Savage Love Jun 29, 2021 at 4:43 pm

Queer Quickies




What's "friskiness?" What's "perversion?"
Do those words describe acts or orientations? Or people?


@1 nocute Isn't purrversion what happens when one's cat has some delish Friskies Treats by Purina?

CIS - I think queer is a good term for a wide range of variations in sexuality. It is OK to be attracted to trans women who have not had bottom surgery, but to want this to be called straight seems like you are a bit phobic / hung up on heteronormative masculinity.


Where is Sharon's husband? On his knees at an adult bookstore waiting for the next cock to come through the glory hole.


delta35 @2 - if a straight guy likes sucking dick (his wife's plastic dick, his trans wife's flesh dick), that doesn't make him not straight. What makes a guy not straight is being attracted to people who aren't women.


Re UNCLE, I'd recommend minding your own business.

If your niece has found a way to live her life on her own terms without telling her parents (perhaps by having a open marriage, privately), good for her. And if she hasn't by 30, you're unlikely to be able to coax her out of her closet. You're clearly not close enough to her for her to confide in you, so just trust that these adults are managing their lives as they see fit -- and give them a nice gift if you want to show your support.


Ms Erica - The support on offer in L1 sounds highly conditional.

I found LW1's tone stunningly accusatory. It reminded me of how Mr Savage occasionally comes off when he accuses Dr Bachmann of being closeted. Mr Savage's apparent agreement with LW1 was irritating until the conclusion of A1 turned out to be so perfect whoever happens to be the worst person in the picture that my good humour was entirely restored. Well played indeed by Mr Savage.


I could go either way on LW4. A man whose partners are all women seems qualified for Team S; a man who sufficiently enjoys nonhetero sex (even if all involved are straight) seems qualified for Team Q. Maybe SQ should be its own category.


LW5 seems to me to be recruiting for Mr Yiannopoulos' planned conversion therapy camp in Florida, now that he is presenting officially as ex-gay and made a great show of dropping what he claimed to be a $150,000 engagement ring into the sea (an act that is open to interpretation). He is even appropriating Mr Savage's It Gets Better line to pitch at desperate ex-gay wannabes. If it were not for the certain catastrophe that is the opening of any new conversion centre, it might all seem a harmless, though offensive, comedy.


@1 nocutename: WA_HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulatioins on scoring tis week's highly coveted FIRDT! honors! Savor your envied accolades as well as leading the comment thread and bask in the glory. :)


Congrats on coming out, PUSH! Wishing you all the very best.

Oops--did someone leave a cock in Sharon's husband's mouth?


@10, continued: re PUSH: And how nice that your oldest sister is also bisexual, affirming that family support is there for you.


Well, if Dan wanted to show a queer LW who deserves a smackdown, UNCLE would be the one. UNCLE, I'm queer and I find you even more nauseating than two 30-year-old virgins, closeted or not. If you want to show your mind and arms are open to these young people, that attitude, which I'm sure comes across, is the best way to show them the opposite. You're only showing that gay people can be as self-righteous and judgmental as the religious folk you find so nauseating. I'm afraid to say that if your niece and her beard, er, husband do come out some day, it will likely be in spite of your efforts, not because of them. What would Jesus do? Be a bit more tolerant, that's what. I wish these young people a happy life, whether they're both dating people of their preferred gender on the down low or not.

Also, Dan, not fair to conclude religious automatically = anti-vaxxers. Good point though that UNCLE had a good excuse to not go to the wedding that so nauseated him, and should have used it.

PUSH, waving a bi flag for you! Welcome to the family!

CIS, your friends aren't just wrong, they're transphobes. Please tell them that trans women are women, and keep telling them until they get it, or get some better friends. If you exclusively like women -- cis, trans, afab enbies -- and don't like men -- cis, trans, amab enbies -- you are straight. If you have a preference for trans women, don't think of this as a kink, which could devalue or dehumanise the women you're attracted to, but a preference like any other, for instance blondes or big bums. Don't just hire trans sex workers, date civilian trans women, and treat them like people. You're going to get a lot of grief for your preference, CIS, but not as much grief as the actual trans women you admire, so bear that in mind when your friends are being ignorant. Good luck standing up to the transphobes and finding the woman of your dreams.

SOAOV, early-life problems sound like something you have a lot of experience with. Please get help.


Nocute @1: "Friskiness is one thing, perversion is another." Yes, and like peanut butter and jam, both are great! :)

Delta @2, sorry, but if you can't see a man who is attracted to trans women and not attracted to men as straight, it seems you're the one who's a bit phobic and/or hung up on heteronormative masculinity.

EricaP @4, word.

Venn @6, I hope UNCLE will also see Dan's final suggestion as a joke. On the off chance UNCLE has just expressed himself badly and/or was playing to what he perceived as Dan's prejudices, Dan's right that being openly queer himself, and non-judgmental (ahem), will be all he has to do to signal to these young people that he's someone they can talk to about their sexuality. But if he holds contempt for them and their way of life, they're much less likely to open up to him.

Venn @8, ugh, just when we thought he couldn't get any slimier. I hope his efforts fail.


I wish LW1 had given us a few more of those "signs" they were talking about. There are still heterosexual people who don't have sex before marriage for religious (or other) reasons.


Ms Fan - Well put. I'll suggest "female-presenting" instead of "afab". If not for Wimbledon, I might be tempted to wonder about how "nonmale-presenting" slots in.


Venn @15, "female-presenting" and "non-binary" are contradictions in terms. The whole point of not being binary is not presenting as either male or female. However, non-binary people still do have biological sex, and other people experience attraction to them based on their perceived biological sex, regardless of the way they may present or identify. My point is, if you're attracted to non-binary people as well as cis and/or trans ones, but only those non-binary people whose biological sex is the opposite of yours, you aren't ruled out as straight. Perhaps you meant "female-appearing"?


(sorry if disjointed; am adding bits during commercial breaks)

Ms Fan re LW1: LW1 also reminds me of the version of a deity that turns a lot of people off religion; who would want the support of someone so nasty and vindictive? I remember the author Keith Hale framing it as distaste for giving people free will and then punishing them for making arbitrarily "wrong" choices.

Ms Fan re Mr Yiannopoulos: The current story arc is just bizarre, possibly something people would find too much for Saturday Night Live. It seems set up to appear a huge trolling: his husband "has been demoted to roommate"; his engagement ring was dubbed "the Sodomy Stone"; dogs have even stopped barking at him. If in 2025 he were to turn around and claim all this to be entirely performative, the common reaction from the left would likely be, "I knew it all along." If I had to put money on what's closest to the truth, I might guess that it's an attempt to get the left to overreact. Personally I'm happy to take him at his word. Let Team Straight have to cope with him. It's just a shame that this has moved into a serious realm, and disgraceful if he can get away with appropriating IGB as a slogan. Maybe Mr Savage can do something about that.


Ms Fan re NB: Clever of you; I considered "female-appearing" but thought that would centre the view of the beholder and I was considering NB more as a variety of trans. I'd be happy to defer to an Expert Witness on this one.


Based upon what you told us, Dan's answer is probably the best advice. Because as "diehard religious fanatics" there's little chance that anything you could say would get through to her.

And trying might cost you any relationship with her. Are you close? Does she have a great deal of respect for you?

Honestly, no matter how much respect anyone has for anyone, it's rare for anyone to listen to anyone. This is probably much of the reason it's rare for anyone to tell anyone hard truths.

If you and your niece have an extraordinarily close relationship, still most people wouldn't say anything, because most people are unwilling to do other people the service of saying things that are difficult to say and to hear.

