This is a touchy subject but one that I think needs more visibility.

Is it transphobic to say that you wouldn’t date someone based on their genitals?

I belong to several LGBTQ groups on social media, but 2 groups in particular, there’s been a lot of discussions lately on this topic.

One group consists of mostly female identifying lesbians, the majority falling in the age demographic of 30 – 70 year olds. I have been so inspired by this group. They desire to educate themselves on LGBTQ issues, they don’t always agree but they are always respectful of one another.

The other day a discussion came up in this group about dating trans women. One of the members who identifies as a lesbian, recently started dating a trans woman and she found that many lesbians discounted her sexuality because of this. She was appalled and brought her question to our group wondering about others’ thoughts on this.

This opened up a significant discussion. There was a lot of questions and thoughtful responses.

I was thoroughly impressed with how this conversation played out. Although not everyone agreed, comments were received with an open mind and all members were considerate of one another.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case in a local group that I belong to. Lesbian erasure seemed to be the biggest concern amongst the members. This and other cissexist remarks seem to be common arguments used in defence against dating trans women.

Riley J. Dennis explains cissexism in the following video.

As a transmasculine person dating a cisgender woman who identifies as gay, my partner and I had many discussions regarding labels. Does dating me make her straight? Does it make me straight? In our case we agree that neither one of us is straight irregardless of what others may think they know about our genders. I am proud of my labels and want to hold on to them. I choose my labels. You choose your labels. Who you date doesn’t have to be defined by genitals.

As a newly out trans person, I have only recently met other trans people. I’ve also spent an exorbitant amount of time reading and watching videos of other transgender folks. And let me tell you, they are a diverse bunch! To say that you would base your preferences on genitalia alone is an absurdly simplistic response for such a multifarious group of humans.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and or experiences. Comment below. Let’s get talking about this stuff more and increase visibility and awareness!


9 thoughts on “Transphobia

  1. I think this is an interesting topic, especially since I’m ace and not interested in anyone’s genitals! But it seems like surely that’s an important part of a sexual relationship? If you’re sexually attracted to “x” genitals and someone has “z” genitals, I can see not being interested in a sexual relationship with that person. I don’t think *that* in and of itself is transphobic. But if you also wouldn’t be interested in a *romantic* relationship solely because of someone’s genitals, *then* I can see where a transphobic attitude could be coming into play.

    1. Hi socace! Thanks for sharing 😊
      Yeah, it’s definitely a complex issue. In my opinion it ultimately comes down to saying “I would never date a trans person” a statement like this is inherently transphobic because of the diversity of trans people, personality wise but also pertaining to genitals.

      1. If it’s phrased like that, sure it’s transphobic. But as you said, there is such variation among trans people, including in terms of genitals. Would it be transphobic if for example someone didn’t want to have a sexual relationship with a pre-bottom surgery trans woman, but would with a post-bottom surgery trans woman? That’s more how I was picturing the scenario. And I think it also depends on distinguishing between a sexual and a romantic relationship. I think there are legitimate questions of physical attraction for a sexual relationship, but not for a romantic one. This may be an opinion informed by my ace-ness, but you don’t need to be sexually attracted to someone to date them, so someone’s appearance/body/genitals shouldn’t be a concern in that case, but it could become a concern when entering a sexual relationship.

      1. I consider a romantic relationship to be one with deep bonds of affection and emotional intimicy, mutually considered to be stronger than or different from a platonic relationship.

  2. I’ve been in the LGBTQ community in a large city for nearly 10 years now. This is a huge issue and I agree that it needs more visibility and discussion.

    Here is the biggest problem…labels.

    Most lesbians I know would never consider dating someone who identified as trans and that’s a shame.

    The longer I’m a part of this community and the more people I interact with the more I’ve come to realize that labels get in our way. They separate us from each other and from our true selves.

    If you had asked me when I first came out if I would date someone who identified as trans I would have emphatically said no.
    But that response would have been coming from my own effort to define my own sexuality. Coming out is traumatic at best and very confusing. I didn’t want to consider fluidity in any fashion.

    Now after living as an out lesbian for several years I know that human existence is fluid, not just sexuality. I’m attracted to a human, a personality, a light from inside a soul, not just the body on the outside.

    It’s an interesting gsubject and I’m sure there will be all kinds of evolution in the way we define ourselves, but not until we let go of labels.

    1. I absolutely agree that labels cause more harm than good and yet I struggle with them myself at times. If I’m trans does that mean I’m not gay?? I like my labels but that’s because I’ve finally accepted who I am. But when labels stifle us or prevent us from loving others, they are no longer serving us.

  3. My problem would come in that I avoid the male smell, and penises. I don’t really care about the persons gender identification per say as I am more interested in their mind, sense of humour, and things like that. I could date them. I could build a close friendship with them. But if either of those two things exist with them, i’m going to struggle emotionally to connect deep enough to want to sexually connect with them.

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