When I came out to my wife I was beautifully surprised at how accepting she was of me. When I first ventured into the outside world I was blown away at how accepted I was by the rest of the group of trans people at Trouble. I was even more surprised at how welcoming the rest of the non-trans clientele were to my wife and me. I am also struck by the trans community in general which is (rightfully) always asking that we be accepted for and as the people we are, without being judged or prejudiced in any way. At the same time I have noticed that there is quite a lot of resentment directed towards admirers or as some would call them, tranny chasers. This is a contradiction, why are people so who express such an overwhelming need to be accepted by others so unwilling to accept another group of people?
I have been mulling this over. I can absolutely see why trans people may not appreciate the admirers. Each trans person who objects to an admirer will have their own reasons for not liking having them around and I am sure there are almost as many reasons as there are trans people. At the core of the problem, I would argue, is the belief that the admirer is reducing all trans persons to a sexualised and possibly fetishised object. This is inherently dehumanising. The belief is that if all we are is a sexual object, then they do not want to relate to us, let alone value us as human beings with needs, wants, desires, hopes, aspirations etc. We are all human and we all want to love and be loved. The trans people looking for a relationship probably do not want to have a few minutes of dirty sex in a hotel room and then be cast aside like a used tissue. Whilst this may or may not accurately describe an admirer’s approach to the trans person, it certainly fits the narrative that has been constructed by many people. Most trans people want a relationship and the belief is that an admirer will only want the sex as all you are to them is a sex object. Male to female crossdressers who are attracted to women may feel threatened by the admirer. They may think the admirer is challenging their sexuality or they may even feel at risk, thinking that the admirer may attack them. Meanwhile those married trans people (or those in committed relationships) may worry that the admirers’ presence will cause problems for them, with their spouses thinking that the trip out en femme quickly degenerates into an orgy of some sort.
I obviously cannot speak for admirers and I cannot say whether the above categorisation is true or not and if my fellow male to female sisters are engaging in wild orgies, I have not been invited to any. Maybe I just get invited into entirely the wrong kind of party (joke).
My dealings with admirers has been limited to say the least. Very few have ever expressed an interest in talking to me and the one time someone did seem to take an interest (I have no idea whether he was an admirer or what) I was too naive to do anything more than helplessly look to a friend for rescue. I have had some interactions online and I have found most to be friendly, respectful and downright nice people, but I do block anyone who is disrespectful or rude and I have had a few of those too. I also realise that online interactions are essentially different to real world ones.
I therefore explicitly declare my lack of knowledge and insight into this group of people. What I can say is that admirers are also people. Yes they are people with niche and maybe specialist ‘interests’ but they are in all likelihood people just like almost everyone else in this world. They are looking for companionship, friendship, connection and love. They are attracted to a certain kind of person and they probably have little control over this. Sadly I suspect that some admirers, as with any group, cast the rest of their peers in a bad light*, Some may behave badly, some may objectify, overly sexualise and fetishise the trans person. Some may treat trans people badly and some may have personal circumstances that preclude the formation of long-term relationships with a trans person, yet they may still have desires that they are unable to control. Yet for every person like this I am sure there are a number of others who are respectful, caring and decent people. We should not let a few bad apples change the way we view the majority.
As always in human relationships, the undoubted sexual component of this interaction also complicates things immensely. I think even those male to female trans people who are attracted exclusively to women will admit that having someone express a sexual interest in you, especially an ostensibly heterosexual male, does on at least some level serve to validate the effort you have put in. The fact that a man finds you sexually attractive is a compliment. Yet at the same time you worry that he may only find you attractive because you have not really ‘passed’. He is still able to see you as not quite a ‘real’ woman. This is deeply upsetting to some. Additionally you may also have some concerns about your own conflicted sexuality and worry that if you like the fact that he is attracted to you, this somehow challenges your own perceptions of your own sexuality. This confusion may result in anger at the admirer. These are issues that the trans person probably needs to resolve for themselves and be comfortable in themselves.
It is not my place to pass judgment on anyone. I do not impose a moral or ethical code on anyone but myself and I would caution against casting any stones. Therefore I am happy to co-exist with almost anyone. I will accept your freedom to do what you do, provided it is legal and does not impinge on my freedoms. All I expect is that you afford me the same rights. In the overwhelming majority of cases admirers seem to do this, so let’s stop being so harsh on them. Let’s afford them the same rights we ask for ourselves and let’s treat people as people. Give them the benefit of the doubt and trust them to be good people. By all means take appropriate action if this is trust is broken, but let’s not prejudge. As always I would love to hear your comments, opinions and points of view.
* I am reminded of a post on a crossdressers forum I recently saw. The crossdresser in question recounted their trip to a clothing shop where they tried on dresses and asked for the (female, not that it should matter) sales assistant’s opinion on the dress. The crossdresser deliberately did not wear underwear and ensured that his penis was visible to the sales assistant. I am guessing the penis in question was also erect. He was surprised that the sales assistant fled the store half way through his escapade, locked him in and called the police. Clearly this person is a sexual predator trying to expose himself to women. Are all crossdressers like that? Are all trans people like that? Certainly not.Has this person done harm to our community? Absolutely! Should we all be judged by this person’s behaviour? I hope not…