Hi there. I’m Pandora, and for the next little while I will be ranting and raving about sex.
That’s right! Sex! Sex sex sex. Sex. Sex with yourself, sex with partners, sex with accessories, sex with love, sex without love, sex with several partners (maybe even all at once!) By the way, did I mention that we’d be talking about sex?
I’m a thirty-year-old trans dyke living in Toronto, ON, Canada. I’ve been trans-identified for as long as I can remember, which is at least 26 years. I’ve been dyke-identified for the past couple of years, but that’s mostly because I was either presenting as a hetero (but queer) guy or I was trying to conform to the hetero standards within trans communities. I’ll write more about that some other time.
I identify as a sex radical. This probably means exactly what you think it means: in a nutshell (ha ha ha), I think that society is fucked in the head when it comes to sex. We can’t talk about it, we can’t look at it, we can’t even do it if it falls outside of a very narrow range of what is acceptable. To me, sex is about fun. For me it has nothing to do with making babies, though for some people it does. I’m into sex because I enjoy it. I like having screaming orgasms. I like giving screaming orgasms to others. I like touching and rubbing and toys and emotional contact and love.
Anyway, my qualifications for talking about sex are probably no different from yours. I like sex. I’ve had sex in the past. In spite of my anatomical freakiness (breasts and a penis) I continue to have sex. I’m also an academic wannabe. Oh, and I have a really big mouth and for whatever reason feel like I should talk about sex in public. So here we go!
I use the phrase “trans sexualities” a lot. This has NOTHING to do with transsexuality. Rather, I am taking the new term “trans,” which can be applied by any person to themselves if they feel like they are gender transgressive in any way. I then tie “trans” to “sexuality” to make the point that we as transfolk have a separate set of issues when it comes to sex. And I think it’s kinda witty, if you’ll allow me to pat myself on the back for a moment.
My observation about trans people and sex is that, as far as society is concerned, we fall into one of two categories: we’re either asexuals or we’re perverted freaks, Sometimes we’re both. (Don’t ask me how that works; I’ve long since given up on trying to understand pretty much any mainstream notion of what I should be.)
Let’s take asexuality first. Asexual trans people are people like Christine Jorgensen, people who were presented as sad figures to be pitied, people who will die lonely because, after all, who would want to fuck a trans person? Often trans guys fall into this category too.
My best friends’ parents couldn’t understand when I was outed to them. In their minds, one result of my transition would be that nobody would ever love me again. I think this was related, at least in part, to the fact that I choose not to have surgery on the bits between my legs. To them, this ambiguity was an insurmountable point. I was a woman on the outside except for my hoo-hoo, and with a hoo-hoo, who would interact sexually with me as a woman? They couldn’t see how anybody would be interested in me because of this anatomical freakishness.
And that’s a good segue into the perception of trans people as sexual freaks and perverts. Open almost any weekly entertainment paper in almost any major city in North America and there will be a personals/services section dedicated to “she-males.” (God, how I hate that term.) Alternately, you could go to the movies and watch something like Silence of the Lambs, a film in which the abusive, psychotic villain was trans. Let’s be honest here: the character was trans only because it made him seem more deranged. There were the obvious sexual overtones to his presentation. To the rest of the world, there’s nothing more disturbing than trans people being sexual.
You’ll notice that there’s no room for us, the well-adjusted trans people who like to have sex. That’s what I’m going to be doing here: working to create a space in which we can be sexual.
Society needs to rethink its ideas about what gender is, how it should be expressed, and how it can be played out in sexual arenas. We as trans people need to stop feeling ashamed of ourselves and our desires just because the world around us tells us we should. Notwithstanding the practical aspect of finding partners (because I’ll touch on that in a later column), there’s no reason we shouldn’t be out there with the rest of the world, getting our rocks off while wearing grins as big as rainbows. Or something like that.