Are You a Queer Woman Who Dates "Women and Trans Men"?


Ok, I'm going to start to hand out helmets for this thread.
I think what's being said is you can't fuck who you want to fuck, you have to fuck who this person says you can fuck. Fuck that.
I read it twice -- the first time marveling at the jargon, and once more through to make sure I got it. And I have to admit... the author has a valid point. A few, actually. This "frame" does lump trans men in with women; it does exclude trans women. Anyway, thought it was interesting. So posted it.
the dating game has so many rules!
But Dan, do you think we're sexually attracted (only) to identities?
how about we fuck who we want to fuck and love everyone for who they are? Is that okay still?
Yes, and being a gay man is misogynistic.
@4, can you give us a quick breakdown, cause I read it twice and can't follow it either - what are the valid points, in 'idiot-proof' English?
"...coercively assigned to a person by their doctor at birth"

Um, what's the doc supposed to do, here, exactly?

"Well, Baby X, it would appear you have been born with a penis! Now, I don't want to coercively assign you a gender identity based on that triviality, so let me ask you what are your thoughts on gender?"

"GAAA tpppptt waaaah!"

"I see. Perhaps we can just leave that bit blank for the next 13 years or so?"

"grrrrgle weee bah bah bah!"

"OK, then. Let's move on to the issue of your foreskin..."
@2: Really? It was that hard to understand? Your brain must be made of mentos and Diet Coke.

This post is rather troubling to me. Why does the author assume that women who date "women and trans men" are selecting sexual partners on the basis of trauma associated with cis men, or even that they're selecting sexual partners on any basis at all? What if a woman simply has noticed that she tends to be attracted to women and trans men, and therefore describes herself as "dating women and trans men"? Should she date some cis men, or stop dating trans men, to prove she's not transphobic? If people can't choose to be gay, and if homosexuality isn't caused by trauma, then you can't police anyone's choice of (age-appropriate) sexual partners. Even that of women who date women and trans men.
I stop reading any article when I get to the word "cis". The usage pretty much tells me the author is overthinking it.
@7 As long as I don't have to love Tea Partiers, we're cool. (But I reserve the right to fuck 'em.)
lmao at the entirety of that post

the wording, the "concepts," and the opinions
And besides, I'm sorry, but it's just a little too PC to claim that trans men exist in the same gender category as cis men and therefore should be responded to by sexual partners in the same way. Lots and lots of people are exclusively attracted to other cis people, or exclusively attracted to trans people. When did we decide that "male/female" was a more valid binary than "trans/cis" on which to base your selection of sexual partners?
So much gender theory jargon to manage the difference between the upper brain and the lower brain - oh, and society. I see the point of this article ("don't rule out / delegitimize someone sexually because of their born/cis gender"), but all this language is quite tiring. I hope future generations can sort this out much more smoothly, because this sort of stuff seems to get in the way of, you know, getting busy.
@11 - Yes, it is confusing. Maybe you took human sexuality classes or are well versed in gender and sexuality labeling. But many of us are not. This is the equivalent to me of a writer on slog posting an essay about the misapplication of theoretical physics in an esoteric setting without any introduction. People who have physics backgrounds will get it, but no one else will without some difficult research. Dan, poor blog editing. Maybe include a primer or background when posting opaque essays on complicated issues. This isn't a human sexuality college class discussion forum; it's a general interest blog.
the concept of "deligitimizing someone sexually" implies that anyone has some sort of right for others to be attracted to them (there is no such right)
They are saying that just because a queer lady might be afraid of the penis because she has been raped or have had a bad experience with a man-with-penis that caused trauma, it's unfair to transmen to say "I am am queer and transsensual" when she means "I only date people with vaginas and that includes transdudes and ladies-with-vaginas." Because it can be just as triggering and traumatic for transdudes to be put into the position where they are considered "lady-like" just because they have "lady bits."

Additionally, penises don't rape people, people rape people. I know of several trans men in this very city who have ignored lack of consent and have raped, yes raped, their partners. I know of a trans dude who beat his female partner. Some of these guys have had their asses kicked, others continue to move unhindered in queer social circles, because sadly sometimes queer community is more about popularity contests than us actually taking care of each other. :P
Dan, it would be awesome if there was a recently made and updated graphical flow chart of various major and minor genders, roles, lesbian this, hetero that, and gay this. I thought I was at least awareness wise having a relative clue but I'm feeling baffled now. I can't be the only one.
So if I have this right...

