Trans Attraction and Passing Privilege

Dear Jamie,

I’m a 36-year-old trans admirer and have been “out” for about ten years. I have brought t-girls home to Mom and Dad, had a monogamous five-year relationship with a trans woman, and have had some brief flings. Sometimes I date cis women, but I am almost always more attracted to transgenders.

Sometimes it can be challenging to share my desires, love, and truth with some circles like work, but I never felt there was anything to hide. I refuse to deny the human being that I love in front of my friends.

So I was a little surprised recently when I was criticized for being transphobic! A cis female friend wanted to set me up with a girl she thought I’d really like, but I just didn’t find her attractive. My friend said that my insistence that a trans girl look more feminine was all about “passing privilege.”

I’ve seen some videos talking about this passing-privilege issue on YouTube in the trans activism circles—there was a trans woman who decided she didn’t want to change anything about her appearance, including the three-piece suit and beard but wanted to be called “she” and identify as a woman. That’s fine with me, to each their own, but this woman said if men weren’t sexually attracted to her, it was because they objectify trans women as sex objects and they hate trans people.

What happened to attraction being about a specific person?

It’s all becoming a little too politicized out there. Isn’t a guy allowed to have his personal taste? Isn’t the whole point of being trans that you identify with more feminine aspects of identity and culture. – Cole, 36

Dear Cole,

I have some cis female friends who have told me I’m transphobic too. I’m pretty sure we all have a bit of transphobia inside us somewhere, so I try to just let them say their view. The important thing is being open to change and growing. If we learn something new and find a wider open heart to see someone in a new way, that’s great.

I need trans women to keep educating me on how things work for them, and I’m open to that and so are you, so just keep listening and learning and loving.

On the other hand, I always take some offence at people who police desire. No, you don’t have to be attracted to everyone—NO ONE IS.

Desire is by its very nature discriminating. Some guys like petite gingers, and others love larger than life African-American women. Some men love older women, and some love women with long hair or a hairy pussy or a big butt. Some like trans women exclusively, and some don’t, and some don’t want to fuck women at all.

It’s totally fascist in my mind to tell other people when their dick is supposed to get hard.

So the best tact to take with this kind of person is to just smile blandly and ignore them. I try not to get too upset by the stranger margins of trans politics because in a world where transgender people were invisible, there is a lot to work out and sometimes a lot of anger and fear and some of it might be misdirected— but it has to be worked through, and that’s all it is that we’re seeing.

I’ll listen closely to every voice, but that doesn’t mean I’ll agree with everything.

In the meantime, like anyone else, go out with the women you find attractive. Period. And be kind to everyone.


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