CHAPTER EIGHT JUNE 2010.
I’ve spent much of the last decade writing about trans woman exclusion and trans woman irrelevancy in queer women’s communities. I have whacked off for hours and hours and hours, railing at the injustice that Actual Dykes don’t find my strapless strap on appealing.
You would think that by now, I would have little left to say about the subject, but this is not the case, because there is no one more wordy or loud than an aggrieved Heterosexual Man. In deciding what I would write about this time around, I wrestled with so many possible themes: for instance, discussing how my views on this issue have evolved over the years; critiquing the masculine-centrism of modern-day dyke communities (which I can just based on living in San Francisco, which is exactly at Dykes are Dykes in every other part of the world); highlighting the need for heterogeneous queer spaces that are accepting of difference (FUCK YOUR WOMEN-ONLY SPACE BIOTCHES); explaining how trans male/masculine folks who claim a place in dyke spaces by emphasizing their lack of male genitals or their assigned female- at-birth status royally screw over their trans sisters (and by “sisters,” I mean MEN); or the misogyny inherent in the fact that the queer community loves it when trans female/feminine spectrum folks get all dragged up and lip sync along to some record, but when we speak in our own voices about issues that are important to us, nobody wants to take us seriously (SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I JUST TRANSED THE DRAG QUEENS. UMBRELLA, Y’ALL).
While these are all worthy topics, I couldn’t make up my mind about what I most wanted to write about. So I decided to take a different approach. Instead of figuring out what I most wanted to say, I asked myself: What do I most want to hear? What topic would I most like to see addressed? And the answer to that question is easy: dating.
Unfortunately for me, this also happens to be the topic that I least want to publicly share my thoughts about, in part because I like to keep some parts of my life relatively private, and in part because I know some people will not like what I have to say. But I suppose that neither of these reasons has ever stopped me from speaking my mind before. So buckle up, bitches!
About two years ago, my ex and I split up after being together for nearly a decade. She was a cis queer woman (i.e., heterosexual) who was supportive when I transitioned a few years into our relationship, and we were monogamous during the lion’s share of our time together (except those times I got freaky while doing Poetry Slam – Cocky is a huge turn on for my Shemale Sisters!!). This meant that for the first time in a decade, I would be re-entering the dating scene.
This could be somewhat disconcerting for any person, but there were a few compounding factors that made it especially . . . well, let’s say “interesting” . . . for me. AND EVERYTHING IS WORSE/HARDER FOR ME, JULIA SERANO.
First, this would be the first time that I would be dating people as a woman. Furthermore, while I had dated queer women before my transition, this would be my first time formally dating within the queer women’s community. LOL at “formal.” On top of that, around this same time, after years of identifying as a lesbian, I came out as bisexual, so I also planned on dating men. With regards to meeting queer women, it seems that traditionally much of this takes place in dyke bars and clubs. What’s that you say? Many cities no longer have these spaces because they were overrun by transwomen? Fuck you, bigot.
While I am sometimes in such spaces, I don’t feel that they are very conducive for me to meet potential romantic or sexual partners. That is because when I meet people in person, they can more easily judge what an arrogant asshole I am, and thus they are less likely to want to date me. This is partly due to the fact that I am generally read as a cis woman (ACTUAL LOLs). While I recognize this is a privilege ESPECIALLY WHEN IT HAPPENS TO ACTUAL WOMEN, as it makes my life significantly easier in many ways, it also means that any flirting, making out, or heavy petting I engage in will eventually lead to a coming-out-as-trans moment, which often leaves me with an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. Yes, that’s right – I have no compunction about misleading people to get some ass.
While you would think that cis dykes (being more trans aware than the public at large) would take such coming outs in stride, this is not actually the case. What’s that you say? Lesbians want sexual relationships with ACTUAL WOMEN, and thus would feel horribly abused to have engaged sexually with a man? Fuck you, ‘phobe.
Trans female friends of mine have had to suffer through cis dyke “freak out” moments, or even accusations of deception, that rival stereotypical reactions of straight people. Those stuoid bitches just don’t understand that no one does Dyke better than a Man. For obvious reasons, I’d rather avoid this if I can, ‘cept that I don’t want to disclose anything, because it’s my right as a Man to engage sexually with Women whenever and under whatever circumstances I want.