Some persons have pussies (PWP).

Some persons have cocks (PWC).

Some persons with pussies present as persons with cocks (PWPPPWC).

And vice versa (PWCPPWP).

Other persons with pussies present as persons with pussies (PWPPPWP).

And the same for cocks (PWCPPWC).

"Women" is a broad shorthand for both PWPPPWP and PWCPPWP.

"Men" is a broad shorthand for both PWPPPWC and PWCPPWC.

Some PWP only want to date other PWP - either PWPPPWP or PWPPPWC.

But this means they only want to date a subset of each of Men and Women - they are leaving out the option of both PWCPPWP and PWCPPWC.

Presumably because they have issues with the cock.

But this is... wrong? Because... genderism? Cisgenderism? Cockism?

Fuck it. What @7 said.
The author does make an interesting point but the way they frame it gives it much less impact than the point otherwise deserves. How about acknowledging the right of women who "only date women and trans men" to date whoever they're attracted to but then going on to make a larger point about the way this seems to lump trans men into their birth gender rather than their transitioned gender. But yeah, speculating that it's due to sexual trauma seems like an odd guess. Maybe she's just attracted to people with more feminine features?
Oh jesus, its like the 2 years I spent at The Evergreen State College all over again.

As valid as the writer may be in their opinion, it is lost in the PoMo queer feminist jargon. Until the Queer theory supporters learn to articulate their arguments in a way the public can understand that isn't a self-referencing and egotistical circle jerk they will continue to be ignored. I have yet to meet a Queer Theory subscriber who is pragmatic and has enough humility to do this.

Interesting, although dense; very valid point (assuming I'm grokking this, and not that anyone needs my validation) but I have to wonder if there is room for someone whose emotional romantic preferences are for bodies and minds, and not particularly gender?

I can certainly see that being problematic and damaging to one's identity, as it can be seen as basically a pat on the head and a "sure you're a man, dear", but what if this were a man, or someone genderqueer, or just any human being who said "this is who I love, and who I want to fuck, because that's the way I work goddamit"? Shouldn't there be some way to parse this vector of human sexuality without being insensitive or damaging?
"it can be just as triggering and traumatic for transdudes to be put into the position where they are considered "lady-like"

they ARE lady-like. because they're ladies
Sex is complicated. Most people just know who they are attracted to and who they identify with, without all the anger and resentment this person seems to me to harbor. When you look for ghosts and goblins, you see ghosts and goblins. Life is too short.
I was born ugly and self-identify now as attractive. (I'm pre-op, and now still maintain an externally ugly appearance.) I'm sick of hearing "I only date physically attractive men". This frame is incredibly offensive to exclude those of us not assigned attractiveness at birth. It's a way for hatred of unattractive people to advance unchecked.
The frame is all very well, and it's true that it perhaps unnecessarily, or even arbitrarily, excludes transwomen, and I absolutely agree that transmen's male identities are as valid as cis-men's male identities--no one can say that Balian Buschbaum isn't a man. But for most people physical bodies have a major part to play in sexual attraction, and transpeople's bodies by their very nature are sometimes different from cis-people's bodies. Gay men typically aren't attracted to female genitalia or female bodies, so for most gay men a vagina just isn't going to be a sexual object choice, no matter how hot the man it's attached to (and yes, I know that not all transmen have vaginas). I don't see anything wrong with that at all.
Wow, that may be the first argument I've ever read that frame lesbians as the oppressors. Oh, wait, I forgot about the vast right-wing conspiracy. but aside from them...

I get it, it's demeaning to treat transmen as either "men-lite" or and "extreme butch women" and creating a category of "women and transmen" (excuse me, cis-women) does that.

