Guest Blogger

I'm somebody's fetish!

Filed By Guest Blogger | October 05, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: sexual fantasy, sexual fetish, transgender porn

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Drew Cordes is a transgender woman from Albany, N.Y. She is a 2004 graduate of Vassar College.

meface.jpgWhen I started to address my gender issues and transition from male to female, I thought there was a good chance I'd never have sex again. Having no attraction to trans folks myself, my thoughts were along the lines of "Well, I won't want to fuck me, so who else would?"

I was wrong. (Thank God.)

Initially, I was excited and happy to learn there were lots of people who found t-girls and transmen to be hot as hell. Why the sizable t-girl porn market didn't inspire me to put 2 and 2 together earlier, I'm not sure. I jumped into communications with t-girl admirers (or "chasers" as they're colloquially known). I thought I'd be talking to people who liked me for me, but after a chunk of conversations I discovered that was not the case.

Most only focused on part of me, and as for which part it was, well, you can figure it out. With many chasers, I felt less like a girl and more like a tool -- a necessary component to obtain in order to have fantasy sex. Their excitement at coming face-to-face with the missing piece led them to dwell on it as if the horny devil on their shoulders constantly crooned into their ears -- "Ohhhh, we're so close! We're so close!" The drooling and awkward conversation caused by such distracted single-mindedness does not inspire amorous thoughts.

I don't always have a problem being objectified; we all like it in certain situations -- from "You're pretty," to "Sweet ass." With an admirer, though, I might be an object to the detriment of real intimacy.

Occasionally, a t-girl admirer was actually a nice, well-adjusted guy. Even in that rare case, however, there was still the baggage and expectation that come with being someone's fantasy. That person's idea of me existed long before we met, and it's impossible to live up to a scenario that was honed over years of locked doors and crumpled tissues. It's nice to be seen as desirable, but other lenses need to be present too. Even if the feelings about it are positive, it's a bad sign if someone's understanding of me revolves mainly around my transness. In this case, the fetish prevents someone from knowing the real me.

My life revolves just as much around countless other things as it does being trans. For example, my red hair definitely factors into how I present myself to the world with clothes, accessories and makeup more than my transness. You won't see me lounging in a skimpy bikini on a beach just as much for redheads' susceptibility to sunburn as my paranoia over my body appearing "male" in some minor way.

Successful pairings for me usually come with someone to whom my transness is incidental. Certainly being transgender is a big part of who I am, but it is not the entirety of who I am. Every relationship I have, platonic and romantic, function best when people see it as one of many characteristics.

It's anticlimactic, but when I tell a suitor I'm transgender, the response I'm secretly hoping for is "Oh. Well, OK, whatever."

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MinistryOfLove | October 5, 2010 9:24 AM

How about "Whatever. Take off your clothes and surprise me."? A comment I made last week at the Great Orange Satan, link

I self-identify as bi- but in the SF Bay Area, there are way more than two sexes, and sometimes, it's just easier to not worry about the details.

I have a friend who's a "tranny chaser." I've never understood the motivations behind fetishizing people like that. I prefer men with dark hair but I dont' make it the focal point of my sexual existence.

Why do you still consider this person a friend?

the response I'm secretly hoping for is "Oh. Well, OK, whatever."

I said this exact thing when I first jumped into the dating arena (symbolized by signing up on dating sites like OKCupid). If only being trans were like being brunette.

Just to clarify, being a chaser is NOT the same league as "color of hair" or "I like them tall" preference. It involves a whole heap of sexual fetishism, secrecy and objectification to which redheads and/or tall people aren't subject. Moreover, there are relatively few chasers which will even allow others (especially family, work and friends) to know about this aspect of their lives much less introduce you to their circle and be cool that others know you're trans. I don't think too many hide their red-headed partners out of fear.

Btw, can we please dump the term "tranny chaser" which assumes we're all "trannies" or okay with that term?

But Drew, thanks again for the article, I'm really enjoying your contributions here.

Kathy Padilla | October 5, 2010 12:49 PM

The issue has been around for ages. I used to think think that eventually a lot of these folks would go through their own coming out process and that this would alleviate the...well...creepiness of much of the behavior. But that doesn't seem to be happening. Perhaps there's no spaces in the community to foster that change.

It would be hard to hold to these behaviors & views if you take your girlfriend to the company picnic or home to meet your mother.

Kathy, not only is it not improving, but there is a huge gulf forming between cis female partners of trans persons and that of cis male partners of trans women. The former is viewed as trans allies/trans & queer positive while the latter are viewed as creepy fetishists who don't even belong in the LGBTQ community. This is yet another giant rift in the trans community which, on some level, partners are a part of. It's my belief trans women and straight/cis men are, in fact, the most transgressive combination... more so that many self-ID'd queer peeps because they challenge the very notion of heterosexuality in a way queer people don't. They're also the combo/context which experiences, by far, the most per capita violence.

"trans women and straight/cis men are, in fact, the most transgressive combination... "

This - yes!

