Columns Nov 23, 2011 at 4:00 am



@206 - if you said "I could never like having sex with a woman," I would probably keep quiet to be polite, but I would think you were naive and prejudiced, yes. Blindfolded, with a finger or a fist probing you, could you really tell the difference between a male hand and a female hand?
@ 204 (EricaP):

You make an analogy between an expression of sexual non-interest and racial bigotry, when you say that FRAUD's assertion that he has no sexual interest in any woman not born female is akin to saying '"I could never be friends with someone black."'

"Being friends with" is not synonymous with "wants to fuck."

I am friends with all kinds of people I don't want to have sex with (and the list goes far beyond gender differences). I am friends with gay men, with women, straight and lesbian, with people of all races, with those of different religions (for the record, had sex with a few who fit into these categories, too, in case I'm going to get called a racial or religious bigot), with people far, far removed from me generationally. I am friends with straight men I would love to fuck if only things worked out that way, and I am friends with straight men I would never in a zillion years want to fuck. I even have a couple of republican friends.

I have never used any distinction as an excuse to not get to know another human being, but I have the right to not want to fuck whomsoever I don't want to fuck and not deserve to get tarred with the bigot brush for it.

And I can't ever imagine liking licorice.
@208: But I don't have sex with a hand. I have sex with a whole person.

Probably, given the scenario you're describing, I would be unable to tell the difference between who the hand belonged to, and so, yes, I might get pleasure (fisting being a favorite of mine).

But that isn't the point here, and it doesn't address the lw's concerns. I am not talking about the equivalent of bathhouse glory-holing. I am talking, about who it is I choose to date, to have a sexual relationship with. Likewise, you could give me a food and serve it to me blindfolded and not tell me that it was haggis and I might enjoy myself. But I'm still never going to enjoy the idea of eating haggis, even afterward, if you said to me, "but you ate it that one time, when you didn't know what it was, and you liked it."

The mind is a powerful organ.
I recently got off hormonal birth control, and my libido has disappeared. It was sky high while on the pill. Just saying that generalizations SUCK!
@209 - just choose not to fuck them as individuals, and I'll think the world of you. We are all entitled to be friends with whomever we like too - it's a free country. But if someone tells me that he/she will never be friends with someone of a different race, I consider them prejudiced. You just don't know.

@210 If you learned that you had enjoyed haggis, that would not bring you to reevaluate your thoughts on haggis?
So, does "Queer" now mean "anyone who isn't anti-LGBT"? Because I had thought it meant "I'm Bi but I don't want to call myself Bi"
You know, like Pansexuals.
FRAUD can enjoy sex with a trans woman without being BLINDFOLDED because he can never be sure about the DNA of the person he is having sex with.

the original question only deal with sex.

Fraud is not comfortable with having sex with any trans woman, he has the right to not feel comfortable, but the question is why is he uncomfortable and how can he feel uncomfortable if he can never know for sure the woman he is having sex with (WIDE EYES OPEN) have a XY or XX choromosome?

lets imagine this: would FRAUD be more comfortable having sex with a super butch male looking lesbian as opposed to a trans woman who nobody on earth could have guess she had XY DNA.

Fraud is uncomforable with having sex with any women who are trans, nobody questions his right to feel uncomfortable, but the question is the root of that discomfort , and its the idea of trans women in his mind that turned him off , not the actual reality, because in reality, Fraud cannot know for sure who is trans or not trans.

So Fraud could be prejudiced against trans women on a subconscious level, it all depends on what is it about the idea of transgender women that turn him off if he cannot honestly tell for sure all the women he feel attracted to were transsexual or cisgender?

(Following up myself@212:) I'm okay with generalizations and statements of fact, just not absolutes set in the future. Out of politeness to the people around you who may be trans, or may love someone trans, can't you just substitute: "I've never been attracted to someone trans, and I doubt I ever will." Instead of saying "I could never do that?"

Also, try using more considerate analogies. There's a difference between comparing transgendered people to haggis (usually considered a horrible food in the US), versus licorice, which many people like (though not me or you).
Re the "expert" advice to LW1: I don't doubt for a moment that the "expert" who was consulted would be LIVID if anyone presumed to tell him/her/it how "correctly" to refer to his/her/its own sexuality. To exhort the LW to no longer identify himself as "straight" is just as offensive as those rabid religionists who exhort post-surgical transgenders to identify as persons who have voluntarily mutilated their deity-specified bodies for no better reason than transient thrills.

Please, Dan: Practice what you preach, and apply the same standard to your "consultants."

-- Spikeygrrl (30 years a BDSMer but still 100% "straight," thank you very much!)
And again i repeat, transsexual women are not crying over this guy not enjoying the idea of fucking transsexuals.

I personally can fall in love with someone without fucking them, fuck is is not love.

I perfer love, and i think most trans women do as well, and if you really are in love with someone, you will want to give them pleasure in every way possible, one of them including the physical.

A more interesting question again is, can Fraud fall in love with a woman who is trans?
Isnt it transphobic to use the analogy of a straight guy who says he can never be attracted to a man to a straight guy saying he can never be attracted to a woman who happens to be trans?

Isnt that kind of comparison really boils down to the idea that trans women are not really women?

I know many people have prejudice against transgender women , some will accept us as women only on a surface level, some wont at all, and some will claim they are great supporter and they will even fuck us but they wont be in an offical or public relationship with us, and someone will say they are supporter but they are NEVER going to be attracted to us (even though they have no way of knowing if a woman is trans or not for sure)

To me, you can support trans women and not be open minded to trans women, and being a supporter of trans people and being open minded me that you can see yourself being with a trans woman because they are women in your eyes, and you can imagine (no matter how remote) that you could be in a relationship with a trans women because duh, you are attracted to women!

so i think there are many different degree of acceptance/tolerance toward trans people and its more realistic to look at the issue from that view.

In my opinon, if a straight man tells me he see trans women as women, and accept us as women, but than he tells me he cant imagine ever being in an intimiate relationship with any trans women even though he is straight, single and looking

I have to say , yeah, you are a bit of a hypocrite, that’s okay we all are, and I am not going to call you a bigot, but well, it is what it is.

