The Hidden Life Of Trans Attraction Revealed In Daring “Baby Reindeer”

TLDR: A Netflix Limited Series sheds light on the sexually divergent nature of trans attraction and celebrates the main character as he embraces his authenticity. The author suggests the Netflix series manifests from push back against trans people seen in parts of the world and they suggest those who see the world similarly help create an even more supportive world for trans people.

Baby Reindeer is an amazing show. The Netflix Limited Series tells a true story of an aspiring comedian and trans-attracted Britisher who makes his way through his extreme (this is film making after all) self-loathing, which lives alongside an equally sensitive emotional state.

And while events that unfold in the series are intense and in some cases hard to watch (and well depicted) they ring accurate for me, both as a Transamorous person and as someone who assists trans-attracted men with casting off their self-loathing and embracing who and what they are.

In this post, I want to share experiences I’ve heard from my clients. I want to compare them to what happens in Baby Reindeer and celebrate this show as an awesome milestone, one many in the trans community have been hoping for for years.

Fiction based on truth

First, let’s get this on the record: Baby Reindeer is HIGHLY FICTIONALIZED. It’s also dark, gritty and intense. That said, I find it an extremely accurate portrayal of trans-attracted men. How can I claim that?

Because I’ve talked with many trans-attracted men. I’ve also assisted such men get over their self-hatred, accept themselves and find peace with what they are. I’m also transamorous myself.

Many of us share similar characteristics. Chief among those: either an intense self-hatred or shame. We also share extremely fine-tuned emotional sensitivity. I believe that’s because we are a blend of both male and female energies, just as many trans women are. Nearly all the men I’ve spoken to or work with try first making a relationship work with cis women. Those nearly always end in break ups or divorce, leaving the men lonely, alone and having to face head-on their trans attraction. Finally, at least some of the men at one time or another contemplated ending it all before they turned their self-hatred or shame into acceptance.

Donny, the main character in Baby Reindeer, experiences all of these characteristics. If you’ve seen the show, then, you know Donny hates himself in the extreme. But his emotional sensitivity equals his self-hatred. This explains why Donny ends up enabling Martha, the stalker. He can’t bear seeing her pain. So he reacts to her in welcoming ways. The resonance he feels mirrors Martha’s self-loathing. And hers mirrors his. In other words, they’re a perfect match.

Donny also fails at romance with his cis girlfriend although they remain close friends afterwards. Donny doesn’t try killing himself, but his sexual rampage after getting raped very much reflects suicidal sentiment. He acknowledges this in the series.

Donny’s story may be fictionalized, but parts of it ring true for many trans-attracted men.

Rings true for me too…

My experience mirrors some of this too. Though “hating myself” would have been an over exaggeration, I did find myself in fairly intense feelings of shame. But that shame didn’t keep me from acting out on my trans attraction, late at night in bars, through personal ads and dating sites and in random encounters.

Like Donny, I too am emotionally sensitive. These days I’d call it “intuitive”. It makes me great at what I do for clients. My feminine energy is quite pronounced too. When expressing myself to those with keen gaydar, I’m often mistaken as gay (instead of queer).

Can you see how that last part might cause trans-attracted men to double down on their shame? Trans-attracted men are not homosexual. But being mistaken as one can cause a guy to feel really confused…which is what happened to Donny by the way.

Relationships with cis gender women litter my history too. Not all were horrible. But all fizzled. Looking back it’s no wonder. Especially when contrasted with how it feels being with a trans woman.

Thankfully killing myself never entered the picture. Even back then, I knew I had more to do calling me. Nevertheless, it’s clear to me that my trans attraction created situations trying to get my attention. Thank goodness I listened. This blog would not exist without me having heard their call.

A supportive trans woman is gold

It’s clear then that many trans-attracted men find themselves wracked by shame. Shame plus fear create a potent cocktail. It will literally cause these men to hide in the shadows. And, since many trans women consider these men the bane of their existence, these men, like Donny, end up suffering alone.

What’s interesting: the moment Donny confesses to himself and others all he’s been hiding, that hidden life evaporates. His freedom becomes pronounced. Trans-attracted men don’t need trans women to support them. But it sure makes the coming out easier. Which is exactly what happened in Baby Reindeer when Teri showed up.

Donny meets Teri through a trans dating site. She’s the breath of sanity and fresh air in the entire series. Played extraordinarily well by trans woman Nava Mau, the character both supports and challenges Donny. In my opinion, her support goes to the extreme. I won’t spoil the story. You should watch it.

The point is, a lesson exists in the Teri character for trans women. Even though Donny doesn’t use Teri’s support to move through his shame, and eventually loses her, that needn’t be the outcome of every potential cis-trans relationship. Indeed, as I’ve written before, I know many long-term relationships between trans-attracted/transamorous men and their transgender lovers.

I encourage trans women that if they want a man, they might want to help a trans-attracted man overcome his shame. It’s not an easy task. Some men can move through the process easier than others. But ultimately, as with Teri, the choice is the trans woman’s. Not every girl’s up for that.

Revealing and soothing

Baby Reindeer offers so much illumination on the subject of trans attraction. I don’t think Richard Gadd, the show’s creator, intended it to be about trans attraction per se. The show mainly focuses on Donny’s downward spiral, which ultimately ends with upliftment, all at the hands of an intense, long-term stalking episode. Still, so many things about trans attraction get revealed in this show, I’d say it’s a must watch for anyone wanting to understand a not-well-understood phenomena happening around and within the transgender community.

More than that, watching the series can do two really powerful things. One, it can soothe the really strong aversion many trans women have about such men, through giving them a sense of emotional understanding for what these men go through. Two, it can help the men better understand and accept themselves. And all that happens in a show that is beautiful, clever, surprising and, yes, revealing.

Go watch it.

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