The second reason why the bar and club scene doesn’t work for me is that I fall outside of the butch/femme binary, which is a central part of the San Francisco Bay Area’s dyke dating scene. While I identify as femme, I am not “high femme” or “sexy femme,” because I am a guy, which are the only kinds of femme that seem to get read as legitimately femme in dyke spaces. Several of my trans female friends have told me that cis dykes began to take way more interest in them once they cut their hair short and began to dress more androgynously. While I don’t doubt that this is true, I have no desire to do this, as I am very happy with my gender expression the way that it is, thank you very much. I didn’t go through all this trouble to “look like a man,” dammit, or, even worse, like an Actual Lesbian. Even if I did take that route, it wouldn’t necessarily solve all of my problems, because I am actually a guy.
One trans woman friend told me about how she recently met a cis dyke, and they were really hitting it off, until she realized that this person was misreading her for a person on the trans masculine spectrum. When my friend told the cis dyke that she was in fact a trans woman, the cis dyke seemed to immediately lose interest. This is because Lesbians don’t want to engage sexually with Men, the stupid bitches. So, given all this, I figured that I would have better luck with personal ads, which are often driven more by shared interests rather than appearance or dress, and in which I can disclose my trans status beforehand. On numerous occasions I have looked over the “w4w” section of Craigslist, but it inevitably leaves me traumatized. There is so much trans hate speech on that site, and websites personally oppress me, and the very few ads that mention being open to trans are specifically looking for trans men or tranny bois, not trans women, which is enraging, because WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE WANT TO FUCK ME??? I had heard decent things about OkCupid, so I figured I’d give it a try. I listed myself as bisexual, and at the end of my profile, I explicitly mentioned that I was a trans woman. I got a significant number of responses from women as well as men. But in follow-up emails, it became clear that most of the women who responded hadn’t read my entire profile. Dummies! At some point, once we started chatting, I would usually ask if they had ever dated a trans woman before (just to see what I was getting myself into), and suddenly—surprise!—I wouldn’t hear from them again. And that’s just rude. How dare they have healthy boundaries!
So then I decided to try an experiment. I rearranged my profile to put the trans disclosure right at the top, and I changed my orientation from bisexual to “gay” (OkCupid’s category for exclusively same-sex) to ensure that I’d only receive replies from women. Over a four-month period, I received only five responses: one from a cis bisexual woman, three from trans women, and one from a trans man. Now one possible explanation for this is that perhaps there are four times as many trans people on OkCupid than cis queer women. But a quick browsing of OkCupid listings will show that this is certainly not the case. Therefore, the inescapable conclusion is that while trans people and cis bisexual women are often open to dating trans women, the overwhelming majority of cis dykes are not. Because, once again, THEY ARE ACTUALLY GAY.
While cis dykes have generally shown little interest in me, my experiences with cis men have in comparison gone rather swimmingly. This is because Guys will stick their dicks in anything. We have all heard stories about how the only cis men interested in trans women are “tranny chasers,” who are creepy, closeted, and who wouldn’t be caught dead being seen with an out trans woman in public. And certainly, those men do exist. But many of the cis men that I have met or chatted with on OkCupid and other sites do not fall into that stereotype. Lo and behold, some of them are even kind, intelligent, interesting, and fun to hang out with. When I asked the cis men who responded to my ad if they had ever dated a trans woman before, they didn’t disappear like the cis dykes usually did. Instead, most of them gave thoughtful answers. Some said that they found trans women more interesting, open-minded, and/or courageous than the average cis woman.
It takes great courage to openly mock Women.
Others said they had honestly not considered dating a trans woman before, but they really liked my profile, and they considered themselves to be queer-positive, so they didn’t consider my maleness to be a big deal. Still others put it quite simply: They are attracted to anything they can fuck, and while most of their past partners were cis women, a few were trans women, and it really makes no difference to them. When cis men tell me these things, it honestly makes me a little sad. I mourn the fact that I have not heard similar sentiments from my own cis queer women’s community.
