.

          the real crux of this is that people don’t just HAVE these ‘preferences’ that’re shaped by oppressive values or some other reason (eg trauma), but they also then go on to announce to the world that they find trans women (or other oppressed classes, eg fat people, and/or people of color, and/or people with disabilities…) categorically repulsive and unattractive or unfuckable – like there’s literally no reason to do that that’s not rooted in animus, in putting people in their place, in publicly shaming and vilifying already shamed and vilified groups.

          like hey, white women with bad perms resemble an emotional abuser of mine enough that I just couldn’t be with them. but (barring using it as an example here), I don’t feel a need to announce that to the world or act like it’s super core to my sexuality. if someone with those features hit on me, I’d just turn them down without naming a reason, and call them a creep if they pushed for one. and ofc ‘white + bad perm’ isn’t a marginalized class.

          but when it comes to marginalized classes like trans women, people feel this need to shout it out to the world, and there’s a reason for that, and it’s not innocent. It’s transmisogyny.

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          It’s problematic when lesbians say penies are revolting just like it is problematic when gay man say there are disgusted by vaginas, or when straight people talk about how disgusting the thought of gay sex is to them. Not being attracted to something is fine. We all have different sexual preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that. But lack of attraction need not and should not equal disgust.

          There is also the issue of how people discuss their attractions/lack there of. It would be extremely rude to call any woman you just weren’t attracted to revolting or disgusting, and that’s basically what people are doing to pre/non-op trans women when they talk about how gross penises are.

          I thought that the article was very clear on this point. People who are reading an element of sexual coercian into it are putting that there themselves. Nothing in the article suggests any obligation to sleep with or be attracted to pre/non-op trans women.

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      I felt a little challenged by this line as well. I mean, if a lesbian friend said to me that she is having PIV sex with a transwoman partner (or any partner), I’m not going to say “Oh, sorry, you’re not a lesbian anymore.” So I don’t think being a lesbian requires an aversion to penis. I also wouldn’t call anyone’s body, in part or whole, revolting. We all have bodies, and a long Western cultural history of being told to hate them (especially as women). I’m opposed to hating bodies.

      So, the only question remaining is, Am I transmisogynist if I say “No penises in my bedroom, thanks”? If so, I don’t know how to remedy that.

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        As Impish pointed out above, it’s not that it’s trans-misogynistic not to want to have sex with a woman who has a penis, or not to find penises sexually attractive no matter whom they’re attached to. But going around announcing all the time that you find penises revolting and “penis is male,” and that sort of thing — that would be trans-misogynistic. Why even bring it up, for the most part?

        After all, people criticize gay men who go around saying stereotypical things about how vaginas are disgusting, even more so if they’re talking about trans men. I don’t see this as any different.

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      It’s fine if you don’t want to have sex with trans women. I doubt many of us want to have sex with you either. It’s fine if you prefer vulvas to penises. But what’s not fine is for you to say we, or our bodies, or any part of our bodies is “revolting.” Keep your grossed-out judgments about our bodies to yourself and leave us the fuck alone.

      And for the record, the gay men who freely talk about how disgusting vaginas are also are hella bigoted.

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    I would say that perhaps that one line could have been better written, but regardless, the assumption that penis=man and trans-woman=penis is transphobic.

    People who are averse to certain sets of genitalia aren’t inherently prejudiced against the owners of those genitalia, but making assumptions about genitalia or the people attached to them is prejudice. That’s the distinction I would draw. So, for instance, no lesbian is compelled to like penises, but a lesbian in a relationship with a trans woman who has a penis is no less of a lesbian for it.

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    At the end of the day no one owes you sexual attraction or romantic interest. Yeah it sucks when someone rejects you, but if I am interested in someone and I find out later that they have a trait I don’t find desirable, I do have the right to end the relationship. Or if a person is straight up just not interested they don’t owe an explanation or a need to come up with a “dubious justification” why their not.

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      It’s kind of funny how there’s all these brand-new commenters coming in and saying very, very similar stuff, but here, I’ll copy a relevant passage from one of my other comments:
      No person should be compelled to be in any sort of sexual relationship against their will, but calling out the endemic transphobia in most aspects of our culture, including within the lesbian community, does not equate to compelling lesbians to sleep with anyone they don’t want to.

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          As was clearly stated in the article, single occurrences aren’t, but broad trends are. This article, and many of the commenters here, are describing near-uniform experiences they’ve had. Why are you trying to downplay their lived experiences? It smacks of the handwaving dismissals men give when confronted with women’s stories of widespread sexism in our culture.

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            Again, when one single instance occurs, that’s easily explained as personal preference. But when a vast majority of people treat trans people differently specifically because they are trans, you can safely assume transphobia is at work. Lesbians are no more immune to societal transphobia than anyone else, so I don’t really accept the excuse of “oh, it’s just personal preference.” To do so, especially to say so in the absence of an actual, specific example, implies that there are innate traits that all trans women share, which is absolutely false. Trans women are just as heterogeneous as any other segment of society, and so to prejudge them and exclude them without qualification can’t really be interpreted as anything other than prejudice.

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    this is an old article and I’m very glad I found it. I am a mostly-with-women pansexual cis woman who is in love with a transwoman – we are POC. what you are writing is still very true and Im sad about that. She has told me about many of her experiences, there’s alot of pain there, i can feel it. I’ve had to deal with sexual exploitation from men and so has she. Right now I’m negotiating in my own mind how I can be out about us and at the same time keep her and us protected.

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