[editor’s note: this article may be triggering for some transwomen]
Trans-attracted men and transgender women: “passing” brings with it, under its flabby underbelly, a host of stories deserving scrutiny. Remy and I talked about this recently on our Facebook Show IN YOUR FACE.
We know there are strong currents-of-thought driving both trans women and men, who are attracted to transwomen, to pursue “pass-ability” either as a way to soothe feelings of dysphoria (for the women) or to find that woman who you’re attracted to (for the men) who won’t embarrass you in public. And while we 100 percent support trans women seeking to soothe dysphoria, men who pursue “passable” women to soothe insecurity can benefit from self-examination.
For the women who are NOT suffering dysphoria, but pursue “passing” for social acceptance: Could there be yearning on your part to seek social approval as a way to soothe insecurities of being trans? If so, is it possible to create within yourself a self-referential sense of security, i.e. drawing a sense of security from your own self-image, rather than a self-image confirmed by society through “passing”? Something to consider there.
For the men: if your desire to be with a transwoman who “passes” stems from your own discomfort with being known as a “trans-attracted male”, that’s a story you’re going to have trouble with. For the women you attract, and the dynamics that may ensue will create a lot of drama for you and her. We spent a lot of time in our show talking about this. It may be worth checking that out, then seriously ask yourself a few questions:
- Why am I wanting a “passable” transwoman?
- Is it possible for me to enjoy, along with my partner, the eventual unfolding of my partner’s developing feminine beauty as she pursues her transition?
- When I see a guy with a trans woman I recognize as trans, how do I feel about him? What is my emotional reaction?
- What would being seen with a “non-passable” transwoman say about me?
- What am I thinking society is thinking when I’m out with a trans woman who may or may not pass?
- What does being with a trans woman, who doesn’t pass, say about me?
- If I can see non-passable features of my girlfriend, can society? Does that matter?
- What would it take to date a girl in very early stages of transition? Am I willing to invest the time to grow with this girl as she grows into who she is?
- What is it about my girlfriend looking like a cis-girl that is important to me?
- Am I buying into society’s definition of gender “normalcy” by pursuing a “passable” trans woman, and if so, how is that disempowering me and limiting my choices in love and other areas, such as freedom of expression?
Answering these questions honestly for one’s self can produce illuminating information, information that could shed light on disempowering stories, thereby giving you opportunity to change them. And in the changing of your stories, you will discover new, unforeseen possibilities emerge in your relationship experiences as well as the rest of your life.
We covered a lot of this in our show. Take a listen.
2 Replies to “10 questions for trans-attracted men about “passing””
That’s a really interesting way to look at things. For whatever strange and immutable biological reason, I am attracted to femininity. That doesn’t mean social feminine or cisgendered feminine standards – however, I must feel that my partner is leaning more towards femininity than masculinity to be attracted to her. I wish I could help the way I feel – but I cannot change the way I am hardwired (at least I don’t believe I can?)
With that being said, if I truly loved someone in transition, I imagine I could be more patient – as mentioned – as I wait for their femininity to come out. I’m sure any transgendered person would attest to the fact that it takes many years to achieve the desired “passing” effect of hormones and learning how to “become” the other gender.
We appreciate your honesty. Others reading your comment will find it cathartic and deeply helpful.