Not that i dont appreciate straight men who say that to me, becuase lets face it, even if you are not 100 percent accepting, you are doing pretty good if you are 80 or 90 percent there, compared to the kind of hateful anti-trans world we live in.
@218, would you agree that transwomen are a subset of women? A man might say he couldn't imagine falling in love with a Catholic woman, say, or an ugly woman, a Communist woman, a woman who was an amputee, a tall woman, or a woman who was raised as a male... All of these are prejudices, and in my view it's foolish for people to think they know the future. But I don't see that talking about transwomen as a distinct class is necessarily the same as saying that they aren't real women.
It would be entertaining to see Mr Ank mediating between Ms Erica and Ms Cute over the meaning of "never" and other things.

Ms Erica and in particular Ms There bring forth interesting questions about knowledge versus assumption.

I am recalling (very vaguely) a column Agela Watrous wrote about ten years ago in which she framed the issue rather as discrimination in one's love/sex life, and entirely endorsed the concept of dating/boinking with one's head as well as with one's groin, evenn if the resulting discrimination would be unacceptable in any other sphere of life.
Oh, curses - Angela Watrous, not Agela. I had to retype the post because it disappeared.

This thread has made it seem a bit more surprising to me than usual that I haven't ever, shall we say, manifested tangible evidence of attraction in female company. Then again, if I were to put a number on how many males (within reasonable bounds of knowledge or assumption) have produced the same, it would be depressingly low. If I weren't out of circulation (or, to please Ms Erica, if unforeseen circumstances caused me to return), I think in general the logistics of dating a trans man would be a net plus compared to dating a cis man.
@215: I wasn't comparing transgendered people to haggis. I was using your "if you were blindfolded, how could you tell whose hand was up inside you" question and following it to try and discuss the "informed decision" aspect of actually dating. But thank you for making me out to be a hate-filled bigot.

And I wonder what is an acceptable ruling-out point to you--surely you have some? If I said I would never be sexually interested in anyone more than 30 years older or younger, would that be okay? Is it all right to say that I, a straight woman, could never be attracted to a woman? Should I leave myself open to the possibility of someday in the future being sexually attracted to a child? (uh, oh, there go those charges of my being inconsiderate again and comparing pedophiles to those who date transpeople.) Okay, what if I couch this in what appears to be the last acceptable arena of prejudice: What if I unilaterally ruled out all people weighing over 350 pounds? How about 400 pounds?

To say that you and all other enlightened people carefully weigh each individual case and that to have a group of people from whom you recuse yourself from considering as sexual partners is tantamount to naivety or bigotry is hypocritical.
Ms There - It just occurred to me that FRAUD has, in his own words, "numerous friends in varying states of transition". Is it possible that this could account for much of his difficulty? He may have seen too much of the process, as it were, to exclude those particulars from his appreciation of the end product with women he knows to have transitioned. (This is much more a guess than an assertion.)

I'm quite satisfied to defer to you about situations concerning his incorrect assumption.
To FTP: A bit of friendly advice. Lose the Facebook page. There are certain realities that we in non mainstream lifestyles have to deal with. One of them is that someone out there will object and make an issue out of your activities. And they'll use what they've found to push their moral agenda. With a kid in the mix, that just gives them more ammunition.

Its sad that members of your own family see fit to throw a wrench into your relationship and those of people close to you. Imagine how many busy bodies there are who don't give a sh*t about you and won't hesitate to make an example of you.
@222 The joy of Slog is that we get so deep into issues. In order to do that, here, I find myself calling your statements prejudiced. I apologize that I can't find a way to do that without seeming to insult you.

Of course I have preferences, in food, in movies, in dating, in lust. But I keep an open mind for specific instances of undesirable classes, that might make me change my standards. Generally, I don't like eating octopus, licking labia, horror movies, or making fundraising calls. But occasionally there are exceptions. I don't expect to date anyone obese, or anyone under thirty, or anyone who used to have a penis. But stranger things have happened, and I don't rule it out categorically. Also, to the extent that a category seems particularly distasteful to me, I figure that's probably my psychological issue, rather than anything to do with those people. Like the later Heinlein, I rather think we're all inherently omnisexual, if it weren't for our psychological baggage.
@222 nocutename

My experience is that I react to people on a case by case basis. But it's very easy to comprehend that it simply does not work that way for everyone. Exclusively straight people exist as do all the others on the sexual spectrum.
@225 EricaP

But isn't the world a richer place for having variety? I doubt we are all omnisexual and I rather hope we aren't.
@227 okay, sure. In this world, it amounts to the same thing. But I believe people would mostly be better off if everyone kept a somewhat open mind about who/what might make their wobbly bits tingle. Play the odds, stick with what has worked for you in the past, sure. But why not also stay open to serendipitous sexy surprises...
Okay, keep an open mind. I think that in practice, I do this more often than not. But I keep going back to this poor letter writer, who maybe should have said, as you suggested, '"I've never been attracted to someone trans, and I doubt I ever will."' And it occurs to me that although he phrased his attitude to Dan like this: "in my own dating life, I wouldn't feel comfortable dating/having sex with a woman who had at one point in her life been a man," he likely wouldn't have phrased it that way to his actual trans friends, and quite possibly said something more akin to what you've provided as a model. And yet he still gets taken to task for it.

Nowhere in the original letter does he imply that he is harsh or rude in his statement of preference. In fact, even Kate Bornstein, who has irritated so many Sloggers by her re-christening FRAUD as "queer heterosexual" instead of "straight," agrees that he isn't transphobic.

Somehow our hair-splitting got us miles ahead of FRAUD.
@229 - Yep. In person, I'm sure we're all more polite than on Slog. And FRAUD was probably perfectly polite to his transfriends. But we're all prone to overinterpreting what people say to us. So maybe his friends just teased FRAUD, saying, "hey, never say never!" And he thought they meant that he should have sex with one of them, to prove that he wasn't transphobic. Which made him feel defensive; hence the letter to Dan.