But based on your letter's mention that they are "diehard religious fanatics" I'm guessing that you and she are not extraordinarily close, so instead of opening her eyes she'd be more likely to neither benefit from it or speak to you again.

"trans women...Does this make me gay?"

(I laughed out loud, which might make me an asshole.)

Trans women are women, CIS, so: No.

Wow that's two in a two, congratulations N!


So when PECS was in college, he behaved inappropriately with professors? And here I thought that stuff only happened on pornhub and tube8! (I guess I'm naive)

Also, how does Dan know Sharon has a husband? I'm guessing she mentioned her status in her letter and for some reason it was edited out.


I don't see where UNCLE states he is queer.

UNCLE is the opposite of queer-friendly. For one thing, UNCLE clearly has no place in his world for queerly non-conforming straight people.

I can do without UNCLE as a queer ally. He is like those white people who think they aren't racist telling black people how to self-present "for their own good."


Cocky @21, UNCLE hints that he is queer in his closing line: "I wish someone had asked me when I was trying to figure it out."
If he's trying to be queer friendly when he's neither queer NOR friendly, he's simply a bigot. Wow.


Venn @18, gender is about the person whose gender it is, of course, but sexual orientation is about attraction, which IS in the eye of the beholder. CIS says he is attracted to "women with very feminine appearances," which would seem to rule out most non-binaries and rule in only binary trans women and binary cis women, specifically ones who present not just as garden-variety female but "very feminine."

My main point was that if CIS were also attracted to amab enbies, that might tip the balance over to some sort of bisexual/queer orientation. But he's not, so he can ignore people like his friends and Delta @2 and proudly wave a "straight ally" flag. (Because he is being an ally to trans people, not just privately having sex with them... right, CIS? If not, step up, queer and trans people need you.)


BDF @22, I somehow missed that, but if UNCLE is queer he is apparently not open about it to the extent where the niece can figure out for herself that he could be a source of support.

More likely, she knows who she is - and who UNCLE is - and doesn't need his input. My take is that UNCLE has an attitude problem. He claims genuine concern over the couple's personal well-being, but that only comes after expressing his visceral distaste for their way of life in a forum where he thinks such distaste will be welcomed, and after admitting gossiping about the couple and putting them in a box based on stereotypes, making me doubt that helping people really what this is about for him.


Whew! I'm delighted to come to the comments section and find I'm with the majority on UNCLE, LW1 I was reading it and thinking what a sanctimonious tone that's written in, and the writer is supposed to be one of the good guys (?). It was almost (not quite, just almost) enough to make me want to sit with the bible thumpers.

This couple is in their 30s! Who knows what kind of lives they live, what kind of closet they live in, what kind of deal they struck? For all the UNCLE knows, they could be in the most open, flaming, kinky, single sex, real partners on the side, doing it all for show, none of your business, marriage of convenience, out there. Did you catch the none of your business part? You're going to, what, save them? Because you're gay friendly and wish someone had helped you when you were trying to figure it out? This makes you uniquely qualified?

Those 50 signs that they're gay. They wouldn't involve haircuts and musical theater, would they? I ask because, if they don't involve the groom personally sucking your cock, I wouldn't put much stock in the rest of your proof. I suppose oral sex involving your niece and another woman would also count, but remember both videos and eye witness testimony can be faked.

I wish I had more sarcasm to drip on this particular letter.

How do you let them know your little corner of the family will love and support them? That was your question, right? I suggest you give them the down payment for their house.


Cocky @24, I couldn't agree more with you regarding UNCLE's attitude, and I wish Dan had given him the smack he deserves. It sounds to me like he is gay, managed to escape the clutches of this big, religious, judgmental family, but retained their self-righteousness and is instead turning it on them. Dude, that's not a good look regardless of who's wearing it. I agree his motivation is probably not to help these young people, but to bring them over to "his side" in whatever ongoing feud he's got with these relatives. UNCLE, perhaps you should focus on yourself and the growing up you clearly have to do, if you want to set an example for young people. Therapy?


Fichu @25, applause! That was just the right amount of sarcasm, thank you. :D


venn @17
Sorry, you can't pawn "ex-gay" Milo off on us straights. He's nothing but a lying grifter. Always has been always will be. After the right wing grift imploded, he fled to the only group stupid and desperate enough to take him: fundie Christians. There's zero chance he's sincerely ex-gay. There's zero chance he's not fucking his husband/roommate in private. As soon as he finds a new grift, you can be sure he'll immediately become ex-ex-gay.


UNCLE sounds more hung up and judgey about his family's religious leanings than actually caring about his niece and her (maybe, possibly) queerness. His time to say something (and I don't think that he ever * should * have said anything) was when he received a "Save the Date," not after they exchanged vows at their "nauseating" (wow, really?!) wedding.

Mr. Fox and I have long suspected one of his younger siblings of being either asexual or gay, due to their clear disinterest in dating (Mr. Fox's family is also deeply religious, and that religion's culture places marriage and raising a family as the literal end-all-be-all of human [and eternal] existence). Did he or I ever say anything to this sibling about our suspicions? Fuck no. And guess what? They are gay and partnered, and are living openly as such in a culture and state where this is far from the norm and far from what is expected/accepted. They can figure their own shit out for themselves. Back off UNCLE, and take a closer look at your own judgemental attitude.


As someone who identifies as a frisky pervert, I take exception to Sharon's letter; however, I don't think Dan and others should "out" her poor husband for doing what he has to do to stay sane and stay married. Think of the children!


Re UNCLE: If you really want to be a good uncle, here are a few things you can do:

Check your biases and your baggage at the door;
don't jump to the conclusion that the couple are gay (one or both could be straight, bi, etc);
don't jump to the conclusion that they don't know what they're doing (maybe they do, or maybe they need to figure things out for themselves);
don't assume that someone who waits for marriage is gay (several straight friends of mine chose to save their virginity for the wedding night--and each of them is still straight and happily married decades later!);
and much more.

If you're sincere about: "Is there any tactful way to ask someone if they’re gay? Or to at least offer support if they are closeted?", then heed the following advice.

You can say to your niece, privately: "I love you. We are family. I want you to know that you can always come to me, if you have a problem, or if there is ever anything that you want to talk about." That's all. Nothing else.

Then let it drop.

It should apply to anything in her life, not just her sexuality.

But say this only if you mean it.

Do not ask if they're gay.

If you have a good relationship with her husband, then you can say something similar to him. Again, nothing more, and then let it drop.

If you cannot do these things, then DO NOTHING.


@4 EricaP, @13 BiDanFan - totally agree, a man who is attracted to a woman who happens to be a transwoman is straight, and the woman is a woman.

LW CIS said he was especially attracted to transwomen who have not had vaginoplasty and have a penis. I totally get that they are women. My point is a guy who is into dick, is a bit different from a Kinsey 0 straight. If you measured erections with one of those devices I'd bet you'd find differences.

Kinda like two of the men characters in Pose. Christopher the physician is in love with Blanca, a woman (who happens to be trans). The way it's written Christopher is straight and that Blanca is trans seems not to be part of what turns him on, he's never been to the balls before. Lil Papi is love with Angel, a woman (who happens to be trans). The way Pose is written, the character of Lil Papi is mostly / only attracted to transwomen and was hanging out at the balls long before he fell in love with Angel. So, I'd say "straight" applies to Christopher but if we're doin' labels, Lil Papi gets a different label. CIS seems to be discovering his sexuality is more like Lil Papi's.

