Afraid of WHAT??? Dispelling the common misconceptions of Transgenders
By Cheryl Courtney-Evans
I was talking to an effeminate gay friend of mine the other day and he expressed the fact that, until he was in his late teens, when he came out (and started sneaking into night spots), he had been afraid of transgender people.
Surprised, I told him I didn’t understand that, but that there are several fears of trans folks that I have become aware of in my life, and these fears generally stem from the overall “fear of the unknown” and misunderstandings of this community. I’d like to address some of these fears and popular misconceptions now.
Some of this fellow’s fear was probably engendered by negative comments heard from is parents or other “far right” conservative adults regarding the LGBT community; “They’re sure to go to hell,” “They can’t be trusted around children…they’re out to recruit,” etc. These types of comments from adults, heard by a young child while the family is on an outing and they happen to see a semi-drag queen or transgender person (of course they’ve categorized the person as ‘gay’, but the child knowing HE doesn’t look like that, and knowing how he feels inside, doesn’t relate the comment to HIMSELF, ascribes the comment to the object of their attention) sticks with him for a long time.
Living as a transgender woman for over forty years, the very large majority of us who start this journey start it from their earliest memory of gender differences. They’ve even experimented with crossdressing when they were home alone. Their role models are the gender they identify with, and they see themselves emulating them, and can’t wait to be old enough to leave home to be able to start. There is enough scientific evidence showing Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID) prevalent to the degree that would make ‘recruiting’ unnecessary to maintain a healthy number of transgender persons, and adult transgenders are no more attracted to youngsters than heterosexual or homosexual pedophiles (actually I can’t recall a time when I’ve seen the news detailing the occasion of a transgender molesting a minor, unlike other sexualities).
Then there is the fear of the man who identifies as heterosexual (who is not trans-attracted). Many of them feel that if they leave themselves open to becoming involved with a transgender/transsexual (specifically the pre-surgery trans, known as a “pre-op” transsexual), that at some point in the relationship, that individual will tire of the ‘bottom’ role and want to play ‘top’ (generally the dominant male position).
This misconception is so totally ridiculous to the large majority of trans girls I know and have known, because even if they don’t find a way to complete the journey (via surgery), they want to negate (at least in their mind) the appendage exists. If referred to at all, it’s related to female body parts it most resembles in looks and function (like the ‘clitoris’). The heterosexual man who harbors this fear is thinking like a man. He’s not truly understanding the mental state of the transsexual woman; he can’t understand why (as good as insertion of his penis feels to him) one having a penis would have no desire to use it as he does. But that is just not the case. The majority of transgender/transsexual women I have known much prefer to “play the role they portray”; that of the woman (who assumes the submissive role in the bedroom). It is recognized however, that with the fluidity of sexual behaviors, there are exceptions to this rule, but by and large these practices are dependent on the mutual desires of the two individuals involved; I know of no cases where the transgender woman has raped a man, taking his ass.
Many heterosexual biological females fear transgender/transsexual women are ‘on the hunt’ for their menfolk. Due to the dearth of “good men” (and they also blame the gay community for this problem), bio females feel trans women further decimate the number, appealing to the “feminine side” inherent in all men (whether they admit it or not), while presenting the appearence of a woman (and therefore “socially acceptable” in appearence). Following the concept they generally feel that “all gays (that’s how they see trans, too) want ANY man they see”, they will believe that trans women will go after their man, possibly standing a better chance of it than another “gay man” (as they see it) because of the trans woman’s female appearence. To these women, I would say, “CALM DOWN, sweetie….we don’t have a need to have every man we see. Promiscuity (or lack thereof) is an individual thing, not a group characteristic! You don’t need to be any more worried about a trans woman going after your man than another bio woman. The person you need to stay aware of is your man and HIS libido.”
Being much less familiar with the female to male (FTM) side of the transgender coin, I went to a FTM friend of mine to get his take on this “fear” thing. He told me that unfortunately, the transitioning or transitioned man is even less visible to the general public than his male to female (MTF) counterpart. Therefore, there’s not much fear experienced from that quarter. However, when it concerns the lesbian/feminist community, there was a fear/anger at them because, as they’ve gone on their journey, they’ve made that community a “pit stop” until they realized that was not their real intent in their life. This, he said, generally tended to anger lesbian/feminists because they felt betrayed and feared “these trans people were ‘going over to the enemy’ (men)”.
Hopefully I’ve shed some light on this “fear” issue. Fear feeds hate/aversion of and to groups of people one doesn’t understand, while enlightenment hopefully breeds acceptance (if not necessarily love). So when we hear of “fear of transgenders”, we should ask, “Afraid of WHAT??”
**If you have ANY further questions, please feel free to post them in COMMENTS section. I’ll try to anwer them.**