I know I am doing some hair splitting, but I am a trans woman and I have alot of hair to split.

Anyways FRAUD originally said "But in my own dating life, I wouldn't feel comfortable dating/having sex with a woman who had at one point in her life been a man"

Many trans women would not say they were, at any point in their life, a man.

Many trans women now transitioned really early, so they had literally never been through a male puberty before they transitioned. Many trans women would also say that they have always been a girl, excluding the fact of their outside/outward appearance.

So perhaps part of FRAUD's problem with trans women is that he believe trans women were once men and this is definitely not something that the ts community as a whole would agree with.

Anyhow, my impression of the letter is that FRAUD is asking for premission to not be labelled as an ally of the trans community..

but if hes really concerned with standing along side of trans women..he should be more detailed as to why he doesnt want to sleep with trans women, or date them or be in a relationship with a trans women.

As a pre op trans woman, I personally do not tolerate anyone who will not appreciate every part of my body, and if Fraud said hes not comfortable with sleeping with me or a post op trans women, i would just say who said i am interested in you?..but no, i guess I wont consider FRAUD to be transphobic unless if i find out theres more to the source his discomfort.

yes, i need to write this much to come to the conclusion i am okay with FRAUD, but he is asking for premission, which makes me suspect theres more to his discomfort, and hes not saying it becuase it would make him look bad in front of GLBTQ community =[

But we don't know what FRAUD did or didn't say to his friends; we only know what he said to Dan, which is "I realize I wouldn't be fucking a dude, but . . . " (Which of course means: "Oh noez, I'd be fucking a dude!!1!") As he's explained it here, FRAUD's unwillingness to date transwomen has nothing to do with absence of attraction, and everything to do with the presence of discomfort. (I'm not saying that FRAUD is necessarily attracted to transwomen; I'm just saying he didn't frame the question in terms of attraction or non-attraction.)

Like you and a great many other posters, I don't think anybody should be blamed for their lack of attraction to any person or group of people. Who we're attracted to isn't under our conscious control, and not being attracted to somebody doesn't amount to an expression of prejudice. But being actively uncomfortable with somebody is, I would argue, a little less blameless.

Yes, FRAUD is only uncomfortable with transwomen (or the idea of transwomen) in the specific context of sex; otherwise, it sounds like he's perfectly cool with them, which puts him ahead of 99% of the population. And yes, I know that we all have our squicks as well as our turn-ons, and those aren't necessarily subject to our conscious control, either. But I think that considerate adults should, at the very least, rephrase their squicks as neutral statements of personal preference. Instead of saying "I'm not comfortable with the thought of having sex with a [man, woman, transexual, intersexual, black/Asian/white person, fat person, old person], and it's a mental hurdle I just can't clear," why not just say "I've never met a [man, woman, transexual, intersexual, black/Asian/white person, fat person, old person] who turned me on, and I just don't think my libido's wired that way"? For me, at least, this isn't just a question of semantics. The first statement suggests that the speaker has some fundamental objection to [men, women, transexuals, etc.]; the second statement comes across as much less of a sweeping value judgment.

FRAUD's letter vaguely reminds me of Dan's occasional tangents about how female genitals freak him out. Yeah, we get that vaginas don't turn Dan's crank, and that's totally cool. But when he goes on about how vaginas make him feel all grossed-out and icky? That's not so cool. The same principle applies here. Not attracted to transwomen? Totally cool. Advertising to the world that the thought of having sex with a transwoman is a "mental hurdle [you] can't clear" and makes you feel all uncomfortable? Keep it to yourself, dude.

you said it better than I could, dude! lol kudos!
@232: You're right that "advertising to the world that the thought of having sex with a transwoman is a "mental hurdle [you] can't clear" and makes you feel all uncomfortable" is something best kept to oneself. If FRAUD indeed makes his revulsion known or obvious, he's a a boor or being uncool and a hypocrite, despite his involvement in the LGBT community.

And you're also correct that we don't know what FRAUD did or didn't say to his friends. Without that crucial information, we're making all kinds of assumptions which lie behind our judgments of him as a person.

I've chosen (based on the fact of his having been the president of his college GSA and his claiming to have been a vocal supporter of LGBT issues and having numerous friends going through the various stages of transitioning between genders) to assume that FRAUD displayed more tact with his friends, and that his phrasing of his questions to Dan take the tone of serious introspection, a condition in which one doesn't always worry so much about sounding offensive, but is trying to really come to a deeper understanding of one's feelings and motives. If anything, I think that this level of self-questioning is to be commended and I don't think that great delicacy of expression is necessary under those circumstances.

You've chosen (as have EricaP and arewethereyet) to assume that FRAUD expressed himself to his presumed friends exactly as he has to Dan in this column, and have been accordingly offended by a tone you think is more prejudicial than it needs to be.

We'll none of us know what exactly FRAUD said, nor the way in which he said it. So I believe it therefore makes sense to warily cut him some slack.

But as you and arewethereyet--the only person on this thread with perhaps the best claim to have any sort of stake in this issue--have pointed out, even if he is displaying some prejudice or insensitivity, he is still 99% ahead of the vast majority of the population. Seriously, I think arewehereyet said something about transwomen not crying over FRAUD's unwillingness to date/fuck/love them, and I think she is right. But he can still be an ally for their rights. I don't want to sleep with a lot of people, whose rights I work towards securing, and I hope that my efforts aren't dismissed nor my intentions negated just because I don't want to have sex with them.

I feel the same as FRAUD, but for different (or maybe the same reasons.) I can't imagine feeling miss-assigned in your body and it must be very challenging. I sincerely wish all trans people the best and hope they find the love they deserve, like everyone else.

However, the whole trans idea makes me totally crazy. (218) Mutilating yourself and taking some hormones does not make you a woman! It makes you a man who cut off his junk and took some hormones. And THAT'S OK! Variety IS the spice of life. I think the real issue is the narrow media -influenced concept of what behaviours are supposedly "male" or "female". Men can like dresses and women can like building things without having to switch genders. But that's another story.