DID YOU READ WHAT I JUST WROTE? I WROTE THAT ACTUAL LESBIANS MAKE ME SAD BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO SUCK MY WANG.
Julia Serano Boner has a sad.
I also find it ironic that cis dykes—many of whom pride themselves on their progressive politics and subversive sexualities— tend to be far more conservative and conforming to our culture’s yuck-dating-a-trans-woman-is-gross mindset than their cis male counterparts, at least here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Because that’s what “conservative” means now. It means Lesbians not wanting to fuck Men.
How “conservative.” The definition of homosexuality is conservative!!
I am also embarrassed as a queer for the fact that so many straight cis men have worked through, or are beginning to work through, their own issues regarding trans women, whereas most cis queer women refuse to even consider the possibility that they even have an issue. What’s that you say? Most lesbians have worked for years to unpack their issues around their sexuality because they were all groomed into Compulsory heterosexuality? Well, those bitches did it wrong, what they should have realized is that they also need to be sexually accessible to Men who think they are Women.
I know first-hand that it can be difficult to confront such issues (Actual LOLs). I remember a time many years ago —I was either just about to transition, or I had just transitioned, I can’t quite recall—when I saw a short documentary about two trans women who were life partners. And I am horribly embarrassed to say that, at the time, I was somewhat squicked by their relationship. This is because I am a homophobe, which has nothing to do with why lesbians don’t want to fuck men/transwomen. The irrationality of my reaction was not lost on me. After all, I am a trans woman. And I am also attracted to women. So what was it about the idea of being with a trans woman that bothered me so? Over time, I realized that on an unconscious level, I was still buying into the idea that trans women were somehow unattractive, defective, and illegitimate, and that being partnered to a cis woman was somehow inherently better, or more authentic. This sounds like homophobia, dude.
After much personal reflection, I had to admit that my reaction was profoundly anti-trans. And I eventually got over my internalized transphobia, just as I had to get over my internalized homophobia the first time I sexually experimented with a man, and just as I had to overcome my own fat-phobia the first time I dated a differently-sized woman (and by differently-sized I mean really fat). Sexual attraction is a complex phenomenon, and of course there is lots of individual variation.
I certainly do not expect every cis queer woman to swoon over me. JUST KIDDING! I demand swooning! And if it were only a small percentage of cis dykes who were not interested in trans women at all, I would write it off as simply a matter of personal preference. But nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. But this not a minor problem—it is systemic; it is a predominant sentiment in queer women’s communities. And this is what systemic oppression means now – it means Lesbians not wanting to fuck men!!!
And when the overwhelming majority of dykes date and fuck women, but are not open to, or are even turned off by, the idea of dating or fucking men, how is that not transphobic? HOW VERY DARE THOSE DYKES NOT WANT TO SUCK MY STRAPLESS STRAPON!!! And to those cis women who claim a dyke identity, yet consider trans men, but not trans women, to be a part of your dating pool, let me ask you this: How are you not a hypocrite? What’s that you say? Because transmen are actually Female? Fuck you!
I did not write this piece to vent about my dating life. I go out on plenty of dates, and I’m having lots of super-fucking-awesome sex, just not with cis women at the moment. Because they think I am a creepy, rapetastic weirdo. But I AM GETTING LAID SO HA! JOKES ON YOU! My purpose in writing this piece is to highlight how cis dykes’ unwillingness to consider trans women as legitimate partners translates directly into a lack of community for queer-identified trans women. VOMIT. I am such a rapey prick, I can’t even believe I wrote that. After all, queer women’s communities serve several purposes. They are places where we can build alliances to fight for our rights. They are places where we can find friendship and chosen family. But one of the most critical functions that queer women’s communities serve is in providing a safe space outside of the hetero-centric mainstream where women can express interest, attraction, and affection toward other women. In other words, queer women’s spaces fulfill our need for sexual validation.
The operative word here is WOMEN.
Unless, of course, you are a Man. And personally, with each passing year, it becomes harder and harder for me to continue to take part in a community in which I am not seen as a legitimate object of desire.
So I am taking my balls and going home.