But sheesh, you're bad for naming who you date! Really?
Just as I thought I understood this stuff... What's cis again?
Is it funnier to think that this person thinks anybody anywhere is going to be persuaded to do anything by this kind of impenetrable cant? Or that you can talk anybody into wanting to fuck somebody they don't want to fuck with any form of persuasion, even if it was lucid?
Look, no one is saying you have to fuck anyone you don't want to because their bodies don't turn you on. That's completely valid. If you don't want to fuck an ftm or a mtf that's fine. Peoples' feelings might be hurt but people hurt each others feelings all the fucking time in the world of dating. I agree this piece Dan posted is poorly written and convoluted. You can think whatever you want about transpeople, but it's bad form to say "they're really women because they have two X chromosomes." That's like saying to someone "Wow your mom is fat and is probably gonna die of diabetes or stroke out soon, also I wouldn't fuck her." Don't be all huffy when they get offended, don't be like "What, it's true!!! Don't be mad, it's true!" Because regardless of the state of mom's medical condition or the state of your hard-on, blurting hurtful things when it doesn't directly affect you is tactless and it makes you the asshole. If you don't have anything nice to say keep your trap shut.
What the friggity frak? This reads like the rant of someone who has asked out one too many women whose rejections involved some permutation of "I only date women and trans men," and whose rubberband brain has finally snapped as a result. The only possible reason that women who are attracted to women and trans-men find those people attractive must be because of some sort of penis trauma? That is some serious fucking projection: "The women I'm attracted to aren't attracted to me because something with them is seriously fucked up, and not because of anything to do with me. Said women owe it to me to get over their shit and give me a chance."

To put it in words the writer might understand: I don't think it's ok to process your rejection trauma by delegitimizing the sexual identities and preferences of women who aren't interested in you, for whatever reason. You owe it to yourself to get over your shit.
This is why I've stopped reading feminist blogs.
Dan, your headline is wrong. And not because "a" cannot modify "women". But because the writer is not talking about women who identify as "queer." The writer is talking about Lesbians who also date trans men. Women who date trans men and still claim to only be attracted to women may be incredibly undermining to the identity of the trans men. In the article writer's mind, you're taking away the agency of the trans man to identify as a man and not as a woman.

So, contrary to the comment thread, this writer isn't saying "only fuck certain people." In fact, the writer is saying, "fuck whomever you want, just don't take away the agency of one person to self-identify just because you feel the need to self-identify in a specific way." In other words, don't fuck trans men and identify yourself as a complete dyke.

On the other hand, like @11, I too am disturbed by the last sentence and the overarching idea that lesbians are lesbians because of sexual trauma. Or that queer women who also sleep with trans men do so because they've suffered trauma at the hands of natural men [I'll be goddamned if I'm going to use cis, and I have the right to do so since I'm the one its describing; fuck you queer theorists]. I think there is a whole WORLD of reasons for queer women to sleep with trans men beyond trauma, mostly involving body shapes, behaviors, brain chemicals, hormones and phermones. That there is a wave of lesbians who are attracted to the subversive sexuality of dykes and trans men doesn't men they were traumatized by it. If this were true, then gay men attracted to twinks and trans women must have suffered similar trauma as well. Of course, there aren't that many gay men I know attracted to trans women, but men are more wired in visuals than women.
I give up.

Oh, I'm sorry, I thought this was a Portlandia skit.
Okay thanks for everyone who tried to explain, because I think I finally got it now. The only thing that I'm confused about now is that this issue apparently comes up enough that someone felt the need to write about it. Cause I was thinking, 'yeah, maybe one time that happened.'

But what do I know? I guess my last question is, is this really a wide-spread problem? In the Queer/Trans community? Or is this really more of a theoretical discussion?
Look, if a penis is a deal breaker for someone but a male identity isn't, that is none of this moronic commentator's business. Saying that someone should or shouldn't pursue consensual relationships with certain types of adults just because you and your twisted-up panties think there's something abstractly morally wrong with it is bigoted. It's the exact same fundamental logic used to justify homophobia.

Dan, I expected better of you. You of all people should know that people, when choosing sex partners, discriminate on all kinds of wacky grounds. Sure, lumping trans men in with women, and not with cis men, seems insulting to their chosen identity. But if someone is basing their sexuality on their partner having lady bits, I see nothing at all invalid about it. Any trans man who doesn't like that attitude can simply decline to date anyone who holds it.
I see an angle in which race could be injected here. Should I do it?

I'll try to suppress my pretty strong LOLWTF?! reaction, and ask ...

1) If you say "I date women and trans men", doesn't that implicitly say you regard them as _different_ groups, rather than saying they're automatically lumped together? Wouldn't you just say "I date women" otherwise?

2) Why, exactly does anyone owe it to the writer to "question why they’re OK with sleeping with trans men and not cis men"? If a woman likes to date women and slender men, is she obliged to question why she's not attracted to fat dudes?

I think you're giving the writer a little too much credit. The argument is that "queer" women shouldn't fuck women and transmen, not that those women shouldn't call themselves lesbians. For one thing, the word "lesbian" doesn't appear once in that screed, and, yes, I did follow the link to the whole thing.