If FRAUD is not attracted to trans women, that's ok! He doesn't have to apologize for his hormones and trans people don't have to apologize to wankers like me. You don't have to be open to fucking someone to give them basic respect as a human. Yes, It is plausible that he (or I) could become enamoured with a trans woman and have a very happy relationship. But in my case, even if the person were the stunning ideal of stereotypical womanhood, I feel that I would lose my attraction to them if they told me they used to be a man. Because I would not be able to differentiate "used to be" from "currently am." Or maybe I would shrug and change my status to queer and go on about my day? I suppose I'll cross that bridge when I get there.
@232 & @234: Congrats! Well said!
@233: Agreed!
@227: Amen! I think the world would be a sadly depressing, boring as hell place if we were all the same.
It's ironic that the first writer is being told "who he should love" by people who have strongly rejected similar demands.
I also had to roll my eyes at the new demand that he stop calling himself straight. We need to slow down this rapid lingo turnover, or no one will be able to undestand us! It's not a secret club with secret words, it's a message about personal freedom that should be shared.

"However, the whole trans idea makes me totally crazy. (218) Mutilating yourself and taking some hormones does not make you a woman! It makes you a man who cut off his junk and took some hormones. "

yeah, you are definitely intolerant and transphobic, its telling that you came to the defense of FRAUD.

@234 - I agreed, I am all for self introspection, I have thought alot about this issue personally. I hope FRAUD is also reading some of our comments and exploring his source of discomfort.
Bornstein clearly doesn't speak for all of us. I, for one, don't "blend genders in my body." Is Bornstein a transgenderist? Because that's very different from transsexualism.

Nobody should be judged for not being attracted to a particular person. It's easy to understand how a lot of straight guys aren't into mid-transition transsexuals or transgenderists and gender queer people (or trans women that have some male-typical physical characteristics). But what if you physically and emotionally can't even tell that a person's trans until she tells you?

If you're attracted to a woman, date her for a while, and maybe even have great sex with her, only to get grossed out and dump her when she tells you about her medical history - you're a bigot.
Bornstein clearly doesn't speak for all of us. I, for one, don't "blend genders in my body." Is Bornstein a transgenderist? Because that's very different from transsexualism.

Nobody should be judged for not being attracted to a particular person. It's easy to understand how a lot of straight guys aren't into mid-transition transsexuals or transgenderists and gender queer people (or trans women that have some male-typical physical characteristics). But what if you physically and emotionally can't even tell that a person's trans until she tells you?

If you're attracted to a woman, date her for a while, and maybe even have great sex with her, only to get grossed out and dump her when she tells you about her medical history - you're a bigot.
With respect to FRAUD, 46 years ago someone else answered the question more effectively than Dan or anyone else here.
My first reaction to the term queer heterosexual (QHet) was positive. However, as I read some of the comments, my perception changed and now I don't think it applies to FRAUD (thanks to posts like echizen_kurage's or Sea Otter's.) That's why I love 'Savage Love 2.0', forum included!

However, I do like the term in other sense: QHet could be used by heterosexuals who are open to other possibilities in their lives, not only queer friendly but also not one-hundred-percent-heterosexual. Although I believe that most of our sexuality is given by nature, as human beings we are prone to learning, especially if we are open to new possibilities. At forty-something I'm not the same guy I was at twenty. Not gay, not bi, but not completely straight either. Thanks to the Internet, literature and a life dedicated to self-exploration, my mind today is populated by non-vanilla images that make me horny and still don’t move me to act on them. I’m still heterosexual, but not completely. But I’m not bi either and none of the current terms applies to me. I would never come out of a closet I don’t belong to, but I like the possibilities implied by this new term. Yes, in this sense, I would call myself Queer Heterosexual.

In other words: it's the equivalent to monogamish: Queer Heterosexual = Heterosexualish.
@243: Who was that?
@243: And please do NOT say Kemper Freeman.
@245, click the link and read your screen, fer chrissakes.
As a former worker with Texas CPS I can very easily soothe FTP's fears. CPS don't give a damn about people's personal lives. Unless the child has marks and bruises, has lost weight or developed severe mental health issues as a result of the home environment then the poly couple have nothing to fear. Unless of course, they smoke meth or crack or synthetic drugs, but since the child is 10 then it's not that big of a deal. Children have to actually be abused before CPS gets involved.
As a former worker with Texas CPS I can easily soothe FTP's fears. CPS don't give a damn about people's personal lives. Unless the child has marks, bruises, has lost weight or developed severe mental health issues due to the home environment, then the poly couple have nothing to fear. Unless they smoke meth, crack or synthetic drugs. But since the child is already 10 then even the drugs wouldn't be that big of a deal. Children actually have to be abused before CPS intervenes. It's amazing how many people can't understand that.
@244 There's already a word for that: heteroflexible.
Why do "all" of your LGBTetc. friends know this about you, FRAUD? A bit TMI, I'd say. You ID as straight, thus they expect that you'll be attracted to some women. If you happen not to be attracted to trans, there's nothing you can do about that. Attraction can't be forced.

However, are you SURE you're straight? Cause this sounds like hella gay drama to me!
SFMMD, keep your sex and and your work separate, dig? HR does NOT like sex/relationship drama making problems and any whispers about fetishes and other things that most people don't want to know about their co-workers (or worse, DO want to know, and tell everyone) will get you on the layoff list PDQ. She could take down the evidence, then claim you approached her with an unwanted advance.
@243: You mean "Go where you wanna go; do what you wanna do"?
Otherwise, what does a recording and about six different album covers of The Mamas and the Papas have to do with FRAUD's situation, for chissakes?

You HAVE been sitting in car fumes too long, dude!
#253, if you still can't figure it out, then I'll have to call it a mystery. At least to you, if not to anyone else.
The thing I'm taking from this most interesting discussion isn't so much about attraction and transexuality as it is about the utter failure of metaphors when applied to attraction and sexual identity.

The arguments are:

Not being attracted to trans people is like not being attracted to tall people or fat people or children or women.

Calling not being attracted to trans people transphobic is like calling a gay man a misogynistic, woman-hating, pig.

Analyzing a poem in order to appreciate it is like performing an autopsy on a woman in order to love her.

