This image is making the rounds on social media right now, boosted by the violently transmisogynistic remarks made on American television recently by comedian Lil Duval.
Wherever it’s posted, the comments which follow the image are inevitably loaded with similarly violent transmisogynistic hate, plus a whole lot of the two clichéd arguments that are always used to justify the ‘shitty “no trans allowed” dating policy’: 1. ‘Trans/transition is a choice’, and 2. ‘Not wanting to date trans is a legitimate preference’.
1. ‘You chose to make yourself undateable.’
First, being trans is not a choice, it is an involuntary, intractable condition, as a century of research demonstrates. More recent science increasingly suggests that becoming trans happens in the womb. So sorry, but no, clearly not a choice. Now, being born trans does not necessarily mean you transition, but —
For a great many trans people, transition is a choice in precisely the same way that not killing oneself or seeking treatment for a serious condition is a choice. This is literal truth, not hyperbole. There are a number of studies demonstrating that, in the identified trans population, transition substantially reduces mental and physical illness, substance abuse, suicidality, and accidental death. Indeed, these studies are a rationale for the provision of transition services and the increasing coverage of costs for those services. Transition saves lives, and the denial of transition kills trans people. That’s one heckuva ‘choice’.
The subtext to item 1 is, of course, ‘you shouldn’t be dating’.
2. ‘I have a right to not date trans women.’
(Almost always prefaced with ‘I don’t have anything against trans women, but…’)
You also have a right to not date women of Jewish or Islamic heritage, bisexual women, infertile women, left-handed women, and women who exceed the ‘one-drop rule’. And I have the right to seriously question your motives.
Let’s be clear: We all have legitimate preferences in the bodies we connect with — I myself favour larger men (sorry, you guys under 180cm and 90kg!), and they need to have working penises. But when you reject a woman who fully meets your attraction profile, one has to wonder what’s really going on here.
When it comes to rejecting someone like me—someone whose appearance, function, and manner are indistinguishable from those of a cisgender woman—just because I have a trans history, the reasons must be intangible. Those reasons are inevitably the beliefs that I am not a ‘real’ woman, that I am ‘actually a man’, that I am mentally ill, and, in the crusty underneath of it all, that I am not human. These beliefs are resistant to evidence to the contrary, of which there is plenty, and are similar to the other prejudices listed above.
In other words, the bearer holds these beliefs about trans women irrespective of any potential sexual encounter: They represent ignorance at best, bigotry at worst. Refusal to consider the ample evidence which counters these beliefs places the bearer firmly in the class of bigot.
(Just to underscore: Trans women are women, we are born women, and we will always be women, whatever the state of our bodies—just as you will always be you, regardless of the state of your body. I understand that this may be confusing to cisgender people, and that there is a lot of misinformation out there. But if you care enough to have read this far, then you should care enough to get the good information and educate yourself, so that you can stop inadvertently harming us with your beliefs. Google ‘Trans 101’.)
As I said, this date-debate is almost always about cis dudes, and specifically about their sexual insecurity. OMG, if they accidently touched a man, or even a ‘man’…ewww — cooties!! — must now get crazy-violent…
Let’s just quit all the dancing and say what this is really about: Straight cis men being creeped-out by the existence of trans women. That’s disclosure. ‘I don’t have anything against trans women, but…’ is straight-up bullshit. That’s honesty.
The subtext to item 2 is, ‘you shouldn’t be dating’.
As with every ‘debate’ about trans existence — from toilets to medical access to birth certificates — what it comes down to is not trans actions, but cisgender discomfort. Many if not most cis people would prefer that we went away.
As the original post suggests, the solution is simple: Instead of expecting a trans woman to literally endanger herself with every potential bigot she dates, all you need do is state your no-trans ‘preference’ up front to every woman you date. End of discussion.
Lastly, this subject is inevitably accompanied by a whole lot of ‘honesty is fundamental to a good relationship…’ Yea, OK: granted. But this has nothing to do with being trans, and really nothing to do with this issue (which again, at its base, is just men being creeped-out by the idea of trans women).
Dishonesty about important stuff is so ubiquitous in relationships that there is hardly a one that escapes its ugly face. It’s an important, but separate, discussion; and a red herring in this one.
And really, it’s probably the dudes who are most worried about dating a trans woman who are most likely to deliver some serious bullshit on a first date.
- To those who feel compelled to comment ‘I have a right to not date trans women…’ Uh, yea, of course you do. That’s what the story is about. Your comment will be removed to avoid cluttering the conversation with redundancy.
- To those who feel compelled to inject their anti-trans perspective into every conversation here, you will be blocked to avoid cluttering the conversation with pointless and distracting transmisogyny.
- To those who have put effort into responding to the above and have seen their efforts disappear — I apologise. I block trolls as soon as I see them. In future, if you see them first, just PM me — there is no upside to arguing with these people.
- To those who are worried about getting ‘tricked’ into dating a trans woman — I feel you, brother. I worry about getting tricked into dating an asshole. Just put ‘NO TRANNIES’ in your dating profile, somewhere prominent where I can see it without wasting too much time. You’ll be doing us both a favour.