And a woman who happens to be trans, is probably going to want to be aware of CIS' sexuality, so CIS should be honest about his sexuality. Especially if she is considering bottom surgery, CIS' partners need to know about his sexuality, so they can decide if they want to be with him.


I don't think UNCLE is gay, queer, or anything remotely adjacent. He or she* said "we’re the only queer-friendly outlet in the family" and I think any out, same sex couple wouldn't have gone anywhere near that wedding.

Dan often makes up the sign-offs.


My take on CIS is that he is straight with a good old penis fetish (not merely a "passing kink" indeed). And so he should definitely disclose to partners, some of whom may not want to be fetishized.


@33: In UNCLE's case I didn't make up the sign-off. Just for the record.


Re CIS: I mostly agree with Dan's answer, but I think that it is incomplete. Looking at CIS through a heteronormative lens (as so much of society still does), his desire for trans women isn't exactly straight, even though I agree with Dan's shutdown of CIS's friends. But "gay" doesn't fit either, as CIS wrote.

Perhaps "queer," in the reclaimed sense of the word, fits the situation in a generic way?

The English language is being stretched far beyond anywhere it has gone before. It reminds me of what a sci-fi author once wrote about the inadequacy of the English language to discuss time travel effectively. How do you describe something that you will do in your future, but that actually happened in past history? "I will do it?" -- but it already happened. "I did it?" -- but I haven't actually done it yet. "I will have done it?" -- that means something completely different. Etc.

Putting aside all the hatred and bias that exists in the world, and looking at discussions like this purely from a linguistic POV, it's clear that the English language has a lot of catching up to do. Of course, I'm preaching to the choir.

As for Sharon, consider the possibility that "Sharon" is a man. I have met a few male Sharons, although it is uncommon to name a boy "Sharon" today.

Re @31: all my formatting was stripped. Grrrrrr. I wish I could add bulleted lists and such in these messages.


For formatting,I have found that hyphens work where numbers do not.
- Let's
- A
- Try

(If no hyphens appear, we'll know it didn't work.)


Delta35 @32, "LW CIS said he was especially attracted to transwomen who have not had vaginoplasty and have a penis."

He didn't say that. His letter implied it, but he didn't mention whether he had been with trans women who have had bottom surgery. He said he does like cis women, so, presumably unlike Elektra's sugar daddy who dumped her for having bottom surgery, CIS might not find a penis a requirement in the trans women he dates. His question is whether he can still identify as straight, and whether his friends are right that it is "gay" to desire trans women. The answer to the former is yes and the latter is no.

I think trans women will "know about his sexuality" when he approaches them. I mean, do women with huge boobs need to be specifically told by the men who approach them that they have a thing for huge boobs, or will that be obvious? Do men who, say, only fancy black women, or particularly fancy them, need a label other than "straight"? If not, then why would a man who particularly fancies trans women? He's a straight guy, with a kink or a preference. To say otherwise is shaming both his preference and trans women -- because if he's not really straight, doesn't it then follow that they're not really women? I mean, I fancy androgynous presenting people over feminine or masculine ones, but "bisexual" works for me, I don't need a different label to proclaim that I have a type. Neither does CIS. He doesn't need to label himself based on genital preference, any more than a gay man who's a size queen can't just call himself "gay."


Ms Fan - I'm fine with going back to female-appearing; I may have been second-guessing myself to try to be "correct". It's been a long month.

Having been taken for a trans woman once or twice myself back in the day, I was considering LW5 from that angle in thinking that the NB people he finds attractive didn't necessarily have to be afab, though I expect the percentages veer that way..


Dr Van - I suspect a trap of some sort and that Mr Y wants the left to overreact and refuse to believe him; the best way to counter that is to take him at his word. Team Wainthropp is the equivalent of the New York Yankees; you can stick him in right field for an inning when you're five runs ahead. Anyone dabbling in offering conversion therapy needs to be hit with every possible weapon, and taking his conversion seriously provides a few.


Mr. Venn @7 "nonhetero sex (even if all involved are straight)" -- I really don't know what you see as "nonhetero sex" between straight people.

BDF @23 " if CIS were also attracted to amab enbies, that might tip the balance over to some sort of bisexual/queer orientation."

I'm not loving that distinction between amab enbies and afab enbies a way to determine something about the sexuality of the person attracted to them. I'd let people self-identify in those cases, rather than labeling them something that may not fit the particulars of their situation.

delta35 @32 "My point is a guy who is into dick, is a bit different from a Kinsey 0 straight."

Would you say that about straight guys who are into dildos up their butts or in their mouths? And in any case, who cares if someone is a Kinsey 0 or a Kinsey 1? CIS is asking if he's gay. And the answer is - no, he's not gay.


@12 BiDanFan: I second waving a bi flag for PUSH! :)

@19 curious2: Kudos on catching nocutename's consecutive two for two on FIRDT! honors.

@31 & @36 Musicbiker: Good advice for UNCLE. I'm glad you're back with us. It's good to hear from you. I know I'm off topic, but if you visited my music website, what did you think? Did I ever send an mp3 sound recording of my latest composed work? I would love to get your feedback.


Yeah, UNCLE, stay out of it. If your niece chose to have her hard-ass pastor-father that much involved in the wedding, she's probably drunk the Kool-Aid. Also, I don't really think you can coax somebody into queerness, Coming out happens inch-by-inch when someone has simply had ENOUGH of the closet. All you can do is to provide a safe space which you've done.

I disagree with you that something is very suspicious about a thirty-year-old virgin. Sleeping around, sleeping with just one person, or abstinence is a personal decision. I think a person can be a good person without sex. Perhaps not worldly by our standards, but a good person nonetheless. Virginity is like abortion in this sense, You can make that decision for YOU, but you cannot impose that decision upon other people


Venn @39/EricaP @41: Good points both and I agree with Musicbiker that perhaps our understanding of gender is evolving more quickly than the language used to talk about it.

Venn, you are correct that a cis person may be mistaken for a gender they are not. But a straight man, upon discovering you were not in fact a woman, would immediately lose any attraction he had. The fact that he was attracted to someone he thought was a woman, but who was not, would not necessarily render him bi or queer.

EricaP, I don't think "people are attracted to perceived gender" and "everyone is the gender they say they are" need be contradictory. Of course everyone self identifies. But I don't go around asking people what their gender is in order to determine whether I'm attracted to them. I'm just attracted or not attracted, based on what I perceive them as. I'm probably a bad example because I qualify as pansexual, but I might observe an androgynous looking person and perceive them to be an effeminate man. Upon meeting them, if I discover they're actually a flamboyant butch or drag king, or a non-binary person, does my attraction change? To determine the orientation of the observer, there is a line to be drawn between afab and/or more feminine looking enbies and amab and/or more masculine ones. Our minds are still geared toward viewing people as either male or female, and the vast majority of people who were assigned male at birth look male, due to the testosterone their bodies produce. Transgender folk often take hormones to correct the effects this has on their appearance, or exaggerate the visual cues of the gender they are and want to be seen as. Non-binary folk usually do not take hormones, and without the effect of hormones, they look like what they were assigned at birth and most observers will see them that way. That's why I know a number of straight men who are in relationships with non-binary people who have female bodies, but who would not be interested in a non-binary person with a male body. They may respect their partner's gender and pronouns faultlessly, but their lizard brains are still thinking "female." That's why I can't jump to, if you fancy someone who's non-binary, you automatically lose your straight or gay card. Hope my reasoning makes sense?