Declaring that you could never be attracted to a trans person is as prejudiced as declaring that you could never be attracted to a Black person.

A man who is convinced that he's really a woman despite all external evidence to the contrary is like a schizophrenic who is convinced that he's someone else despite all evidence to the contrary.

Saying that human sexuality is a social construction is like saying that the sexuality of dogs and cats is a social construction as well, like saying that they're not really male or female either.

Changing sex with hormones and surgery is like changing race with dye.

Getting fisted blindfolded by a transman is like getting fisted blindfolded by any man, or any thing presumably, even a talented robot. The childhood experiences of the fister don't matter.

In every one of these, the comparison is used to make the point. They fail to prove it.
The metaphors are not brought in as proof, Crinoline, but to create a space for empathy. If you cannot understand why a woman resents being told that she isn't really a woman, and can never become a woman (and why decent human beings might avoid telling her so), the idea was to put it in terms that you (and others) might be able to appreciate viscerally.
I guess sex is just outside the normal range of experience, and can't be treated in the same way.
@255 - rereading, I see you brought up comparisons used to make many different points, so I'll just say that my comparisons were intended to create a space for empathy.
@248 Wow I hope you're right...and that it applies to other states. I've never heard of CPS caring if someone is in an open marriage.

Commenters like #152 make me think "Polyphobia" is the new wave of bigotry to erupt, now that homophobia and transphobia are on the decline.
FTP's letter just shows how desperate people like FTP's brother are for a morality police. They believe there should be one. They look around. They don't see one. They remain certain that FTP's behavior is wrong and that it's hurting children. They're so convinced that there has to be a morality police that they see it in CPS. I imagine they're bitterly disappointed when CPS doesn't live up to their expectations.
The first letter was so made up just to speak w/ that expert. "All" of his friends call him a transphobe? Why does this even come up in conversation? He shouldn't have to talk about who he's attracted to/not attracted to.
God save us all from bigoted relatives who either do not understand LGBT issues or are simply shit-heads. The B-I-L & S-I-L did not understand my defence of a family member finding her true love and marrying her. They are more fundamentally religious (Orthodox Jewish) and boycotted the wedding (a lovely affair BTW) & stated that if I defend their lifestyle, I am probably a closeted gay as well. (Did not use a PC name - jeez for religious people, they sure do use the Q word without any good context)

My response, at the dinnertable BTW, is that they are likely shitheads and will remain so.
@254: Yep--you remain a cloud of carbon monoxide spewing mystery to me.

How's your private helicopter to and from Bellevue Square running?
Imagine being blindfolded while someone with amazing talents fisted you until you came multiple times. You can't imagine that there exists a transman who could give you pleasure that way? It's just a fist. What do the childhood experiences of the person with the fist matter, when it comes to a fun sexual moment?

This story is not really convincing. What if the person with the fist is your father? Does that mean that you should not rule out incest? What if it is a 10-year old? Does that mean that you should not be prejudiced against pedophilia?
@264: There are social taboos against incest and pedophilia. We don't use the derogatory word "prejudice" in those circumstances, because our society approves of those prejudices. So we call them taboos, instead.

To put prejudice against the transgendered in the same category is harmful to real people. It should not be socially acceptable to say "I would never have sex with a woman whose sex chromosomes are XY." Think whatever you want inside your head. But the only reason for announcing that general rule is to win other people's reassurance that you're still a good person. If you want to be a good person, think of people as people first, not as categories you will or won't fuck.
@119, 122, 123: Here's my take on poly as it relates to the term queer.

As 119 says, being to be poly is to be a member of a sexual minority, but it is independent of the hetero-bi-homosexual spectrum. "Straight" is commonly understood to mean heterosexual, and while it sometimes has other connotations, that seems to be the vast majority of its meaning. So if a person is poly and heterosexual, I don't think it's strange for them to identify as straight; in fact, I would expect them to do so.

One thing I think is interesting in this thread in general is that "queer" and "straight" are presented as opposites, and I personally don't think of them that way. I often see straight, kinky people or straight, poly people identify as queer because their experience as a member of a sexual minority makes them feel more at home identifying as queer. I personally think that this makes sense: the "t" in "LGBTQ" isn't an identity on the gay-bi-straight spectrum either, and poly and kinky people experience a lot of the same kinds of prejudice as other sexual minorities.

Basically, I think that all hetero people should identify as straight, but that if they are straights who are also members of sexual minorities, they should be able to call themselves queer without people telling them they're wrong. Or not adopt the queer label if they don't feel like it fits.
Ms Cute - Well, it is true that one might react quite differently, in the sentence, "I don't date/boink anyone's who's X," X being one point of identity or another, if the verb were changed to HIRE (except, I suppose, if X=under legal age, although that's temporary).
I can't believe we're even HAVING this discussion.

It makes me want to tear out my hair just to watch you all do it.

And now I'm doing it! AAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!
Ms Erica @265 - I like your point, but wonder if the degree of volition in a particular case changes anything for you. Just as an example, I think I can visualize your saying, "I will never have a relationship (knowingly) with a hard-line Republican." Not that it would shock me if you would, just that something such as religion or politics might be different.
@269 I guess the point of announcing that (rather than keeping it to myself) would be in hopes of inspiring my fellow Democrats and demoralizing hard-line Republicans. Not sure how well that would work, as a political tactic.

But telling people that I'm (sexually) repulsed by some aspect about them that is permanent and involuntary does seem even less acceptable.

Not wanting to sleep with a MTF trans person doesn't make a person straight. If you survey what turns off gay men the most, the answer is "fems." Ironic, huh? Well, as one guy said, "if I wanted a woman, I'd be straight!" In truth, I've known drag queens and transsexuals and the men who loved them, and they're neither gay nor straight. They're something else, since they're not attracted to macho gay men nor to straight women. They like trannies, period. But this guy ain't one of'em.
I suppose the one thing that makes sex so difficult to accept as "my own choice" -- I am working on my sexual happiness, which concerns me, and if it so happens that I'm not attracted by the idea of a sex-change opperation, to the extent that it turns me off, i.e., I couldn't be sexually happy with a trans person and I would make her unhappy if I tried -- is that it involves other people.