If you’re going to base sexuality on gender, better base it on people’s actual genders.

There's also this. I mean, what? Like you said, queer women who fuck transmen are more likely basing their preferences on physical appearance and pheromones, not gender. If a femme lesbian prefers dating butch dykes, does that mean that she's a hypocrite/liar?
for fuck's sake, i'm sick of all this jargony shit. no wonder non-queers think we're all so complicated and easily butt hurt.

new least favorite prefix: "cis"
The valid point in this badly written piece is that if you date transmen, you should admit that you date men, because you do. It's okay to date both women and men. It's also okay to only be attracted to some subset of each category (actually, it's deeply disturbing if you actually are attracted to every single woman or every single man who exists). So, if the only men you're attracted to are transmen, then that's fine. But you should not identify as someone who doesn't have sex with men, because that is insulting to the men you have sex with.

Personally, I don't date people who have vaginas, because vaginas squick me. That's my right. I am not forced to date anyone I don't want to, and I should not be. But if someone with a vagina is interested in me, I will try to politely reject them - just as I would for someone with a penis that I am not interested in. But I don't think we need to make a big deal out of the fact that some people don't like particular genitals.
@35 - my issue is that I want to be this communities' ally, but I can't keep all the terms straight (no pun intended), and my attention is lost. Whoever wrote this was like reading theoretical physics with no background in the subject had it right.

I really, really want to support this community. But I am so afraid of misusing a term or insulting someone that I can't make any kind of statement of support.
I'm gonna hop in my Cis Am and go rent a copy of Cisformers 3: Dark Of The Moon
Okay, well... I identify as a mostly heterosexual female, and I'm attracted to cis-guys and transmen. I guess that means I'm doing it right? Maybe?
I identify mainly as a sofa but please don't sit on my face and tell me that you love me.
I understand where the writer is coming from (persons who are born female but identify as male probably don't want to be lumped in to the category "women") but disagree with the overall premise and tone. How does she get to decide the sexual identity of others? Didn't she just spend several paragraphs talking about how we need to accept the gender identities of trans people?
I was born a sofa in a man's body, but that doesn't mean you can just sit on my face and fart.
So, do the trans man in question not have a say? What if he knows that the queer woman who dates cis women and trans men does so, and chooses to date her anyway? Aren't you taking away his choice by insisting that queer women who are attracted to cis women / trans men not do so? I think that these conversations are helpful for people who find themselves in these situations, but that there definitely isn't a universal as implied here. If a trans man chooses to get involved with a queer woman who admits to being attracted to the dude's assigned gender, that's his fucking business.
Is this why liberal arts majors can't get a job?
Ever since I got a degree in mechanical engineering, I've been wondering what I was going to do with my degree in organic chemistry. Chemists label the position of functional groups on pi bonded carbon atoms as "trans" if they are kitty-corner from each other or "cis" if they are on the same side.

Little did I know that my useless background would enable me to correctly assign my gender label as "cis-male." It seems odd to adopt this label from the standpoint of being a kind of man who is not trans. Which might make sense if a substantial proportion of men were trans. Which we're not.

I can't wait for the cis-male box to appear on government forms.
And cue the Scanners clip once more...
I'm a rape survivor. I've only had serious relationships with women and a trans man (okay, and kinda sorta a gay guy who was so deep in the closet he was chilling with Aslan). This isn't a matter of viewing trans men as something "other" than any other man, though. It's a side-effect of falling in love with someone I viewed as a woman and then having him come out and start his transition. If he had a massive organic cock, I'd still love him.

So I'm bisexual and happily so, but I'm not going to go find and fuck a cis guy just to reassure everybody that I really do view my boyfriend as a man. Of course he's a man and if I wasn't with him, I might date a cis guy, or a cis woman, or a trans woman, or whoever tickles my fancy.

Are there lesbians who fetishize trans men? Yes. Are they some kind of widespread problem? Not as near as I can tell. If a lesbian identified woman is a douche about your gender identity, dump her ass. If they're not getting fucked by trans men, maybe they'll eventually get a clue and be a little nicer to their partners. There isn't the same kind of power imbalance there as there is between straight male chasers and trans women, so it's not some huge, scary deal. Gosh, that was difficult.
Moving past the squickiness of the usage of trauma...

"If you’re going to base sexuality on gender, better base it on people’s actual genders."

I just don't think it works that way, exactly. The labels come around after the fact, describing a reality; the map is not the territory.
"Is this why liberal arts majors can't get a job?"