I have spent the past 10 years trying to puzzle out the chasers. It feels to me that there is the beginning of a sort of self-identification and almost community building happening online. It's happening on forums attached to porn sites where few trans women go (well trans women who aren't promoting their sites/films/services).

It's an interesting thing to see as guys who have or are willing to get, an education talk to the guys who view us as a fetish.

Drew Cordes | October 5, 2010 2:11 PM

The tgirl fans with shame issues is another interesting topic. I was going to talk about in this piece, but then decided it was too big and needed to be addressed on its own. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do that.

Also I agree with your thoughts on the term "tranny-chaser." I know some trans people use "tranny," and that's fine, but lord do I hate that word. Perhaps my most hated word, narrowly edging out "moist," and a slew of redhead nicknames. This is why I only used the term "chaser" and always use the much more palatable "tgirl" to refer to myself and others like me.

Renee Thomas | October 5, 2010 12:31 PM

" . . . Successful pairings for me usually come with someone to whom my transness is incidental . . ."

Umm, well yeah ya think? I would imagine anyone would soon tire of being seen as a cartoon.

"I'm not really bad; I'm just drawn that way"

-Jessica Rabbit

Renee Thomas | October 5, 2010 12:34 PM

" . . . Successful pairings for me usually come with someone to whom my transness is incidental . . ."

Umm, well yeah ya think? I would imagine anyone would soon tire of being seen as a cartoon.

"I'm not really bad; I'm just drawn that way"

-Jessica Rabbit

Drew, thanks for the article - good writing. I can certainly identify as I wouldn't want to do me either.

Sadly, I figure the the odds of me finding any sort of someone special (as in anything beyond platonic to romantic) at my age (let's just say I am sick and tired of getting AARP member invites) are between zero and none.

While I don't look my age, it seems you can group the potential gals around here into three categories: young (21-ish) and "curious", married and "curious" or old and, well, let's just call them "unappealing". The t-chasers aren't even interested. (In case you are wondering, I am told frequently by 'friends' I am not unattractive, even at my age, so go figure.)

I know I sound depressing and pessimistic here; sorry, but my 'cheery optimism' (fyi: this is not a person) packed up and left me about a year ot two ago. I have no reason to be optimistic about romance any more.

I guess a lot depends on one's own orientation. in the 50+ bracket, available women who are attracted to men, regardless of trans status, outnumber the available men. That does not preclude finding love, it just means it is a little more difficult. Regardless of orientation, trans women often have it a little more difficult because the "pool" of those who would find us attractive is diminished by those who can't overcome the "obstacle" (regardless of op status). (For those of us who are lesbian, the number of those who are the philosophical and spiritual disciples of Daly and Raymond are another obstacle.)

Being attracted primarily but not exclusively to women, after my ugly divorce it was about three years before I was ready to "look." After a few brief dating experiences, I, too, thought it might be "never" - and then four years ago, love came back into my life, when Ms. Right walked into my local LGBT Center's women;s discussion group.

If it's possible, joining an club or organization that has social meetings is a great opportunity to meet people who have similar interests. MS. or Mr. Right might just show up in a year or three. For people who are in mid-life, it's much better than trying to socialize in a bar. Even if there isn't a special someone, just making friends is a good thing, particularly in the "mainstream." If one is looking for love and not a chaser, it's probably best to avoid or limit socializing within the "tranny ghetto."

Really well written post! It's always nice to get new perspectives on these things.

It's not often such insight comes with such hilarious lines. "Crumpled tissues," indeed.

Ministry Of Love | October 5, 2010 9:04 PM

I don't get it. It's like latex-fetishists, I can accommodate them, but I just don't get it. I have my own list of fetishes, mostly in the BDSM area, but FTM/MTF transitioning/non-transitioning, what's the big deal?

One of the mothers of my godson is a non-transitioning MTF. I haven't seen any of the family in years, we had a fight, but before that I got an education about transitioning. She liked her cock. Her wife liked her cock. I really liked her cock. But if she decided to change, so what? (We fought over money which to me was silly, but to her, not so much.)

In the years since I've dated FTMs, MTFs, in whatever part of the process they're going through. Not that I planned it, it's just that you meet people, or friends introduce you. Now, I''m old and out of the dating scene.

People fetishize some of the most interesting things. Smoking tobacco cigarettes has become a fetish. (What is forbidden becomes sexualized.) Apparently, there's a website out there (I haven't found confirmation yet.) that fetishizes (this comment is destroying my spell-checker!) the back of young girls knees. WTF?

All I know is, either I'm boinking you as a total stranger in someone's orgy room, or I'm old enough now to make "grandpa porn" or, best of all, I know you and being bi- really, really don't care what you've got in your pants or other areas of your body usually covered by clothes.

But I still can't see chasing MTF/FTM folks for just that. Maybe I'm too bi- to get it. I've been licking whatever since my freshman year in college, it's worked well for me.

P.S. I'm not a "nice, well adjusted guy" I'm a BDSM perv that's made porn back when people bought their porn on VCR tapes and magazines. It's just that I have no problem with what parts people keep in their pants. "Take off your clothes and surprise me!"