I read UNCLE as straight and confusedly trying to work through his sister marrying a minister (yes, a homophobic minister, but a minister whose homophobia is probably a minor and subordinated part of a through-going conservative-Christian worldview). UNCLE says that fifty things mark his niece and her husband as gay, but offers only one: that they did not live together, and possibly abstained from sex, until marriage. He speaks of 'our' 'little corner' of his extended family, implying he shares his life with someone; it's not certain that he'd be welcome at the wedding were he gay, so it seems at least plausible he's het-married. His question about whether there's a polite way of asking someone whether they're gay also came over to me as a well-intentioned 'outsiders'' question.

Dan is right, in a sense, that he's done enough just by modeling to his niece that there are alternative, more inclusive or nonhomophobic ways to live. It wasn't at all clear to me he was right about his niece's being gay. Supposing that a person of faith can't live without partnered sex before marriage without great psychic cost, or some kind of perversion or damage to self, is a mirror image of homophobes' pathologisation of homosexuality (imv). How close is he to his niece? How involved in the month-to-month or year-to-year happenings of his sister's family? I'm not sure he's that involved. I think he could certainly say, the next time he sees his niece, something like, 'don't take this the wrong way, but I'd always supposed you were a lesbian. If you ever want to talk about this, or need help, know that I am gay-friendly and that I'm here'. If his niece is straight but not a bigot, his mistake is minor. It could be taken as indicative of his distance from and lack of interest in his sister's family if it turns out that his supposition is absurd; but these things would be on the record anyway--it probably wouldn't be the worst thing he's said or done, or his biggest blunder. If he's right, he could have offered his niece a lifeline.


Harriet @45, Niece didn't marry a minister, she was married BY a minister, who is also her father.

I suppose it is possible that UNCLE is bisexual and opposite-sex married. The "us" may also refer to a chosen family, which many queers adopt in place of judgmental families of origin. He says "our extended familIES are all religious blowhards," which seems to imply the "our" includes more than one family of origin. His partner's? His polycule's?

I agree that if the religious family were as overtly homophobic as all of that, it seems odd that they'd have invited an openly gay UNCLE. Perhaps they're a "hate the sin, love the sinner" crowd. UNCLE says "I just attended the nauseating wedding," not "we just attended the nauseating wedding," meaning he may be gay and unpartnered or that his partner was not welcome. It also seems he's not that close to his niece if he only learned through the sermon that they didn't live together before marriage. And he seems to have jumped from not living together to not having sex, which is rather laughable.

Personally, I would find UNCLE even more abhorrent if he's a straight man shouting "gay!" at people -- remember Hunter and his closet case crusade? -- than if he's a queer survivor of an oppressive religious family, which would explain the chip on his shoulder and his desire to prod other family members out of the closet, as further embarrassment to this right-wing family he's quasi-escaped from. Either way, he's judgmental and unpleasant, but is this due to having issues he hasn't sufficiently worked through, or just being an asshole? I'd like to hope it's the former.


For the young man attracted to transwomen with penises, I'd say: if you want to go on 'exploring your sexuality' by having sex with men, do so--don't let any internalised homophobia, embarrassment about having been wrong or confused about your sexuality, or your friends' potential homophobia stand in your way. If you don't want to have sex with men, don't. Either way, the sex you've enjoyed with women-with-dicks is not a gateway experience to sex with men-with-roughly-the-dicks-they-were-born-with. Dan's straight-down-the-line answer to the question of whether you were, or could be, straight was correct. You can like women and dick.

Nothing is stopping you from forming a strong and loving relationship with a transwoman. You are in fact in a good position to do so; someone who has understood and accepted their sexual preference for non-op transwomen early is arguably more likely to be able to enter sufficiently into their/our world to be a good, socially visible, politically committed long-term partner. I felt for you when you said that you had insecurities about being able to attract the people you wanted to attract (in your case, ciswomen). Attractiveness is partly a matter of confidence, and confidence comes with experience. You're amassing this now, and it's partly unavoidable. Best of luck with everything!


@45. Bi. Unless the sign-off / acronym is a completely unwarranted and confected add-on (which I can't believe), the lw is a man. His sibling married a male minister. Sibling and minister's offspring (or child) is his niece. Given the minister's views about one man and one woman, the lw's sibling is his sister. (Alternatively, the minister is a woman, and scrub all the gender-specific terms I've used, but I don't think 'minister' would be the word here).

The lw clearly tells his friends his niece is a closeted lesbian. They ask him why he thinks this--very much along the lines that the commenters who have remonstrated with his thinking he needs to get involved have done. He then lists his fifty reasons. These seem to be circumstances or behaviors he's observed from afar; it's perhaps less likely he's getting hands-on in any kind of caring or being-there work for his sister's nuclear family, if he has to wait until the wedding to pass on his message of antihomophobia. (If he's not involved, it's mostly because they are rigidly religious, and he is not). I would not think he has the sort of relationship with his sibling where they phone each other every week and stay updated on their families. If he were closer to his sibling's family, he would perhaps have a better idea of whether his suspicions of his niece's being gay or not were well-founded.


Harriet @48, apologies, I misread that as the -niece- marrying a minister. You're correct, it would seem that the minister in question must be either UNCLE's brother or his brother-in-law, brother-in-law being far more likely. I agree with your analysis of their probable family dynamic. Holding onto this bitterness is not helpful to UNCLE, nor will it help him help his niece and, erm, nephew-in-law? Is that a term?


I meant 31-Musicbiker when I wrote before about formatting, not 36. I need an editor when I'm writing about editing.

Now to continue on that comment. Musicbiker, we mostly agree, but that particular about saying to the niece in a vague way that you love her and that she can come to you about anything? Honestly, that would creep me out. The way that's worded would seem to allude to something sexual while not being explicit and would, if she is straight and in alignment with her bible thumping relatives, only confirm that her one queer friendly uncle is an obsessed guy who's only thinking about her as a sexual being on her wedding day. He's thinking of her in terms of sexual coercion or in terms of how she's doing sex wrong.

I suppose when you say "you can come to me about anything," the idea is that she can come to him if she's having trouble deciding on a data plan or if she should buy a hybrid or all electric or even if she should accept the promotion despite its meaning moving to Baltimore, but those aren't usually prefaced with that serious "I love you ..."


It's laughable in a not funny way the way the far Right has been running around wringing their hands crying that if sex before marriage is allowed then everyone will have to have sex before marriage and if we allow gay marriage then everyone will be forced to gay marry, and oh my, what is the world coming to! Goodness, it started when that bad Kinsey fellow said there was nothing wrong with masturbating, and the next thing you know, everyone had to masturbate even the guys who didn't want to!

Late night comedians have been having a field day with this line of jokes for the longest time. I think this is why Dan's not coming down harder on UNCLE bothers me particularly. UNCLE seems to have bought into the "I'm going to tell you what you what to do" logic of the Religious Right that he rails against without even knowing that's what he's doing, and worse, Dan didn't even recognize it.

This is why I find the letter and Dan's response so disturbing. Yes, I'm straight. Yes, I'm monogamous. No, I don't think of myself as particularly horrible in my opinions. Anyone who's been reading my comments here over the years knows that. I like to think of Dan as being on my side. I've admired Dan for saying that if you're straight, marry someone else who's straight. If you're monogamous, marry someone monogamous. UNCLE turned all that on its head, and Dan would have seemed to too by not calling UNCLE out on what he was doing.

UNCLE decided he knew his niece's true orientation by recognizing the divine signs that only he understands and can therefore interpret for his flock. I guess he must be elect or something.