Don;t be so sure, if you can figure out how confused these people are, you can probably do Java.
How about I fuck who I want and you fuck off, m'kay?
@55 Thank you Zuulabelle, I couldn't figure out how to get at something I wanted to talk about until you told your story.

I self-identify as a completely heterosexual male. If I fell in love, or lust, or was simply fucking someone I viewed as a woman, I do not know that his coming out, or any point of his transition necessarily changes me or my identification. My initial attraction is consistent with my identified orientation, any complexity is the result of an established relationship.
People have a right to be picky about who they have sex with and not be labeled bigots just because they don't have sex with a particular group of people. Being a bigot isn't about who you have sex with, it's about who you marginalize, who you support, what actions you take to harm or help people (no, fucking them doesn't count much).

If I only had sex with red headed half Asian women, I wouldn't be racist or sexist or a bigot. I'd be a picky fuck. Being unreasonably picky isn't that same as misogyny.
I've decided I'm a Teapot.

You have no right to tell me I am not. I feel it deep inside. It's my deepest core being.

It's taken years of suffering for me to come to this conclusion. My desire to whistle and brew tea has been suppressed for way too long. STOP STARING AT ME! Wait. Don't you DARE look away! What? You want me to be ashamed of my spout? You teapotist!

Okay. I know this is confusing. I don't look like a teapot. But imagine the torment us Teapots feel? I SAID IMAGINE IT RIGHT NOW, you assholes!

Lastly. If you don't fuck Teapots when we want you to... YOU'RE HITLER!
This is the straight version of one of those "Cotton Ceiling" people. As in MTFs see a lesbians underwear as the last place to break thru to troo womanhood.

Lesbians who are only attracted to women born women and not trans women are transphobic and should be coerced or fooled into sleeping with Transwomen. and now apparently trans men as well. Jesus fracking god.
wiat, I read it 2 more times and I think its saying lesbians should NOT sleep with transmen unless they will sleep with all men? Jesus, that is one poorly written piece of shit.
If my experience with transmen is any indication, they seem to start out thinking they are lesbians then come around to realizing that they are trans (I'm sure that there are plenty of exceptions). So most of the transmen I know were more comfortable around lesbians because that's how they were socialized. Over time, some of the transmen I know have moved away from lesbian social circles into trans & straight communities and no longer date lesbians.

Transitioning your gender is difficult, there's no manual for it, and I wish that we made room in our society for people to just be themselves at younger ages. It would certainly help to get rid of this politicizing of people's dating preferences.
I think there's a difference between identifying a troubling population trend and telling other people they therefore have to change their identity/personal preferences/whatever to suit how the world 'should be' that the author fails to distinguish. The author is right that at the population level this could indicate that many trans people have trouble getting the community around them to genuinely think of them as the gender they identify with. This does not mean that individual queer women attracted to people with vaginas regardless of their gender are either bigots or repressing rape trauma. Its the difference between observing the troubling gender disparity of characters with names and speaking parts in fiction overall (Bechnel test), and saying that if a work has mostly male characters it automatically is sexist and if a work has mostly female characters it's automatically wonderful.
I think Quix @33 and I Have Always Been . . . East Coaster @39 have it right.

As I read this, my first thought was that I'm clearly "cis-sexist": I only date/fuck naturally born men. Sorry, but I love cock and there's just something about the smell of a natural-born man (I too hate the term "cis" and find it to be too much like the egotistical mental masterbation Quix discussed - hence the quotations around "cis-sexist").

Does that mean I think think trans-men aren't men? No, it just means I'm attracted to certain pheramones that are given off by natural-born men.

The next thing I thought was "mental masterbation".

But then when she brought up the sexual trauma thing, I knew this was some sort of projection on the part of the author. I don't know what happened to her, but she is projecting her anger onto women who date women and trans-men only. Perhaps she was rejected by one of these women?

Finally, how is saying you will date trans-men "cis-sexism". If you said you dated women and lumped trans-men into that category, then you would be guilty of "cis-sexism", but calling a FTM transexual a trans-man is acknowledging his maleness. There was an unregistered comment earlier that called a trans-man a woman, just because that is how he was born. THAT is cis-sexism.

While I agree that trans-men are indeed men, just as natural-born men are, but to say they are exactly the same as natural-born men is to deny the transformation a trans-man has gone through to become who he is. Do we really want to deny that? I think we should celebrate that!

