The Sexuality Blog: Transwomen are back in the news, and as usual it is a mess


The first week of 2018 has been rife with stories around transwomen. However, unlike 2017’s transwomen stories where we debated if they even have the right to call themselves women (there is no debate, they do), in 2018 we have decided to segue into the mechanics of transwomen sex lives and if they have any right to be attracted to straight men. A few days ago, R&B singer Ginuwine who is currently participating in Big Brother UK, was part of a conversation that involved a transwoman and a drag queen around the concept of disclosure in relationships. The transwoman in question tried to explain to Ginuwine that transwomen were often discriminated because of their history, even by men who initially showed interest in them. She rightfully suggested that this kind of reversal is quite similar to the reversals by racists and people who bigoted about ethnicity and religion and other cultural or biological markers and is discriminatory.

To prove her point she tried to force a kiss on Ginuwine which he brushed off, and inadvertently stoked the fires of the LGBT thinktank on social media. LGBT activists called him out for being transphobic, while the heterosexual black community defended him, pointing out instead how LGBT people ask for the permission to enter consenting relationships with the people they are attracted to and then turn around and deny a heterosexual of that specific privilege. They allege that transwomen want to ‘trick’ men into relationships with them.

Now here is the thing, the white transwoman was clearly in the wrong for trying to force herself on Ginuwine. Even an unsolicited kiss is harassment if the subject of the kiss has clearly shown he is not interested, he has even said it verbally. However, this conversation brings out some important truths about male sexuality. If heterosexual attraction was as strong and discerning as Ginuwine’s defenders want to claim, we wouldn’t routinely have to have this kind of discussions about transwomen tricking straight men into sexual situations and then having to confess to being trans. The simple fact is that men are socialised to attempt to have intercourse with almost every and any woman. That means any attraction they have to transwomen who have not disclosed her procedure and history is essentially because they see her as female.

Disclosure doesn’t really invalidate this or reframe these women as deceivers because the ultimate point of transitioning between genders is to pass for your preferred gender. If you have to constantly tell everyone you meet that you were indeed born as a man is not being honest, especially if your objective when meeting them is to engage in sexual intercourse with them or use the privileges that being privileged offer. Passing for a transwoman is far bigger than simply attracting your attention and dating men, it is a path to fulfilment in one’s preferred gender and if men are drawn to transwomen in the process it is not their fault.

Sexuality, especially transsexuality for women who can pass as female is terrifying, especially with the number of deaths of transwomen America recorded in the last decade. The last thing any woman wants to do is become the victim of a hate crime or worse.

Women have a right to keep personal information about their lives to themselves, especially when the alternative can literally mean them their lives.

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