What I do have is sympathy for those in my community who are still finding love—and who can’t even talk about it without risking being targeted by transphobic elements on the far-right.
Transgender women—and transgender people generally—do not need any more reminders that society hates us.
What I wasn’t anticipating were the countless men hanging around the hotel lobby, covertly trying to find a bedtime companion.
It was a point that required a thousand characters of text to express properly.
She was raising the controversial but obvious idea that, as humans, our romantic preferences and our prejudices don’t exist in separate bubbles.
Actress and star Jen Richards, for example, recalls spending a long, flirtatious flight with a man named Jim that ended in an invitation to have dinner.“One hour before we’re to meet at the restaurant, I get an email from Jim,” Richards wrote in an essay.
“It read, in its entirety: ‘I just Googled your name. I have no interest in that.’”The next time Richards met a man, she didn’t disclose, writing that it was “incredibly stupid and dangerous and, most of all, self-destructive” to not do so, but that she pushed forward anyway out of pain and anger—because the rejection from Jim had pushed her to a place where she “really didn’t care in that moment.”That is exactly the kind of raw, painful experience that transgender people can’t share publicly without feeding into the stereotype of the “deceptive transsexual”—or being accused of trying to shame those who would reject us based on our gender history.
Our rarity also makes the internet a lifeline for us—just as it is for any other minority—allowing us to connect with each other across great distances and feel less alone.
So it’s especially unfortunate that we can’t talk about a vast swath of human experience without being surveilled by people who are obsessed with hating us.I met a cisgender (i.e., non-transgender) woman in 2013—before I underwent sex reassignment surgery—and we have been exclusively together ever since.She was attracted to me—woman to woman—before I had a vagina and she’s still attracted to me now that I have one.It was obvious to me even then that these were not gay men. If these lobby men wanted to have sex with other men, Atlanta had over a dozen gay bars at their disposal—and yet they were here in this hotel on the edge of the city.But I never had the sort of experiences with men that transgender advocates like Laverne Cox or Janet Mock have written about because I was exclusively interested in women.Over a quarter of Americans on a recent survey said they wouldn’t even want to be friends with a transgender person—and only thirteen percent said they would be comfortable “engaging in a sexual act of any kind” with a transgender woman.