I have read this post several times and keep wondering about the final line.....
'It's anticlimactic, but when I tell a suitor I'm transgender, the response I'm secretly hoping for is "Oh. Well, OK, whatever." '

What puzzles me is what you would say or how you would react if the response was .... "Oh, how wonderful, so am I"

My impression is that chasers aren't into trans women per se. They're into a trans woman's penis. The obvious way to prove this theory is to see if a chaser is still interested if the woman is post-op.

My view is that this is because it's emotionally safer for these men to be sexually attracted to a penis when it's on a woman than a man. This is to say that in order to avoid coming out as gay, they couch their sexuality in this fetish.

People can be attracted to trans women and men without it being a fetish if they're interested in the whole person, and not just the sexual organs.

Drew Cordes | October 6, 2010 10:47 AM

@Deena: I don't exactly what I'd say. I'd certainly be accepting and open to friendship, but a romantic relationship probably (never say "never," right?) wouldn't be in the cards. Obviously, I have no problem with trans people, since I am one, and I have trans friends, etc. As I said in the post though, I'm usually not physically attracted to trans people. We all have our likes and dislikes in terms of finding people physically attractive. I never hold it against those who tell me it's a dealbreaker for them, so I'd expect the same treatment. We like what we like. Some like trans people (thank god); some don't.

Never dated a chaser -- I think they're creepy -- but I've gotten to know a few thru girlfriends who have. It seems that many like to "fool" their friends by taking a trans sister who passes well out to dinner or a bar with their friends. It must be quite a turn-on, because the results can be explosive....

There are a number of different types of admirers, so I'd want to be careful about generalizing about all of them. Men might be attracted to trans women because they: are gay curious / bi- curious, are questioning their own gender identity and looking to you for a clue, are bisexual and don't have a mental block about which parts are attached to which bodies, are "collectors" (i.e. want at least one of every kind of sexual experience), are attracted by taboo / social transgression / "avant garde", are straight but willing to stray into bi- territory, are attracted to traits they expect to find (often mistakenly) in trans women but not cis women... or none of the above. Calling that attraction "fetish" makes a few assumptions right there.

I remember text chatting with someone who actively sought out trans women because of assumptions he made about behaviour and the way we're socialized differently -- there was some blatant misogyny and assumption in it, but it was how he rationalized his attraction.

But as Gina pointed out, trans women + straight/cis men are particularly taboo in our society. As a consequence, cis men are still going to be worried about how they're perceived, worried that she might get "read" and therefore reflect on him, etc. While the public is starting to become familiar with our narrative, there is really no public face of respectable men who date trans women. Except maybe Daniel Radcliffe (and it surprises me that he didn't face more backlash). It's unheard of, and so for now, it will tend to be only those who are most driven or less socially balanced who will venture out of the safety of obscurity.

You are really good looking! I can understand someone being in lust with you! The strange thing is that Guys seem to be interested in me also. My S. O. Thinks it is so cute when I get hit on! Most of the time I have no clue! Evey has something that truns them on thak goodnees eveyone are not the same!

Drew: The last sentence of your essay is exactly how I feel too. While I was transitioning, dating really sucked because I was not interested in dating "admirers", and non-admirers became turned off almost immediately after disclosure. And being bi-identified did not help in the way Woody Allen would expect, as disclosure of my status had a similar effect with lesbian-identified women and hetero-identified men. Meanwhile I was much involved with the local LBGT center on campus, and although I made some great friends there, no one was interested in me relationship-wise either.

Now I knew that not all male "admirers" are creeps, although there are been a few that made my skin crawl. I remember early in my transition I attended a local TG support group and the inclusion of a certain "chaser" in the first and only meeting I attended made me and several other young TS girls very uncomfortable, with him hitting on us there. There was a big argument in that meeting about whether admirers should be admitted in what we had thought was a safe space, and needless to say my friends and I never went back there.

But as I was saying, I knew two "admirers" during my transition who were hetero-identified and most certainly decent guys who were interested in me as a person, not a sex object. The first had a crush on me but I wasn't interested in dating him at the time, but we had a great friendship over the phone, email, and letters. The second I met later in my transition and we did start dating and I know him quite well because we have been together ever since. He became acquainted with TG issues on account of someone who had transitioned at work and he developed empathy for those in this situation. He definitely feels some sort of physical attraction to trans women, but not in an objectifying way like those guys who seek trans women to fulfill some sexual fantasy. And being pre-op, it was a relief to me that he had no sexual interest in my then genital configuration. The thing that bothered me the most about "admirers" who make transness the "thing" they are into is how this attraction "others" me in a way inconsistent with my identity (and I acknowledge of course that there are many different ways a person may identify). But what is nice is that my partner treats me as he would any other woman and it really feels that my "transness", especially at this point in time, is incidental to our relationship. But it also means a lot to me because I can talk with him openly about my feelings about trans subjects, which is really nice. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship in which my partner does not know of my history (and I'm not judging others in saying that, as everyone has different circumstances).

Great article. Encapsulates my thoughts exactly.