well, i get this question a lot. i’m not offended because you did ask if i wanted to respond - i appreciate that.
so yes. if you are only attracted to women with vaginas i think the nature of your desire, and the social conditioning that goes into forming that desire, is transmisogynistic. when people talk about going on a date with a cis woman, its considered rude and shallow to judge her entirely based on her pussy, but this is the normal way to talk about trans women. desire is shaped by our culture, and our culture is heteropatriarchy.
now, your friend who doesn’t like women with penises. i don’t think he should date trans women, or like, try to date trans women. that would be awful for everyone. but i do think its important to acknowledge that in our culture we are raised to devalue trans women. it would be wrong to pretend that ‘its just what i like’ and it has nothing to do with the constant social conditioning to find trans women disgusting.
Also worth noting that many, many trans women absorb those messages and take them to heart, and spend a lot of time struggling with this deep-set notion that we’re disgusting just for existing. It takes a lot of love and examination to clear that social BS out, even in the first-person. So while it’s not excusable that people are “not attracted” to women with penises, it’s understandable how this attitude tends to be the default starting position. The patriarchy is very good at what it does.
This connects to that really fucked up phenomenon where people will try to avoid taking direct ownership of their feelings, including biases and prejudices, because they want to avoid feeling pressure or obligation to change those attitudes or confront the underlying issues that obviously make them uncomfortable.
Admitting that, for example, they associate penises very strongly with maleness and heteronormative masculinity and that this keeps them from seeing a trans woman as female — or at least her genitals as female — would seem to put one at risk of being labeled a bigot, and this is why we so often see a defensive, hostile reaction where people claim they’re being “forced” to like trans women or to like penises.
It’s a symptom of a failure to recognize transmisogyny as the default in our culture rather than the exception, just like white people don’t tend to get that racism and white supremacy are a default in our culture. So just like many white people will say that they “just don’t find black people attractive” without owning the role that systemic racism played in shaping those attitudes, people tend not to recognize the role that similar forces play in shaping their attitudes towards gender, bodies, sexuality, and so forth.
The “I don’t want to be forced to date people I’m not attracted to” response is a result of a misunderstanding of the situation. No one is asking anyone to ADD feelings or attractions that aren’t naturally there, but rather to DEPROGRAM the problematic shit that has been absorbed.
Deep down, people recognize this shit which is why they avoid dealing with it so desperately. Trans women have such little power and influence that really the only consequence you’ll face for excluding us is going to be some posts on the internet and your own conscience. Why own up to your own transmisogyny when everyone wants to help you ignore it just like they do?
And then there’s always the “same-SEX attraction” bullshit to fall back on, trying to dismiss gender as irrelevant and redefine orientation solely in terms of physical sex, and that only in genital terms where, for example, your vagina is only attracted to other vaginas and that’s why a cis woman is attractive but an otherwise identical woman with a penis would not be, despite the fact that she only becomes unattractive AFTER you find out she has a cock, and a trans man is attractive when an otherwise identical cis man wouldn’t be, even when genitals are the only significant difference.
The catch, of course, is that virtually no cis people actually think that would be the only difference. The trans woman would OBVIOUSLY be less attractive because, you know, she’s “less of a woman”, but they don’t want to say that or add in the assumptions about appearance or how she thinks or feels or her relationship to her body. Similarly, they don’t want to address why a vagina magically cancels out all the things that would normally be unattractive about a cis man, or how this inherently implies that they view trans men as partially female or at least less male and that you’re basically treating his maleness as window-dressing over a less-threatening, not-capable-of-misogyny-because-shared-girlhood, “female-bodied man” or similarly transmisogynist bullshit.
Considering the role hormones play in human sexual differentiation, using biology as the primary justification for genital essentialist patterns of attraction doesn’t actually make very much sense. It would make far, far more sense to look at sex hormones themselves, particularly considering that, unlike genitals, we can actually perceive them in others even when fully clothed, and they have a tremendous effect on not just the appearance of bodies but also smell, taste, and so forth.
This rant brought to you by my frustration with transmisogyny and my complete lack of sobriety this morning. I know you don’t care, and I don’t care that you don’t care. I just wrote this to vent some of the frustration so as to not reach critical mass and crack the planet in two with my bitter trans dyke rage.
i agree with everything you say here. although transmisogyny is like, a systemic social problem, that doesn’t let individual cis people off the hook. their desire is still shaped by transmisogyny, they harbor transmisogynist beliefs and belief structures, and i am probably going to be more wary and distrustful of them.