Look at how quickly UNCLE went from the couple's not moving in together to how they must have been abstinent. How on earth does one make that connection even in the repressed 1950s when everyone lost their virginity in the backseat of Oldsmobiles? Unless he considers himself benevolently omniscient like ... like those diehard religious fanatics he despises.


Fichu @50, if UNCLE is indeed gay, I don't think that would come across as creepy. However, the time to have said this was when she was about 15. Bit late now.


Ms Erica - You may have missed a thread a while back which went into classifying acts that apparently contradicted the orientations of the participants.


Ms Fan - I was near where you are a while ago; from my perspective, the lines seem to be blurring. Some NB people report slotting happily into S or L/G relationships; others feel disrespected if a cis partner doesn't cut up the card (though more usually the L or G card than the S). We seem to be still some distance from consensus.


Crap, I should have been keeping up with the columns to register my inane comments on them.

But I feel strongly about this one, so I'm registering an opinion about something in a cloumn from almost a month ago: there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in any public venue. If you are on a date in a public venue like a bar, there absolutely are people watching you (few to none of them planned it, but people-watching is a thing people do); if you can't handle that, don't go out in public. (The reasonable expectation standard also applies to things like social-relationship-preserving discretion from romantic/sexual partners regarding private experiences, but not absolute secrecy; they have a right to discuss their own experiences with confidants, which means of you're not okay with someone discussing details of your relationship, including sex, with anyone else, you can't be in a relationahip. There's a contextually determined balance for these things, and people are sometimes going to make honest mistakes, so we should strive to extend the same thoughtfulness, courtesy, and compassion we would want to others, on either side of things.)

Given that someone's primary partner actually could happen across zir date with a secondary with no advance planning (UNLESS the details are discussed and AVOIDANCE is planned in advance), that should always be an assumed possibility. In the absence of any threatening intent that could predict actual harm*, there is no material basis for differentiating between a random stranger and your date's primary partner hanging out in the bar in which you're on a date; that random stranger could be secretly perving, too.

So I argue that kind of secret perving is fine, as long as you remain discreet; it's polite to NOT let strangers know you're masturbating about them, either by staring inordinately or discussing it explicitly beforehand.

On to the comments on the current column.

As much as many trans (and allied) activists would like to alter our cultural norms so that the social gender categories "man" and "woman" are normatively based on self-identification (perhaps in combination with gendered social markers like clothes and accessories, perhaps not, depending on the particular activist, though in practice gendered markers, including biological sex-type markers as well as social markers, are how people will make gender determinations for unknown individuals in real time, by necessity) rather than being based on genital form at birth or later developmental sex-type markers (most of which show strong associations with XX or XY genotypes rather than categorical association, even without hormonal or surgical interventions that are now possible - using body features to determine gender already wasn't universally accurate even if one accepts biological determinism for gender typing), we're not actually there yet (as evidenced by, for example, CIS's friends), and both the normative classification of transgender individuals in their preferred gender categories AND the determination of relative sexuality (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual) on the basis of social rather than biological gender remain contentious social issues. One result is that a (normatively determined) man attracted primarily to AMAB women is NOT going to be universally, perhaps not even generally, considered to have a normative sexuality (i.e. "straight," which is literally a slang term for "normative" that has not historically and still doesn't only describe sexuality - e.g. the comedy term "straight man" to describe the member of a duo who behaves normatively as compared to the eccentric partner - though that's the most common usage today outside of describing a characteristic of a line).

So a better answer to CIS might be that lots of people will indeed consider him queer or specifically gay (especially among people who want to keep binary, genital-based gender norms), and lots won't; there is currently a social movement attempting to trasnform our society into one where he will be CONSISTENTLY considered straight, and it has seen quite a lot of success in a relatively short span of time, especially in law. (Ironically, that same movement would generally like gay and bisexual people to be considered straight rather than queer - "gay" is only contrasted with "straight" rather than, say, "hetero" because it has historically been a non-normative sexual identity - so if it's ultimately successful, CIS will be consistently considered straight whether he's gay or hetero, though he would also consistently be considered hetero.)

To be clear, I'm part of the queer movement seeking to normalize non-binary and trans-binary gender variation (though I'd specifically rather dismantle normative social gender categories entirely and replace relative sexuality with embodiment-orientation-determined sexuality categorization - e.g. androphile, gynephile, androgynephile - which is not the majoritarian position in queer activism these days, and it puts people who are very invested in maintaining social gender categorization while changing how we determine that categorization at odds with me, though I'm less at odds with them, because I don't care how the determinations are made for the social gender categories that DO persist in the same way that, as a vegetarian, I don't care whether you're serving chicken or beef because I'm not going to eat either of them), and I also think that pretending that social identity ISN'T socially determined is completely absurd (people who insist that self-determination of identity features is all that matters are lying to themselves: they're primarily concerned with how OTHER people categorize things, not with how they categorize themselves - if it were the latter, there would be no activism on the issue, because people already categorize themselves as they want - because identity is an inherently social phenomenon), as is insisting that what we WANT society to look like is what it ALREADY looks like.

*I note I'm a consequentialist, so I generally value intent minimally, but when it's a predictor of harm, it has consequential value and is therefore relevant.


"...if UNCLE is indeed gay"

A tiny lightbulb just turned on in my head, and I just saw the connection between the above and the people upthread speaking of UNCLE's (unwelcome) status as an ally.

Whereas it seemed obvious to me that UNCLE's closing:

"...when I was trying to figure it out."

Was UNCLE telling us that he and his partner ("we") are gay themselves.

But I guess to some, "it" was a vague reference to whatever there was in UNCLE's life to be figured out?

Perhaps I missed much upthread, as I've been distracted.


Welcome back!

"a better answer to CIS might be that lots of people will indeed consider him queer or specifically gay"

I don't think that's a better answer.

First, his own question tells us that he knows what other people may think. But what other people may think is irrelevant to his question.

What is relevant to his question is what he actually is. And that is straight. Period. (Considered as an description of his desired behavior.)

I think that JohnH is right that it's not all about self-identification, but don't think the proper alternative is to give any respect at all to what bigots think by saying that the bigot's perspective helps define their victims' identities.


I still think it's generally rude to categorize an enby (or the people attracted to that enby) by how you assess their afab/amab status. Not saying humans won't do that, but I think it's rude.

I would advise a man dating an afab enby to avoid calling himself "straight" even if that's how he saw himself (because now that erases his partner, whom he presumably cares about).

Instead he could say "I'm mostly straight" or "I usually date women" (or whatever makes sense to him without invalidating his partner).


Fichu @51: The polygamists in South Africa are up in arms because the government is proposing to legalize polyandry. Think of the children!


Delta @32

"My point is a guy who is into dick, is a bit different from a Kinsey 0 straight. If you measured erections with one of those devices I'd bet you'd find differences."

You're in luck - someone already did!

This study is a bit old at 2015 (and it shows in some of the language and rhetorical choices), and their sample size wasn't huge, but their erection-measuring devices strongly indicated that men who are attracted to pre-op or non-op trans women are NOT gay or bi. Overall, the arousal patterns of these men were very similar to those of (other) straight men, and very dissimilar to those of gay men. Where these men differed from the "straight" control group is in their very strong response to porn featuring trans women with penises (duh). So yeah, there IS a quantifiable difference between trans-exclusive and trans-inclusive straight guys, but that difference doesn't put the latter group any closer to gay guys. You seem to be thinking about this in terms of a Kinsey-scale, gay-to-straight linear continuum, but it doesn't seem to apply in this case.


So ... Trevor Bauer.


