Friday Philosophy: Sex

I got into a discussion the other day of the kind I really don’t enjoy.  I felt required to defend transsexual women against a stereotype of us.

There are many such stereotypes.  We are liars and deceivers, according to some.  But in the case in point, the accusation was that we are sexually aggressive.  And that brings up a difficult topic to discuss for many transfolk:  sex.

The instance in question occurred in a DADT diary and was referring to gays in the military already:

I never saw overt, mincing, steriotypical “NOLA Fat Tuesday transsexual type” of behavior, but then there are strict codes of conduct for heteralsexual relationships while in Uniform also.

I still am unsure as to what exactly constitutes “NOLA Fat Tuesday transsexual behavior”, but that may be that, while I am indeed transsexual and have been to NOLA many times, it was never during Mardi Gras.

First, a small detour to NOLA, since it came up above:  1805 Law Used to Label Women of Colour and Trans Sex Workers as Sex Offenders in New Orleans was published by DentedBlue last night.  There is a petition to help change the law which is being used to overly-criminalize primarily black and trans sex workers for the act of unnatural copulation.

I take the quote above the fold to mean, however, that we are sexually aggressive, a stereotype that is not addressed very often, but is often played upon.  Indeed, the woman who made the comment said it was about the aggression.  I note that in my readings of the past week, I discovered that in looking for a speaker for a transgender symposium, the best Colorado University at Boulder could do was this: Tristan Taormino to speak at CU-Boulder transgender symposium.  I’m not a prude (unless I am), but really, transpeople are being represented by a cisgender (i.e. non-transgender) porn producer??

In a word which thinks that transsexual people have sex changes in order to have sex, I don’t think it really helps to be presented this way.  Further examination of the program for that symposium shows that the other two speakers are transmen and that two movies about transmen are being shown.  Pardon me if I suddenly feel made invisible.

I know in the early days, it was hard to find transmen to speak at such events, having had the duty of programming more than one of them.  I also have in the past been a vocal advocate of having people from outside our community speak in our favor.  But I fail to see how this self-styled “anal sexpert” is going to advance our cause.

There is no more important point to learn about transsexual people than this:  

It is not about whom transsexual people sleep with.  It’s about who we sleep as.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “If you were going to end up being a lesbian anyway, why did you have your penis removed?”…displaying not only complete misunderstanding of transsexual people but a complete ignorance about lesbianism as well.  

And to answer a question in advance, because it has also arisen in past presentations I have made, I do not know if my orgasm’s are the same as those of someone born female…just like nobody anywhere knows if their orgasms are like those of anyone else.  Orgasms are very personal.

The thing about the stereotype of transwomen as being aggressively sexual is that it keeps us from earning equal rights with The Great Trannies in the Bathroom Scare.  There is this assumption that transsexual women transition because they just want to sneak into the women’s restroom and violate the women there.  But nobody anywhere has an example of that ever happening.  Ed Brayton has more on this part of the story.

So now we are at the place where there is nothing left to do but open up the floor for a frank discussion of sex, if that is what people desire.


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  1. Robyn

    No kill I.

  2. undercovercalico

    I am starting to realise as I age just how dumb I actually am.

    Like it never occurred to me to ask a transexual why they got their penis cut off and then decided to be attracted to women because well I just assumed that if sexual roles and desires were as confusing and interesting as in the straight world it was well none of my business? See My Canadianess pops up in odd ways.

  3. undercovercalico

    when you are the “other” (I used quotes because I don’t want you to think I think you are an other R) people think they have the right to ask deeply personal things and get an answer when they would never ask the so called “mainstream” folks those exact same questions? Just sayin……

  4. Robyn

    …available in Orange.

  5. Robyn

    …transfolk don’t decide on who we are attracted to.  We just are.  Often, we don’t know what our sexual orientation will be after surgery.

  6. undercovercalico

    I mean sexuality isn’t exactly like going through the drive through or grazing the vending machine. Well then again…… We can all order extra sides and sauces so maybe I am wrong.

  7. Robyn

    …I would encourage people to ask questions.  In fact, the Q&A was my favorite part, just like the comment section is my favorite part of writing a diary.  (Almost wrote sextion there).

  8. Robyn

    …I’ve probably been Other longer thsn I have been transsexual, and it’s a label that doesn’t bother me at all.

  9. Robyn

    …as a stupid question.  Then some young women asked me what kind of underwear I wore.

  10. undercovercalico

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