Sex and love, love and sex. If I'm not sexually attracted to the idea of trans people, that means I'm "transphobic" at some level.

So if you're not attracted to the "idea" of BDSM, or watersports, or scat... if they cross a boundary for you, to the extent that you would terminate a relationship if your partner suddenly revealed an interest in these activities and wanted to icnlude you... then you're a bigot?

So you no longer have the right to define by yourself the parameters within which you're willing to look for sexual happiness?

I cannot exclude something I don't like from my search path for sexual happiness simply because there are people who identify with it -- people I respect and whose decision to act in accordance with their nature I also respect, but who I would not like to have sex with -- without being a bigot?

I cannot dislike chocolate as food without being a bigot, since there are people who like chocolate as food?

I think the only reason why people feel strongly that me not being sexually attracted to some group of people -- by the idea that defines this group even -- is still the confusion between sex and love.

The implication that I cannot really fully respect someone if there is something about him/her that turns me off as an idea. So, if I, as a straight man, really don't like to sleep with men, am I prejudiced against males? Does that imply that I cannot respect, like, and have deep relationships with other males?

Sexual preference is sexual preference. It is what works for me in bed. It does not determine how I treat people. And in the end, it's how I treat people that determines whether or not I'm a bigot, consciously or unconsciously.

By confusing lack of sexual attraction with 'ickiness', 'disgust', 'impossibility to connect', this confusion illustrates one of the most interesting philosophical dangers in the confusion between sex and love, attraction and connection, desire and admiration, that is so deeply embedded in our culture.
The most famous husband of a trannie in American History was Sitting Bull, whose wife was "winkte" which is Lakota for a trannie.
@EricaP, who wrote:
It should not be socially acceptable to say "I would never have sex with a woman whose sex chromosomes are XY." Think whatever you want inside your head. But the only reason for announcing that general rule is to win other people's reassurance that you're still a good person.

I'm not so sure. I can see people making the claim for the reason you mention, but I can see also other reasons -- for instance, simply making a statement of fact (as people will state their preferences in dating sites, or will discuss them later on with their dates, etc.).

When a gay man comes out of the closet, he does make the claim -- implicit or explicit -- that he does not want to have sex with women. Just as trans people, women (cis or trans) did not 'choose' to be women, but were born like that. One could claim that the gay guy who claims he would never sleep with them is thereby being 'bigotted' (or conversely, the straight guy who claims he'd never have sex with other men).

There are of course reasons for our preferences, just as there are reasons for having this kink rather than that kink, and so on. But 'bigotry' is something else, to me; bigotry is acting on one's feeling/belief of superiority with respect to some other group so as to harm them. But when I simply define the limits within which sex would work for me, I am not doing harm to others -- unless you think denying access to my body is such harm.

If we admit people are entitled to their kinks, then they're entitled also to their anti-kinks. If we're entitled to our turn-ons, we're also entitled to our turn-offs. As long as all they do is define sexual happiness for us, as long as we're not imposing our criteria on others and their sexual happiness, there is nothing bigotted about that. It's simply being who you are.
@271 I've known drag queens and transsexuals and the men who loved them, and they're neither gay nor straight. They're something else, since they're not attracted to macho gay men nor to straight women. They like trannies, period. But this guy ain't one of'em.

oh great, now we are back to square one, theres so many transphobia on this thread its not even funny. Why would you compare "trannies" to "drag queen" can a man not identify with being straight while still be in a relationship with a transsexual? Do you know its offensive to call someone a tranny especially when you are not? especially when you are basically saying drag queens and "trannies" are the same thing?

I think there is a difference between saying transsexual women can never turn me on for some reasons, as opposed to saying I am not comfortable with the idea of having sex with women who were once a man, which is how the original poster put it.
In fact now that i read more closely, FRAUD never made the claim that transsexuals cant turn him on, or that he cannot be attracted to trans women, he just "cant feel comfortable" being with one because he couldnt get through the "mental hurdle" of " dating/having sex with a woman who had at one point in her life been a man. "

I do feel that if he truly understand that alot of trans women do not ever identify as being a "man" , than he would maybe get over his "mental hurdle".
Yeah, I cant believe a week later I am still talking about this but just as a side note, I cant tell you how many times men would say they can always tell if a woman is transsexual, hence, they can control and affirm their belief that they will never be attracted to a transsexual.

This is not about a man saying he is not turned on by bigger women or Chinese women or tall women. This is not a matter of sexual turn on, because there is no way a man can tell before hand if a woman has XX or XY in their DNA, so it boils down to the idea a man has about trans women, why doesn’t he feel comfortable in his mind despite the fact their body is saying yes or interested to a woman who’s transsexual?

Its KIND of like saying, you know, I don’t mind fucking a sex worker, I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of dating a sex worker.

Thats really what i got from the FRAUD'S question. If he had said to Dan, whats wrong with me? I tried to look at transsexual porn everyday and i just cant get hard looking at those women, am i still an ally of trans community??? , that would have been a different story, but FRAUD is dealing with something else that is at least partly his fault.
@73 and @82, you make some good points but you seem to assume that all biological markers of sex line up and that it's only the subjective experience of gender that doesn't match up in pre-operative transsexuals. However, there are three biological markers and they don't always line up: chromosomes, genitals and hormones.

There are some babies born with ambiguous genitalia. Parents in those cases are often forced to make an arbitrary decision - is it a boy or a girl? And sometimes the kid grows up and decides the parents made the wrong decision. How do we know who was right and who was wrong? How can anyone possibly ever know for sure?

Disorders of the chromosome can make biological sex ambiguous as well. For example, XX male syndrome:….

Different hormone levels are also associated with different genders. Maybe an XY person with male genitalia has excess "female" hormones and lowered testosterone and that contributes to his feeling that he should have been born a woman. Now I suppose you could argue that hormones could "fix" the situation, but how can we be sure that the hormones were wrong but the chromosome and genitalia combination were correct? Which of the three should we decide reins supreme? And if there is no good way to decide, why shouldn't we take the transexual's subjective experience into account?