@John H @54: THANK YOU.
That's just what I wanted to say, both this time and about the previous column you referenced.

I think we on the left would have a lot more success with our various PR campaigns if we approached some of these issues more from the "these different things are all fine" side and less from the "these (demonstrably different) things aren't really different" side, which no one else buys and mostly makes us sound ridiculous. This LW's attractions are (as far as I can tell) in no way problematic, but very few people outside of the hard-core left are going to call this dude straight. And I don't believe that noticing the difference automatically makes someone a bigot.


I don't consider CIS completely straight because I don't define "completely straight" as only "I am a man and I am attracted to women". I think there are multiple dimensions: gender identity, gender presentation, overall body, genitals... Plus what a person is specifically attracted to isn't necessarily the same thing as being neutral or non-averse. CIS is obviously not gay -- would his friends say he's straight if he were dating a trans man with a vulva? I personally put him in the general queer bucket or bi spectrum, where I think most people belong.

I always scoff a little in my head when people say that being transgender has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It obviously does in English, where our terms for orientation are based on self vs. other. Let's say someone is interested in only women and has publicly gone about their business as a man for 30 years. We call that person straight. Then the person comes out as trans and transitions, and is still only interested in women. She's not "straight", she's a woman into women which makes her gay. If we used concepts touched on by John Horstman @54 to indicate our attractions without referencing our own various statuses, it'd be different.


Ankylosaurus @62 - of the people I know personally who transitioned, the split is about 50/50 between people who were attracted to the same body types as before and people who now switched to the opposite body type.

That is to say, I known as many people who stayed straight (or stayed gay) after transitioning (so began dating a whole new pool of people) as people who kept the same dating pool and switched their sexuality (from straight to gay or from gay to straight).

People are fluid, and they are often more attached to a community (like the gay community, or to being straight) than to the particular body type of their partners. You can call those people bi if you want, but they don't, so I don't.


I don't think that 'trans women are women' is a political position. (I think it's what one arrives as once one defines gender, but that's a tangent.)

"no one else buys...but very few people outside of the hard-core"

And I don't think it's fringe anymore, I think it's become a majority opinion.

To generalize, I think there's a lot to be said for political correctness. I'm old, so for example when I was young the only thing that got people to shut up about their racial bigotry was that that racist speech and employment actions became stigmatized and illegal.

Now, shutting up about it didn't make them any less bigoted, but right off the bat the rest of us who had moved from that bigotry didn't have to hear about their bigotry, and could prosecute them when we could catch them violating the law with it.

More importantly, I think that gave us time to focus on moving forward without dragging them behind us like an anchor for no reason. I'd agree with you if I thought a sane goal was to have a dialog with them let alone to change them, but I don't think that's a practical goal. I think what happens in practice if you look back at history is that dinosaurs die off and leave those who evolve beyond them to make the future. (For example, now, happily, American rightwingers shrink in horror when one points out how happy they would have been with slavery 156 years ago. I think progress is far more a historical process than a process of individual growth.)

I don't care what may "sound ridiculous" to them. In fact when something sounds ridiculous to them it's a good sign.


ciods @61 - "very few people outside of the hard-core left are going to call this dude straight."

Most of us don't go into details about our partners' genitalia in public. So if CIS dates or marries a woman (who happens to be trans), then their friends and family will presumably treat them as a straight couple. And I would hope no one would give them crap and insist on finding out what's in her pants.


Erica @65: Most of us don't go into details about genitalia in public, it's true, but it's also true that a substantial portion of trans women transitioned late enough in life that they still have some visual physical indications that they aren't cis. To many friends/family/etc., any such relationship will read as not quite straight. Again, I don't think this should be conflated with "not good." For instance, you said they might be "treated as a straight couple," as if that means "treated well." Why can't they be treated well, and still allow for the recognition that they aren't a standard/normal (in the mathematical sense) couple?

curious @64: Well, there's always the distinct possibility that I'm wrong, and that people who wouldn't consider this guy straight are some sort of -phobes, either consciously or sub-. And I agree that political correctness has a lot going for it, curious, as culture is shaped as much by language as anything. But I think it can occasionally backfire, as well. I don't know where the line is, honestly.

As always, I tend to want to imagine some sort of middle section of folk, non-bigoted people for whom the hard right's hatred of the other is repulsive, and who yet find the language the hard left uses confusing, and the prescriptivist attitude it comes with intolerant. I believe this middle exists. I also believe that they are being alienated by the left. But I'm wrong a lot of the time.


@59 Lost Margarita interesting study! Science! cool. That was my point, someone most turned on by transwomen specifically because they are transwomen, I think that's more a sexuality / orientation than kink and so not exactly straight (I wouldn't say gay or bi either - @2 myself I suggested "queer" as all encompassing rainbow).

@65 EricaP - "Most of us don't go into details about our partners' genitalia in public." Have you not overheard a group of gay men in a restaurant at brunch on a Sunday? well, maybe not our life partners, but definitely partners-of-the-night-before ;)


"I don't think this should be conflated with "not good.""

It's true that we're stuck in a situation where, linguistically, the

"Kinsey-scale, gay-to-straight linear continuum...doesn't seem to apply"
(quoting Margarita@59).

It would be nice if we had language, and cultural attitudes both internalized and externalized, that to some makes there a "not good" set of attractions.

"I don't know where the line is, honestly."

I think the line is in between my position @64 and yours.

Sure political correctness backfires too.

And certainly you're much better at I am of thinking of the "middle section of folk". (I can't relate to people who can't decide between the sides any more than I can relate to the other side.)

That middle section does participate in real progress, so you're right that their individual growth is politically vital; without it, the 'next generation' that I depend upon would not be different than the last generations.

But I think that the rightwing doesn't so much change as it gets dragged into the future by history. Politically, they don't compromise, so I'm used to thinking that the culture war needs to be won, not negotiated.
And even if they did negotiate, that wouldn't be my forte. For example, I've never thought that gay human rights was something that anyone should have to accept getting people's votes for; I think that was extremely insulting.

I'm better at fighting, so that's what I think of. If I was as good at being open to everyone as ciods, maybe I'd still believe in taking part in achieving progress one person at a time. (I've never had success with that, though I did try my best for a long time.)


UNCLE: You suck.

PECS: There's always some like you out there

PUSH/CIS: Opposing viewpoints on the importance of labels. IMO go without, as best you can.

SOAOV: What's an LBGT pattern? OTOH, I dunno Dan's speculation seems out of place and poor form. As a reader, the letter (and the response) were not worth my time.


Sporklandia @69: You landed on the lucky number. Yay!


@69 Endless Ork: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's luscioius and much envied lucky @69 Award numerical honors! Savor your newfound good fortune and bask in the glory. :)

@70 fubar: Ah--I was wondering where Sporty went......


re @42: While I openly admit to have veered a bit off topic, did my music-related question scare Musicbiker off from the SL comment thread? I'm just double-checking in. LavaGirl, BiDanFan, fubar and others have shown interest in my website and its contents, and have enjoyed mp3 sound recordings I have sent in the past. I'm currently back to working on a new Stephen king-based score, now that our rather frightening PNW heatwave has mercifully subsided. More later.


BDF @16, I'm sorry, but you're a bit wrong about this. You can absolutely be female presenting and nonbinary. If you're afab nb, it can be pretty hard not to be female-presenting, as androgyny is quite difficult to achieve. The youtubers Verity Ritchie, Jessie Gender, and Riley Dennis also offer some examples of people who are amab, female-presenting, and nonbinary. The point of nonbinary isn't looking androgynous, it's about having a gender that isn't male or female, or no gender, and trying to find a way to deal with that while living in a body and a world. Androgynous presentation can be one of those ways to deal, but it's not the only one. I'm also uncomfortable with your grouping of afab nbs with women, and amab nbs with men in @12, and I think vennominon @15 is right, though I don't know anything about tennis.


