Editors' Note: Guest blogger Bayne MacGregor (aka Battybattybats et al) is an Australian crossdresser/genderqueer/bi-gender goth who has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for around 19 years.
There are a myriad of issues about sex and Transgender.
Just the word sex alone is a problem. Our inability to deal with the subject meant that euphamisms became standard for any polite discussion of coitus, of copulation of humans. So it became 'the sex act' and then 'sex' making any discussion of the differences between sex and gender in ordinary english with people uneducated in TG issues a mess to begin with.
Transgender has often been cast as a fetish, a going-wrong of sexual desires. So this sets up a conflict where ordinary sexual expression of a transgender person is labelled fetishistic so some reject such behaviour in themselves and others, condemning the sexually expressive as bringing problems onto the whole transgender community.
Others internalized transphobia results in them trying to excuse their transgender nature as purely sexual. This may be conscious or unconscious. But as they grow in self-acceptance many self-proclaimed fetishists find that the more they accept being transgender to some extent the more non-sexual TG aspects of themselves get unlocked after years of repression.
Seems a bad 'devil and the deep' scenario already huh? But it gets worse.
Many wonder why if studies suggest TG is comparably common to GLB then why is it so invisible, so closeted?
Ah, well, here you come to the worst part of the dilemma.
While there are a very significant number of transgender-attracted people as the market for TG pornography indicates, transgender sex workers show this is considered further taboo.
Despite the many women who have had posters of folk from David Bowie to Marilyn Manson to Davey Havok and Jefree Starr on their walls in their teens few seriously consider a relationship with gender non-conformists let alone taking them home to meet their parents. The attraction is there but the social pressure is strongly to conform and have relationships with cis folk. Same for those who visit transgender sex-workers, they'd happily pay for the sex but not consider openly dating the same person or openly admitting their sexual attraction to transgender people to their friends, family and workmates.
And those who do find TG sexually attractive are further condemned by parts of the transgender community just for finding TG attractive! Now sure if a TG wishes to transition fully then someone who finds the combination attractive may not be for them, but plenty of transgender people do not transition fully.
And in fact it is the fear of not finding a long-term partner that keeps a huge proportion of transgender people in the closet, keeping the knowledge that they are transgender secret form their current and prospective partners.
The desire for sex in fact keeps TG people trying to be Cis!
The sexual drive is the most powerful social force in our and most other species. Yet for transgender people it is condemned if present and used to invalidate their gender identity and expression. And yet the taboo of TGs being attractive sexually to others is also one of the major forces holding transgender people back!
The sexest and transphobic notion that a TG person cannot be sexual without their transgender-ness being a fetish causes horrendous harm. Cis men and women are sexual constantly. Much of media revolves around Cis sexual expression both male and female.
The transphobic notion that non-gender-binary attraction is wrong also does horrendous harm. This is perpetuated by some binary-identified transgender people (and cisgender transsexuals for those who prefer another term) too which can perpetuate the sexual-phobia in the transgender community.
And in society at large the many TG-attracted people need to start coming out about their attraction. That taboo needs to be undone.
Transgender people are sexual beings but no moreso than any cis straight or gay or lesbian or bisexual. We need to be seen in public as sexual beings and more than just sexual beings. We need to be acknowledged as attractive just like cis-folk get acknowledged as attractive.
And transgender people will not make sufficient headway by trying to cast sexuality out of the community. That only keeps the majority of transgender folk closeted and lonely and miserable. The reactionary fear of the sexual taboo and fetish label is holding us back. We have to find ways to claim our sexual expression and attractiveness as being as valid as everyone else's.