How many girls out there are denying that aspect of themselves and will live the rest of their lives denying who they truly are? Being able to realize that and then change your outsides to match who are truly are, at large expense on many levels, is a wonderful thing. And I'm willing to bet it changes him in a way that most natural-born men cannot, and will not ever be able to, understand. So, to say that trans-men are exactly like natural-born men, to me, is an insult to them and the journey that they have gone through. I see them as men, as that is what they are, but I want to acknowledge their strength, courage and journey in becoming a man. Does that make me cis-sexist (aside from the fact that I only date natural-born men)?

Who cares, what @7 said. And to the author, please go see a therapist.

(cliche Nazi accent)

We have ways of making you choose your dates based on gender politics ...

Translation for those who can't be arsed:

It used to be "Lesbianism is a choice - a political choice". Then bi became hipper, and trans went up on the radar. Now it's "I chose to be bi, because I include transmen".

Let them rant their silly little heads off, and watch what happens to them in a decade. It inevitably turns into "I put in my time as a good little radical by dating women (and trans men), now I'm ready for a real relationship".
Am I the only person who read the first sentence and though, "Oh, brother, here we go," and didn't read any further? Doesn't sound like I missed much.
God damn, some of you are bigoted idiots.

It's almost fascinating to see the stupid typed out. So someone rights a piece about gender identity and suddenly you don't understand English or how to link subjects and verbs in sentences and then in full paragraphs to formulate a complete idea? Okay.

Back to school you go!
I think shit like this proves to anyone still in doubt: Dan Savage is not and never was a transphobe, but he audience is and always has been.
Oh heavens. People are not "coercively assigned" gender at birth. The state of being male or female is a physical reality. Doctors make an observation. They're not being coercive; it's just true that most people's gender identities match their genitalia.

Gender is the result of genes, gene expression, body chemistry, below-the-neck anatomy, and brain anatomy. Brain anatomy happens to trumps the rest.

But yes, we should lump trans men in with other men under all circumstances in which their transition is not relevant, if only because it's polite. (And there are more reasons besides it being polite.) But no, this isn't the system being cruel. Being a person whose identity does not match his or her body is bad luck, just like menopause is unpleasant. Society didn't decide that some people would be trans or have hot flashes; it's not an injustice to be corrected. It's a reality to be worked around.
I agree with the author, although it took awhile to translate the argument from gender studies-speak to plain English.
I think the author erased Mr Califia, but I'm not sure whether it was deliberate.

It does raise the interesting point about the occasional conflict between the right of A to identify as and be taken as a member of hes true gender in all circumstances and the right of B to maintain Doesn't Boink X as an integral part of hes identity. The Feminist Bingo language just reveals the target audience.

And does anyone know when "women" became fashionable to use as a singluar? I see it frequently.
@42 If their story is women should either fuck only women or fuck everybody for fear of marginalizing trans men, unfuck the writer. No. Really. Nobody fuck this useless queer whatever they identify as. Because fucking them would be an act of marginalization of some group or another.

I could see the argument if the writer had something against a group of dykes purposely calling trans men women or lumping them in as such by declaring themselves only attracted to women and then fucking trans men. But, if this writer is against any woman fucking women and trans men only, than unfuck them.

And, I have to wonder if the writer is writing from a place of butthurt after fucking a dyke who declared him a woman, and decided to take revenge by declaring it a result of sexual trauma.

@45 Fuck the butthurt. A lot of the offended queers are either overly sensitive and ALWAYS going to be offended, or are really young in their age queer theorists, newly out queers, just beginning transitionals, etc etc. If they are offended by Your using the wrong term - as long as you're not using the terms as slurs - tell them their butthurt is showing and they should politely correct you if you're wrong. I've learned to dismiss the easily butthurt among us. They are plenty.
Jesus christ. Why does the author not consider that these women could be BISEXUAL and PREFER VAGINA? Chances are (for financial and practical reasons), most trans men have not had bottom surgery. And no, not everyone is pansexual, so genitals do matter for many people's criterion for physical attraction. I'm bisexual and a trans guy, and I'm fucking offended by her asinine, misplaced aggression and pedantry. Frankly, why is she targeting these people, who are by definition trans allies, and not people who ACTUALLY DISCRIMINATE AGAINS TRANS PEOPLE?