Re PECS - do people think it's likely he did more with the guys he fooled around with than just sucking their pecs? I understand that's his kink, but I guess I'm skeptical he found "several male students and professors" with the matching kink.


John @54, I couldn't disagree more that by going out in public, women are giving implied consent to be stalked. Seriously, what!? If a complete stranger is taking an unhealthy prurient interest in the people at the next table, it's they who have broken a social compact. It's ridiculous to claim that if women don't want strangers eavesdropping on their every word in a restaurant or bar, they should stay home. And it's ridiculous to claim that because a tiny minority of creeps might do this, it's perfectly fine to collude with one's partner that an unwitting third party will provide them with a show. This is completely different from assuming a conversation won't be overheard incidentally and that someone might pay attention for a few minutes.

"So a better answer to CIS might be that lots of people will indeed consider him queer or specifically gay." That wasn't his question though. Of course lots of people will think he's queer or even gay for liking trans women. But lots of people think men are queer or even gay for a myriad of ridiculous things, from dressing nicely to eating pussy. The point is to reassure CIS that they're wrong, he's not, and try to give him the courage he needs to stand up to his ignorant friends who will point and laugh and call him gay.

Curious @55, that was the evidence for me, too, that UNCLE is gay. Dan -- are you here, did UNCLE give any more clues?

EricaP @57, that's a good point. One of my straight friends whose primary partner is an enby calls himself "neptunic." Perhaps this will catch on.

Ciods @61: "very few people outside of the hard-core left are going to call this dude straight." Very few people outside of the hard-core left thought black people should eat at the same lunch counters as white people in 1955. Hope the idea that trans women are women becomes the norm soon, too.

EricaP @63, interesting! I know very few people whose gender-of-attraction changed after transitioning, aside from one trans woman who went from "straight man" to bisexual, but still with a preference for women.

Ciods @66, I might not call them phobes, but I would call them ignorant, in the sense of being uneducated. Unlike Curious, I think many of the non-bigoted, but simply ignorant, can learn to change their views of trans folk. I think that process is already well under way. Some may resist a change to what is familiar, but the more blog posts and articles they see, the more familiar the idea of gender self-ID will become and the easier it will be to accept it.
I agree that this will be an easier process if we can manage to temper our reactions to the out-and-out bigotry we read online so as not to insult everyone who doesn't quite get it yet.

Glad Sporky was here to read Delta35 @67's report that gay men also gossip about their sexual partners over brunch.

Griz @72, glad you're out of the merciless heat!

Wam @73, you're correct - non-binariness is a state of mind, and while most of the enbies I know wish to project their non-binariness, others simply want to wear what they want to wear, and if that happens to match the gender they were assigned at birth then so be it. I know afab enbies with long hair who wear makeup and amab enbies with facial hair. Those enbies who present as their assigned gender are far more likely to attract people who consider themselves straight or gay. (Just the other day I entered a Facebook discussion where a friend had posted a photo of an attractive buff woman as proof she is gay, and someone argued that since the woman in question was androgynous looking, wouldn't that be proof my friend was pansexual? Where do I start...)

I'll tell you what, after this week's discussion, I'm now feeling a sense of relief at how it's so much simpler to just be queer, ahaha.


Hmm. I suppose I'll add one thing to my previous point, which is meant to be clarifying, rather than insistent, as I'm still happy to just be wrong here. But when I said very few people will think this guy is straight, I didn't mean to quibble with the statement "trans women are women" so much as with the definition of straight as "(any type of) man in relationship with (any type of) woman." I think most straight-identifying people would not say they are attracted to members of the opposite sex who nonetheless do not have genitalia which match their gender. In other words, I think most people think straight means something closer to "cis-man in relationship with cis-woman." Which is why I think this guy should call himself straight-ish, or queer, or heteroflexible, or something slightly different.


Let's frame the question one other way, since I think I sent us off in the wrong direction by talking about "most people." How about this. If this dude were to set up an online dating account where he could specify his orientation, what term do you think is likely to make trans women most comfortable approaching him? My guess is he'll do much better if he says "queer" than if he says "straight."


Ciods @77, yes, I agree that talking about what "most people" think was confusing, and seems irrelevant if "most people" are wrong. Good point that whether he self-describes as straight or something else depends on the audience. To answer your question, I think CIS would do much better at getting MALE attention if he describes himself as "queer" or "bisexual" on a dating profile, but male attention is not what he wants. I think he would do better describing himself as straight, so men don't contact him, and taking the initiative to approach self-described trans women, rather than trying to craft a profile that encourages them to approach him. (I mean, this is the recommended strategy for any man interested in women, right?) He could make a note in his profile that he's open to trans women and, if his preference is that strong, ignore any messages from cis ones. (Or simply avoid the traditional dating apps and go for one specifically geared for trans women and their admirers.) Having "straight" on his profile would signal to the trans women he's hoping to attract that he thinks of them as women, which should earn him quite a few points with them. At worst, he may message someone who sees "straight" in his profile and writes him back to say, "I'm trans, are you sure?" At which point he can tell her it's a feature, not a bug, for him.


I have changed my position slightly on whether he needs to tell trans women he has a penis fetish, if indeed he does. My previous position was that they'll be able to guess that quite easily. However, I'm reminded that some trans women are dysphoric about their penises and don't want to involve them in sex. So CIS should bring this up, to weed out those who would feel bad by his wanting to lavish attention on their penises.


ciods @77, I know that that's not what you were getting at, but if I was in this LW's shoes, I'd go for "straight" rather than "queer" for a dating profile. As a man, he'd likely have to do most of the approaching anyway (as numerous studies show that women rarely approach men on dating sites), and the fact that he lists as "straight" might work in his favour with the feminine trans women he's interested in, as it shows that he sees them as women, full stop. I can see how a trans woman being approached by a self-identified straight man may be concerned that he's either a) a closeted trans chaser, who intends to see her strictly on the DL, or b) not realising that she's trans, and may turn hostile when he finds out. These are legitimate concerns, rooted in a transmisogynistic culture, and I would advise CIS to put some effort into his profile text and his opening message, to reassure his target audience that he is neither of those things.

Listing as "queer" may result in being matched with and filtering many messages from men, and he's not interested in men. But I think that both "straight" and "queer" could be an option for him, as there are valid reasons for either label. I agree with venn @7 that "maybe SQ should be its own category".


Ha, looks like BDF @78 has already made all the points I was trying to make! Jinx!


BDF @75 - I hadn't heard of neptunic and its related terms uranic and saturnic -- thanks for the link! It'll be interesting to see if those catch on.

On dating profiles in the meantime, I'm a fan of "mostly straight" as it shows flexibility to partners' particular identities.

"Heteroflexible" ought to communicate the same thing, though in practice I see that used to express comfort with mixed gender threesomes rather than openness about the gender of a romantic partner.


One more observation about CIS: He says that his friends think it's "gay" to be attracted to trans women. This says something to me about his social group. He's not living in a progressive big city, or if he is, he's living in a blokey or conservative enclave within that city. If his options are indeed "straight" or "queer," given the makeup of his friends group, I suggest that labelling himself as "queer" will get him rounded up to gay, perhaps ostracised, perhaps open him up to the risk of harassment or violence. Better to say that he is straight, and to speak up for trans women whenever the subject is mentioned. If and when he finds himself dating a trans woman he wants to introduce to his friends, that's when it may or may not become their business that he's attracted to trans women, and he can then answer any questions they may have. But to come out as something he arguably isn't just seems like it would cause a lot of problems and not solve any.


