An Open Letter To ransGender Admirers (FAQ)

image TG admirers are an often overlooked part of the Transgender community. In fact, some people don't consider them to be part of the community. Most of the objections I hear directed towards admirers comes either from homophobic heterosexual crossdressers who fear anything that may suggest a crossdresser is anything other than "a normal guy" and lesbian transsexuals who think male bashing makes them more feminine.

OK, that was a bit harsh. But you get the idea. Admirers are singled out because their presence within the transgender community, and the implied sexuality associated with their presence, makes some people uncomfortable. The idea of a man finding a transgendered woman attractive or desirable sometimes causes problems.

Although I am not sure why. Transgendered men and women often say that being transgendered has been a good thing for them. They say that, given the choice, they would not give up their transgendered nature because it has helped them grow as people. If being transgendered is such a positive quality, why would anyone be surprised to find out it makes us more attractive to other people?

With respect to admirers, my complaints have more to do with how they behave towards transgendered women rather than their mere presence within the community. But I am willing to believe that that behavior can be explained in large part by a failure to understand the transgender community and it's members.

The kind of behavior I am talking about is the objectification of transgendered women, the worst of which is treating transgendered women as sex objects. But objectification can take other forms as well. If you are an admirer, it's probably not a good idea to think that all transgendered women are created equal.

If you were to find yourself in a room with 15 transgendered women, you would be amazed at the diversity represented by that group. Most likely, no two would be alike. As such, it would be a mistake to assume you have them all figured out and that a "one size fits all" approach will work.

What are some of the differences between transsexual women? Well, the extent to which they live their lives as women for one. Some transgendered women live part time as women, others full time. Some are transitioning, some are not. Some are very much out of the closet and feel comfortable in public. Many do not.

There are differences in the extent to which a transgendered person considers herself to be a woman. For many crossdressers, it really is just about the clothes. These are men in dresses, and they are OK with that. For others, crossdressing is a way to make the outer self look like the inner self. Some of these people will go on to transition later in life. Others will learn how to deal with the dichotimy and the inherent contradictions.
Sexual orientation is another way in which TG women show diversity. Every man who wants to be a woman does not necessarily want a man for a partner. For that matter, not everyone is looking for a partner. Some people like being unattached, and some people are happily monogamous. Some people are not sure of their sexuality and want to experiment.

Keep in mind that someone who was born male but wishes to be a woman, whether she is transitioning or not, probably does not want to be reminded that her genitalia do not match her desire. Most transgendered women resent the labels "she-male", "chicks with dicks" and "women with something extra". Some of these labels derive from the sex trades and are used most often in the "porn" industry.
Admirers should determine for themselves if they are interested in a transgendered woman for her feminity or her masculinity, or both.

I had a conversation with an admirer regarding the sexual orientation of crossdressers. He felt that if a crossdresser has sex with a man, the crossdresser is homosexual (or at least bisexual). I told him I did not necessarily agree. I argued that if having sex with a man validates a person as a woman, if that's what it takes, then that person is a heterosexual woman. My friend was adamant however that same genitals means homosexual. Period. My experiences with gender variance has taught me otherwise.

Not too long ago I had an unpleasant experience at our monthly group meeting. An admirer came to the meeting and started to hit on the members. He was facing quite a bit of rejection, and consequently was moving from one person to another, looking for someone who would be receptive. When it came to my turn, I, like the others before me, found him very annoying. He insisted on monopolizing my time even though I was obviously trying to talk to other people. Rather than join in the conversation I was having, he would sit next to me and start a second conversation with just me. I had to keep moving around the room, and he kept following me. Finally, he asked me for my phone number, to which I of course said no. By this time of course the evening was pretty much a wash out.

In this case I had the feeling that this person felt pressured to "score". I felt more like he was polling the members rather than trying to connect with someone with whom he had something in common. Which is too bad because he came across like a real jerk. Had he just relaxed and enjoyed himself, he may have made some friends over time and may have eventually found what he was looking for.

Much of the interaction between crossdressers and admirers takes place over the Internet via chat rooms, IMs and e-mail. In this climate of anonymity it is easy for both parties to pretend to be something they are not. In some ways this is not altogether bad. There is a certain safety factor. As far as I know, no one has ever contracted a sexually transmitted disease from the Internet. It's a safe place to act out fantasies and, as a friend put it, "hear myself say those things".

But an emotionally healthy person will eventually grow tired of fantasy role-playing games. Many will recognize their fantasies for exactly that, while others will want to move on to the next level and bring some of those fantasies to life.

I would like to see the transgender community have more interaction with admirers. I would like to see admirers at support group meetings, not as predators, but as needing the same support and friendship we seek from each other. I think it would be good to get this kind of thing off the Internet and out of the chat rooms and into the open where it belongs. I think it would be a good thing developmentally for many transgendered women, and probably for their admirers as well. Admirers should respect the wishes of those who do not want such attention, and respect the boundaries of those who do.

Hugs and Kisses            

Trisha Lynn

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