Those of you dismissing people for using the word "cis" (which is the Latin prefix opposite trans, which you should have learned in Chemistry 101) should rethink your attitude. You should dismiss her argument because she's an idiot nitpicking a point that really doesn't matter in this context, not because she's using a word that isn't in common usage among people outside of the trans community. It's exactly equivalent to heterosexual/homosexual.

And uh, @73, last time I checked people aren't fired or beaten to death for being menopausal. That's not really a good comparison. But anyway, that applies less to transgender people (which is her dumb mistake) and more to intersexed people who have ambiguous genitals--they're almost always pushed into male/female and their genitals are surgically "corrected" to look male or female. And a whole lot of them grow up and realize that their gender identity is either the opposite gender or something in-between.
What 61 said.
Whoops, didn't define a term--"bottom surgery" for trans men is sex reassignment surgery that essentially creates a penis using one of two methods that you can look up if you'd like. But, it's not as well-developed as the surgery for trans women, so many trans men find that they don't want to bother with it.

Also, the one thing she did get right in her article is how fantastic Julia Serano's book Whipping Girl is. It is NOT full of this academic women's/queer studies terminology, and it is NOT written to demonize people. The author is a biologist and she writes in an accessible way, and her argument is both insightful and well-supported.
@35--I agree with your first paragraph, but the second has me a little confused, particularly: "I think there is a whole WORLD of reasons for queer women to sleep with trans men beyond trauma, mostly involving body shapes, behaviors, brain chemicals, hormones and phermones."

Because that's nonsense. trans men who are taking testosterone will be chemically and hormonally pretty much like bio men. Testosterone redistributes fat and changes muscle mass so that body shape is also ultimately male. Behaviors of course vary widely based on the individual. And I believe several studies have indicated that the brains of trans men tend to be structurally similar to bio men even before any medical intervention occurs.

Also, I can say as an actual trans man that there is nothing subversive about my sexuality. It's pretty standard, vanilla-ish, and hetero. And I wouldn't be dating someone who was lesbian identified anyway, so maybe this all doesn't apply to me.

thanks for posting this, Dan. I'm startled by the ignorance and bizarre outrage over the article's language here in the comment thread. I'd think people who read your blog regularly would be more up on the lingo around gender studies, but. Yeah. Guess not.
"I'd think people who read your blog regularly would be more up on the lingo around gender studies"

Why? Most fields of study ending in "studies" are utterly valueless, and this is one of them.
just, you know, because sex and gender come up a lot in the column and the podcast. Since it's a column about sex, and sex often involved gender.
and gender studies is next to useless in analyzing even those things as today's writer demonstrated
then why bother to read it at all? You probably would've saved yourself a lot of grief if you'd stopped at the first 'assigned female.' I actually have to admit that I'm finding it denser the second time reading it through than the first, but I really don't know why you'd bother if you already think gender studies is useless.
Because it was funny. Self important unselfconscious bloviating is p. amusing
Also the pretzels people twist themselves into to talk/think themselves around inconvenient truths are pretty amusing too
"Why does the author not consider that these women could be BISEXUAL and PREFER VAGINA? "

Using a strap-on?

"But, it's not as well-developed as the surgery for trans women, so many trans men find that they don't want to bother with it."

Use a strap-on?

"trans men who are taking testosterone will be chemically and hormonally pretty much like bio men. "


"It's pretty standard, vanilla-ish, and hetero."

I really wish zealotry was generally considered to be as socially unacceptable as bigotry.
@80 I think the similarities of trans brain process are closer to their given genders than to their desired genders, but that's given a small sampling of people and a specific observation into male vs female thinking. Also, ymmv as usual. I also have found that out of the few cases I've made out with trans men, only one reached my lizard brain.

That's just based on personal experience and has no scientific basis. Just stray observations as a gay man who has made out with a few trans men, and is not attracted to trans women based on visuals alone.
@90 As for scientific basis... the cognitive differences that are observed between men and women tend to a) vary more within each gender than between them (as in, there are not a lot of areas of cognition in which there are robust and large differences between men and women) and b) a fair amount of the variation we do see (such as in spatial reasoning) can be explained by hormone levels (estrogens and testosterone - for example, language and spatial reasoning; see… for an example).