@21. Cocky. I also imagined that UNCLE was straight.


I think he's getting a hard time here, from e.g. Fantastic, Fichu, mainly because as an ally he's very signed up to a kind-of late 80s/90s 'out is proud', out is good, mindset. The conversation about any supposed responsibility on a queer person living in unpropitious circumstances to be out has moved on (partly through e.g. the internationalisation of gay solidarity). I don't think asking his niece if she's queer an extraordinary faux pas (or, rather, it might be just that, a faux pas, a social misstep or act of personal clumsiness or obtuseness, not anything that could be seen as wrong or nastily offensive). The only way it could be received as truly offensive would be for the couple and the rest of the family to be doubled-down homophobes; and then, however ineffective, the gesture is not in an absolute sense offensive.


Looking for example at OKCupid's Orientation options, I agree with Margarita and BDF that "Straight" is the one option the LW should select.

Then looking at OKCupid's (22) Gender preference options, the LW should definitely select "Trans Women" (I believe that this affects both whose profiles the LW would see, and who would see his profile.)


EricaP @81, yes. If I saw "heteroflexible" on a man's dating profile, I wouldn't interpret that as being into trans women, I'd interpret it as being up for MMF threesomes, or occasionally hooking up with dudes. I'd definitely think he was talking about attraction to men, as opposed to women with penises.

Some people online tried to solve this conundrum by suggesting "super straight" as an orientation for people who weren't attracted to trans folk. Which came across as super phobic, but I do have to say I favour labelling oneself as trans exclusive to imply that trans inclusive is the norm (whether that's just my wishful thinking or not).


Fair enough! "Straight" it is.


I've talked to male friends who had the "heteroflexible" label on Fetlife at some point, and apparently it mostly attracted messages from other men. So it worked for guys who wanted that, and less so for those who didn't. Maybe it would be different on a dating site, where you can select your orientation AND specify the categories of people you want to be matched with.


Harriet @83 - it's not so much a faux pas to ask a relative or friend if they're gay or queer, so much as it's nunyabusiness (especially if your relationship to said person isn't sufficiently close and intimate). Waiting until after someone gets opposite sex married to ask if they're secretly closeted is an extra special level of nunyabusiness. This latter point is my issue; if UNCLE was genuinely worried that his niece may be trapping herself in an unhappy marriage, his time to say as much has long since passed.


"his time to say as much has long since passed"

Good point. Now it would be as hostile as waiting until a skydiver had jumped out of the airplane to ask if they remembered to pack their chute.


Ms Erica @57 - I think that depends on how much straight depends on the "opposite" concept instead of the "different" concept. Your straight man would still have a different-gender partner. There are a fair number of newish labels floating about that seem to be popular with many online NB people - though, perhaps interestingly, the discussion seems to be more about labels for people attracted to them than labels they use for their own orientations. It will be interesting to see what sticks and what evaporates.


Curious @89, yes. UNCLE says there are 50 signs this woman is gay. The time to have said something -- not asked outright, which I agree is rude because it could put a confused young person on the spot, but made a general statement that he supports her regardless of her sexual orientation -- was when he started seeing signs one through five. "Congratulations on marrying a man, by the way, are you actually a lesbian?" could only serve to offend, stir drama or both. And he wants Dan to give him a pass for doing so. Shame on you, UNCLE.


BDF @82

"given the makeup of his friends group, I suggest that labelling himself as "queer" will get him rounded up to gay, perhaps ostracised, perhaps open him up to the risk of harassment or violence"

The part about his friends stood out to me, too, and my first thought was that CIS should maybe make an effort to connect with a more queer social group, as he seems confused and anxious about his sexuality and being immersed in an aggressively heteronormative culture isn't helping. But then I thought that, as a single guy into trans women, he probably won't get a warm welcome in most queer circles, where he will likely be seen as a chaser. Which then made me think that this is another reason why I'd hesitate to call CIS queer, and also that "SQ" or "mostly straight" should definitely be a separate entity with its own community, which can include people like CIS and people like straight male crossdressers, who also get a bad rep in queer circles, but are not necessarily "fetishising", "appropriating" or "devaluing" trans experience.

Maybe "questioning" would be a better fit for CIS than straight or queer.


Lost Margarita @92: I agree that "questioning" would be a good label for CIS.

And if CIS does decide to have relationships with trans women (rather than fetishize them and see them on the down-low) he'll need a new group of friends.


Mr. Venn @90 - "Your straight man would still have a different-gender partner."

I take your point.

"It will be interesting to see what sticks and what evaporates."



I don't seriously expect UNCLE to show up in the comments section after the way we've gone after him, but I sure wish he'd tell us more about the 50 ways to recognize a lesbian. I got so curious, I even googled, but all I found was on what a contemporary female friend might look for, not on what an older gay or straight man might see. I couldn't even find a list of cartoonish stereotypical lesbian traits. I was hoping to find things like "wears plaid flannel shirts" or "has a crew cut" or "works as a plumber," and I didn't even find that. So help me out. Finish this list for me.
- Doesn't shave her legs
- Drives a Subaru
- Fat
- Has a crew cut (or mohawk)
- Is athletic
- Is involved with fundraising for breast or ovarian cancer
- PhD in economics
- Physical Ed teacher in junior high
- Plays golf or tennis
- Voice is loud
- Wears flannel shirts
- Works as a plumber (or electrician)

What else?


@95 Fichu: Hear, hear! UNCLE's "50 signs" are likely just that broad and stereotyped. I thought it was interesting that the one specific sign UNCLE did point out was the age of the couple -- "abstinence until age 30 is highly suspicious." Ha! Sorry, UNCLE, but plenty of people abstain until later ages for a variety of reasons -- religious (which you mention), but also trauma, shyness/social anxiety, lack of opportunity, and many others. If your other 49 signs are as thin as this one, you need to check your assumptions.


Ens.Pulver @96 - and the weirdest part was him thinking he knew whether or not the couple has been having sex. As BDF pointed out @46 "he seems to have jumped from not living together to not having sex, which is rather laughable."


"he seems to have jumped from not living together to not having sex"

Given how very likely it would be for unmarried "religious fanatics" to tell everyone that they are virgins, we don't know that he had to do any jumping.


@98 p.s.
Those sentences just happen to be next to each other. And even that could just be a result of the amount of editing we know letters can get.


Fichu @95 Ens.Pulver @96 I agree that it's rude and presumptuous to say things like "both of them seem as gay as possible", without allowing for any error of judgement on your own part - but I also think it's kind of disingenuous to pretend that gaydar isn't a thing. People do express their sexuality in a myriad of small ways that form an overall picture. In the case of gay women, it doesn't have to be anything cartoonish or stereotypical, it's just a different vibe. A vibe that says "I'm not interested in men or men's idea of sexy". Which you can see in a woman's dress sense, her body language, her demeanour.

It's not foolproof and there are cultural, personal, and environmental factors to consider, but I don't find UNCLE's statement about "fifty signs" all that ludicrous. Many of us have known friends and relatives who were in denial or in the closet for a while, and when they finally come out, everyone's like - yeah, we know. UNCLE may have also picked up on some twinkle in his niece's eye when she's interacting with women (perhaps a particular female friend), which is never there when she's talking to her husband or other men. I can see how it could be a combination of things.

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