So when someone says they feel like they aren't the gender they were supposed to be, or they were born the wrong gender, etc. how do we know there is no biological basis for the ambiguity? Maybe it's not all in their head. Maybe we don't know as much about the sexes as we think we do. There is a lot more grey area than people realize or would feel comfortable with.
My dick longs for woman.

The best five words ever to come out of the Savage Love comments section? I think so.
Whatever turns you on, turns you on. I'm not trying to blame anyone for that. Even if there may be psychological reasons why someone likes to be beaten, or only likes one kind of sex, or only with one kind of person -- that's just the way their wobbly bits work. Sure, fine.

But I do care how you treat people around you. If you're on a dating site, feel free to be specific, in a generally, positive way: "I'm looking for a cute, sensible blond Christian woman, shorter than me, who likes giving blowjobs, and who has no children but would like to in the future."

But know that if you say it in negative terms, it sounds offensive: "Don't contact me if you're black, lesbian, male, Muslim, were ever molested or raped, had reconstructive surgery of any kind, have fertility issues, have a bad relationship with your mother, are insecure, have bad teeth, or have any kind of Brooklyn accent. Those are all turn-offs, and I am not comfortable even thinking about sex with you."

There's a difference between having self-knowledge of what your wobbly bits like, and, on the other hand, telling people that they fall into some category that turns you off.

This isn't rocket science, people. In elementary school you're allowed to invite only your friends to your birthday party. But you don't get to go around telling everyone else about your fun party and how they're not invited. And if you say - "I would never invite someone Jewish to my party," then, yes, you're a bigot. And that's different from simply inviting your friends, none of whom happen to be Jewish.
Also, Mr. Hunter "my dick longs for woman" 78: for fuck's sake, leave Erica alone. I know she's perfectly capable of looking out for herself, but from a bystander's perspective, your compulsive need to bait her is both pathetic and creepy.
@281 no warm-up or lube. But hardly relevant to the discussion at hand.
@280 "when someone says they were born the wrong gender, etc. how do we know there is no biological basis for the ambiguity? Maybe it's not all in their head. Maybe we don't know as much about the sexes as we think we do."

Well said.
@272 "it's how I treat people that determines whether or not I'm a bigot."

But what you say to them is part of how you treat them. And if you treat transwomen as "fake" women by emphasizing in conversations that of course you could never be attracted to any of them, or anyone like them (and with a look of disgust on your face, as you imagine their body), that's treating your friends badly.
@279: Hunter----you're back!!

How was your Thanksgiving?
@278: EricaP, who said that anyone would ever say things to someone like "I could never be attracted to you or any member of a group to which you belong," especially with a "look of disgust" on one's face as one imagines their body?

That's plain old bad manners, and neither the lw nor anyone else has suggested that anyone is doing that.

Of course we should all treat everyone with dignity and respect and there's absolutely nothing in the original letter or in any subsequent posting in this thread to suggest that anyone has either done or advocates doing anything else.
@289 The LW didn't keep his disinterest to himself, politely declining any transwoman who overtly came on to him. He talked with his transgendered friends (and to Dan) about how he couldn't see any transwoman as a woman he might consider sexually.

If he called himself an ally to women in a feminist organization, but he insisted on telling them that he could never think of them sexually, because they're not real women, they're feminists... they would rightly feel offended.
Ms Erica - In the spirit of my imagining you meeting Mrs Bachmann and the two of you getting on brilliantly until you realize she's a fundamentalist and she realizes you're into BDSM:

You are at lunch with a group of about half a dozen like-thinking women. A frenemy comes in late and pronounces herself too distraught to eat. She'd had what had seemed like a pretty good date the night before, only she found out after they had sex that she'd just boinked a Gingrich campaign strategist. If the mood of the table were about right and the woman in question just the right sort of frenemy, I can see it.
I think we can all agree if FRAUD wants to be 100 percent behind trans women he wouldnt say this

"I wouldn't feel comfortable dating/having sex with a woman who had at one point in her life been a man."

I am kind of disappointed at Kate. B 's response overall. I dont know why she called the man a queer heterosexual and i dont know why she didnt call FRAUD up on the fact that he said trans women used to be men and thats why he can't feel comfortable being with them like other women who were born biological female.

Fraud should be aleast ware that part of his discomfort comes from purely his idea that trans women were once men, an idea that alot of trans people disagree with.

Yeah I am splitting hair, but so what? how often do we get to talk about how men see or treat trans women on Dan savage?

I want to hear stories of men who fall in love and get married even with both PRE op and POST op trans women, i want to hear positive love stories, otherwise its just too depressing for me.
oops--I meant #287
I feel like i need to say this over and over again, FRAUD never said he doesnt feel sexually attracted to trans women, from his question, it could very well be that he can be sexually attracted to trans women, but he doesnt want to be with them nevertheless because he cant get over the fact that they were once men!

So it is Fraud's idea that needs to be challenged, and rightly so, if he choose to be 100 percent behind trans women as he claim he is.

you cant quite compare this to any other example.
Oh, EricaP, I can't believe I'm getting dragged into this, but you're being so deliberately obtuse, I can't stand it!

Read the letter again. Nowhere in it does FRAUD give us a verbatim account of the discussions he has with his friends. He never once gives a direct quote of anything he has said to anyone else.

Indeed, I can think of many, many reasons that anyone would phrase a letter to an advice columnist, especially one in which the lw was questioning his own attitudes or values, differently than he'd discuss the same issue with friends and co-workers.

Maybe the lw's friends/co-workers had noticed that he laments about the dearth of available women to date and suggested he open his dating pool to include them, and he politely declined. This could have led to a challenge, which in turn could have led to FRAUD's being called transphobic, which led to him wondering if he is indeed transphobic and writing to Dan about it.