And, if you're interested in neuroanatomy, try googling transgender/transsexual and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (that's a region of the the thalamus in the brain that appears to be related to gender identity). Basically, it turns out that trans men tend to have a large BNST like cis men and trans women have a smaller BNST like cis women, and it isn't clearly caused by hormone replacement therapy.
Mostly hertro male checking in to say that for me to date you a penis is a fairly large obstacle, I don't care what gender you consider yourself. Currently dating a trans guy. If said trans guy decided to surgically add a penis to his body I would likely reconsider our relationship. That being said it's not currently even a thought bubble so I'm not even thinking about it. We're poly and see other people from time to time and I'll sometimes find a lady who doesn't annoy me and he'll find people from both sexes. I feel like my partner would have problems comparing his plight in the world exactly to mine, while we might share some traits there's no question I'm the only one in the relationship that will ever get to wear the white privilege pants.
If there's one place in our life where we're allowed to not be an "equal opportunity employer", it's in our dating life. If I only want to date brunette transwomen who wear orange socks, while completely ignoring the blonde cis-gendered green sock wearing community, that's my business. You can and should have toleration and respect for others, but that can't make you attracted to someone you aren't.

"What's that ahead, babe? Emergency vehicle lights?"

"Looks like there's been an accident at the upcoming intersection."

"The intersection of gender and sexuality?"


"Damn. When are they gonna fix that intersection? It is really dangerous."


"Cut through the organ mart lot over to Cis street. That way we can avoid that mess."
"If said trans guy decided to surgically add a penis to his body"


No. I am attracted to those to whom I'm attracted. Isn't the whole point of the gay rights movement to proudly claim the right to be with whoever we want, rather than who someone's ideology says we should be with? And why is this focused on queer women anyway? And not, say, gay men who won't date transmen and who won't even invite them to their sex parties? Or straight men who get blowjobs from dudes in drag or transwomen but who would never, ever date one?
Hey, look K. D. Lang playing to the monkeys at the zoo. Where does THAT land on the scale?
I think you can date who you want, but you have to be honest about yourself with the people you're dating and understand if your preferences are a dealbreaker for them. If a trans man doesn't feel comfortable dating a "women and trans men" queer woman? That's his right, and if she's getting that reaction all over the place, she might want to take a look at what she's doing and why.

I think part of the problem here is that a lot of the "women and trans men" queer women might be seeing their trans male partners as something they're not. Women who cross-dress or pretend to be men are like, a big thing for lesbians, probably because for some of us, when we're growing up that's the closest thing to women liking other women that we see. But that's not what a trans man is, there isn't going to be that woman underneath the man, and I think some of these people expect a trans male partner to be essentially a very masculine woman, and isn't going to make anyone happy. What happens if the boyfriend doesn't want to be out as trans most of the time, and just wants people to assume he's a cis guy? What about if he goes on testosterone and his body goes through a lot of changes and becomes more masculine? What if he gets surgery? (This is why I don't get the "attracted to bodies" argument- most trans people want to take hormones and/or get surgery, and those things, especially the hormones, change a LOT about the body.)

I think for many people, it is basically just bisexuality + wanting to date somebody who's in the same community as you, and there are a lot of trans men in the parts of the queer community where these women might be likely to hang out. If someone's into "women and trans men" and the men they're dating have been transitioning for a while, have gotten the medical procedures if they want them, etc, then I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt more than someone who dates trans men that are newly out and the relationships never last past the point of physical transition. There are androgynous or masculine women out there who also like cross-dressing or playing with gender, so if that's what you really want, why put yourself and the other party through dating someone who might have the body type you like, but who by definition is very likely to be unhappy with that and change it?
People are assigned a gender at birth, but that assignment relies on assumptions based on sex (i.e.: the visible genitalia) and therefore it's not always correct, in the same way that often incorrect assumptions are made about a newborn's future sexuality based on the visible genitalia.

“I date women and trans men” may be problematic, but not for the reasons this author claims: in all likelihood, given the current limitations of MTF genital reassignment options, what that statement really means is "I date people who have vaginas but not people who have penises."

If that is what is really meant, then it's not problematic because it expresses a sexuality based on gender, but because it ellides sex and gender: just as some men have vaginas and/or are female-bodied, some women have penises and/or are male bodied. Contrary to what the writer claims, people who make that statement are being quite clear about the fact they're dating women and men (it's in the name transmen). In other words, they're being clear about gender; what they're not being clear about is sex.
@90 off topic now, but 'reached my lizard brain' is making me envision some alien type scenario where you normally make out with dudes who have freakishly long, possibly barbed tongues. Ha. It could make a decent horror film.
" therefore it's not always correct, "

Only 99.8% of the time and that's after they've taken a Queer Studies class at evergreen state.
"given the current limitations of MTF genital reassignment options"