My good friend and partner-in-crime Jess Farris (whose name you may recognize from the first featured personal experience spotlight on this site) describes her new blog But I Thought You Were… as, “The misadventures of a girl just living life and yearning to find a genuine connection to another human being. And not worrying so much anymore what kind of equipment they’re packing!” Amen, and I’ll drink to that! And this description – in particular, the latter portion – is a fantastic segue into what I want to touch on today.
There’s a particular double-standard that exists, with which I think most people who don’t fall into hetero-normative categories are at least somewhat familiar. It goes a little something like: “Ooh! I should set you up with my friend because you’re both gay/lesbian.” Heterosexual set-ups, on the other hand, are more likely to be based on – if you can believe it – the crazy phenomenon of actual common ground between the two people in question. And, as recently as last week – though it’s not the first time it’s happened, and probably won’t be the last – I’ve had well-meaning friends who’ve wanted to introduce me to their FTM friends simply because they know I’ve dated transguys before. On the heels of this most recent event not sparking into a love connection (the guy was a sweetheart, but I wasn’t really looking for anything, and even if I had been, we met at a friend’s birthday celebration at a club… so not exactly conducive to any kind of deep connection), the birthday girl (who, by the way, was not even the friend responsible for the forced, awkward set-up) commented, “Wow, I guess you’re really not a tranny chaser then.” Um, yeah, thank you. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell everyone.
For my own convenience purposes earlier, the easiest place I was able to find a definition of the term “tranny chaser” was on Urban Dictionary… not the most professional reference, I know, but it will suffice to illustrate my point (and, frankly, I think there’s a damn good reason that particular search term doesn’t pop up in a more professional source). According to most of what’s on there, the most common definition is something along the lines of “a straight male who is sexually obsessed with/turned on by male to female transsexuals.” Well, I’m pretty sure that one lets me out right off the bat.
Apparently, the term can also refer to “dykes who fetishize trans men as ‘really butch’ and thus keep dyke cred by not admitting they might be attracted to a man.” First off, I’ve never looked at any of the transguys I’ve dated as “really butch” lesbians; that’s why they’re called “transguys,” not “trans really butch lesbians.” Secondly, I’m also willing to state for the record here on my public site that I’ve been attracted to a few cisgender guys in my time as well, with little regard for what it might mean for my “dyke cred…” so I guess I don’t fit that second definition either.
Urban Dictionary also claims that, “A queer-identified woman who lusts after FTMs may be identified as a tranny-chaser if she outs her lovers as trans, particularly to acquaintances and strangers, so that she won’t be taken for straight,” and I’ll admit that – though it certainly was not my finest hour – the first time I got the “why are you here if you’re straight?” question in a gay bar, I did feel the need to explain why, despite outward appearances, I still “belonged” there… but, thankfully, that didn’t last long either.
So while, yes, I do happen to like – as Jess put it – “what kind of equipment they’re packing,” in regard to transguys, I don’t fetishize them, and I’m not going to date someone solely based on that. I’m not just about what they’re “packing,” and in fact, even their trans-ness has only ever been a tiny portion of the equation for me; while, granted, they often have amazing and unique experiences to share because of their trans factor, there’s A LOT more to it for me than that. I’m all about viewing whoever I date as the total package, and it just so happens that, in the past, I’ve found my personal definition of that in a few transguys. Sure, I dug their “equipment,” and we had our fun in that department, but what really got me hooked and held my interest was so much bigger and so far beyond all that…
I’ve known guys with whom I could talk for hours and never get bored because of the amazing banter and verbal sparring we developed. I’ve known guys who’ve inspired the shit out of me with the strength and integrity they displayed as men, in the face of – and perhaps even because of – the challenges and obstacles they’d encountered in their lives. I’ve known guys who’ve had the rare distinction of being one of those people who made me feel that, when they looked at me, they were actually looking hard enough and paying close enough attention to really see me, learning what I was about and what made me tick, challenging me to fully examine each facet of myself… and who, in turn, openly invited and encouraged me to challenge them because they truly believed that the connection we shared had the power to help us both grow and evolve and better ourselves as human beings… and they were right; it absolutely did.
And none of that had anything to do with their “equipment.”
© Kristin Despina for Acceptance Revolution, 2012