You've got no clue that FRAUD was ever disrespectful or hurtful in his direct conversation, yet you insist on going on ad infinitum accusing him of bigotry and claiming that he deliberately makes insensitive comments about his preferences. This has led you to suggesting that to have any preferences at all in the matter of sexual attraction is to be "naive" and "prejudiced." It has led you to absurd "what if" scenarios involving anonymous, blindfolded fisting sessions. It has led to your assumption that no one is capable of graciously turning another person's advances down, and assuming that every sexual rejection is couched in hurtful language, WHEN THERE IS NOTHING IN THE ORIGINAL LETTER TO JUSTIFY THIS.

I find it telling that you'd rather see him as an utter asshole than give him the benefit of any doubt.
"deliberately obtuse"? really.
FRAUD says: "All my LGBTQA me a transphobe, because [I think] sex with a MTF straight woman [is] different than sex with a cisgender straight woman."

Sex with any particular woman is different, of course, from sex with any other woman. But there is no way in which sex with a transwoman is specifically, identifiably different from sex with a generic woman. Except in his head. (And in the head of most of the people in this thread.)
@291 vennominon, feel free to call me obtuse, just not deliberately so. I've no idea what your point is. Would this "frenemy" be a covert Republican? Is she upset, or feigning upset? If the mood were right, what would the table of half a dozen like-thinking women do? And what are the odds I could find "half a dozen like-thinking women" at this point, anyway?
@295 >> This has led you to suggesting that to have any preferences at all in the matter of sexual attraction is to be "naive" and "prejudiced." >>

Preferences are fine. Absolute predictions are naive, as in your statement @206: "I could never like having sex with a woman."
@291/298 oh, wait... the frenemy is my rival? So I seize the opportunity to point out how 'prejudiced' she is, showing her up among our friends by demonstrating her unreasoning bias against Republicans? Am I closer to your point?
I'd have to say that, if I were in his position, I'd at least go on the down low about my poly relationships. His relatives may be bullies, but I care much more about my family than about any here-today, gone-tomorrow hookup. Family is forever.
This is rapidly devolving into an X-rated Green Eggs and Ham. (Would you like it with a fox? Would you like it in her box? )

If somebody says they aren't interested, and they are sure enough of their disinterest that they aren't even interested in considering a hypothetical, it isn't your job to go all Sam-I-Am on them and insist "well, you just haven't met the right woman yet."
@302 Hunt: So did we! All the best. I hope you realize I was kidding with you in past blogs, and not hitting on you!

@303 avast2006: How did you get THAT idea, Dr. Seuss, from someone's just wishing a fellow blogger and his family a Happy Thanksgiving?
Good grief, Charlie Brown, what next--Lucy Van Pelt should be called upon being "Real In"?
@303: I don't recall posting anything particularly X-rated.
Ms Erica - It's just a made-up scenario; I hope it didn't offend you. It was just that your earlier post made me wonder if you might ever say such a thing. And that was what came to me.

I can see a couple of possibilities here. One would be if your frenemy's distress started an honest round table discussion in which each one in the group gave an honest self-appraisal of her own capacities in that direction.

However, as the hardest part of the scenario to visualize would be your being at lunch with a group of women (given that, from much of what you post, it's just easier to visualize your dealings with men), I might write it up as it being a group you've known for a long time, the frenemy in question brings out your Catty-Mc-Kit-Kat side, and you could use a good score over her. I'll gladly stipulate that you catch yourself mentally after you say it, but perhaps just feel that, given the group dynamics, you're better off not backing down.

This IS a biological basis for this ambiguity. They've studied it. And I've mentioned it before.
Jesus, Erica.
Sex is not a birthday party.

I think people should be comfortable telling their friends both what they like and don't like. That's the fun of having friends, isn't it? My friends know my very picky, very long list of restrictions.

None of the rules are "bigoted", I don't think, but most of them are painfully shallow.

I have a good friend who's Asian but doesn't really dig on girls that are. Big deal.

The LR is having these conversations among his friends - not wearing a tshirt of his don'ts and won'ts. Maybe some of his friends fall into this catagory but big deal - I think they'll live. Pretty much any male friend I have falls into the 'won't' catagory for me too. So?

P.S. I know it was an analogy and I usually quite like your points but that one was way off in my books. I feel like this is probably your lady-socialization showing. You were taught to be "nice" and letting someone know that you're not sexually interested in them isn't "nice" so it should be avoided at all costs? It's as "not nice" as a small child finding out you've excluded them from your birthday party? I'm not trying to be offensive but that comparison seemed rather telling to me.
Ms There @292 - I don't think you are splitting hairs at all, and I was just last night thinking something similar to your conclusion. I realized that I haven't bought any new books in ages, and had to think a bit to recall the last fiction I read involving a cis-trans relationship. The most recent one I can recall is in one of the novels of Bill Mann. I recuse myself from appraising the work of an old friend, though, and therefore offer no further comment.

I definitely agree about the 100% part. If today were Friday, I might start a side line about pinpointing, but it would get too detailed for too little benefit.
Ms Cute - You have reminded me that I can Christiesplain this. FRAUD's discomfort potentially reminds me of Major Palgrave's blood pressure.

In A Caribbean Mystery, nobody at the resort is shocked when Major Palgrave dies. He was old, fonder of Planter's Punch than was prudent, everybody says he had high blood pressure and a bottle of medicine for it was found in his bungalow. Only Miss Marple knows that Major Palgrave was about to show her what he claimed to be a picture of a murderer when he saw someone and hastily put his snapshots away.

Luckily for Miss Marple, when some women on the beach lament Major Palgrave's carelessness of his health, Mr Rafiel contradicts them. Major Palgrave didn't have high blood pressure; he'd told Mr Rafiel so. Evelyn Hillingdon or Esther Walters counters that one doesn't go saying that one hasn't got something, while Miss Marple gets in a gentle dig by telling Mr Rafiel that the Major was probably boasting; gentlemen do. But it turns out that Mr Rafiel, on an occasion when Major Palgrave was overindulging, had told him he should drink less and think of his blood pressure. But Major Palgrave's doctor had assured him that he had nothing to worry about in that line.

I see that Ms Driasis has made a more explicit post addressing this point, but I am not going to erase a good Christiesplain. Miss Marple would be displeased with me.

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