While I’m working on other projects, I’m going to share a story this morning. So, occasionally, I troll the craigslist forums looking for troglodytic brilliance only created by its regular denizens. I love me some “rants and raves” for the sheer butt-hurtedness of those who cannot accept some mundane thing like Pedestrians or wish to offer suggestions for better Restroom Conduct. Thanks, people! Also, I’ve come to look at ads posted by mens who are seeking the company of women of a similar stripe as myself. Only rarely is there any long-term relationship sought, which is fine, but the language used by posters seeking more immediate and decidedly temporary contact is telling of the lack of understanding that plagues many interactions between men and women.

I’ve come to notice that men and women seem to have a very limited understanding of each-other, often supported by (and/or influenced by) the prevailing culture. In general, women still have the fairy-tale dreams of prince charming and royal weddings and finding a man who knows how to navigate her like a riverboat captain on the Mississippi. Men, on the other hand have an understanding that these things are expected of them, but find little by way of training in these fields. Porn apparently has a huge influence on some men’s idea about how sex is supposed to work, which is just sad.

Personal confession: human sexuality fascinates me. The degree to which it permeates our culture is at once understandable considering its biological and psychological importance and surprising in its myriad expressions and outlets. Porn is one of those things that I don’t understand very well, yet, though it is all around us. It is a form of entertainment, a way to develop and fulfil fantasies (vicariously), and in some ways an instructional guide. I know men who have primarily had porn as their basis for understanding adult relations between the sexes. These relationships are not surprisingly shallow and contain an undercurrent of misogyny and inappropriate sexuality, as most porn that I have seen demonstrates. Now this is all based on personal observation, and so is anecdotal and skewed given my history, and the socioeconomic strata I have/do occupy. Also, this is a blog, and not a peer-reviewed journal, so I can say whatever comes to mind. Yay for me!

Being a transwoman, I am interested in how trans people are represented in media and how that is expressed in society. Scanning the posts listed under “m4t” in the craigslist personal ads (meaning man for trans, there is no w4t, interestingly enough), one is struck by the language used to call out for a hook-up: “tranny,” “ladyboy,” “sissy bottom,” “shemale,” and the like are in the titles. Type any of those things into google, and you get a LOT of porn links. Much like straight porn, tranny porn typically paints women as sex-crazed nymphos who either deceive straight men or dominate them forcing their ambiguity and maleness on guys who lose all inhibitions after a few feeble protests. To be fair, there are examples of men seeking the affections of a transwoman, specifically. But the titles and language of the porn and on associated websites use negative epithets like those previously mentioned, and others more specific to trans people in other countries and cultures. These terms also show up in popular media from online forums to magazines and TV. Jerry Springer comes to mind for his exploitation of our “otherness” on his sensationalistic and loosely scripted talkshow. More recently, popular shows like Jersey Shore have let the “t-word” slip. Last year, Susan Sarandon and RuPaul among many others spoke up for the use of the word “tranny” because they saw no harm in it. Drag queens and the GLBT community do use the word with some impunity much as the “n-word” is used in the African American community. The trouble is, that these words are also used by the people who do us harm, and I would argue that the porn industry is doing us harm, likewise.

So here is the point of my rant: the seeking of sex on craigslist is what it is, but those looking for a good time with transwomen are fairly obviously influenced by misleading and mischaracterisation of the object of their desire, and therefore, ill-prepared for such an interaction. To be sure this also happens with men seeking women for some no strings attached gymnastics in general. But just as trawling for women is not likely to get any responses if the words: bitch, ho, tramp, slut, and all those other little pet names are used in a plea, using derogatory language associated with transwomen will likewise produce few answers.

So, I offered my own, very informative and helpful ad, which didn’t last 12 hours before being flagged “inappropriate” in a section that openly solicits “some one who wants to be fucked.” Maybe I was too snarky. Maybe it was because I was not offering my glory holes up for their personal pleasure. Maybe it was a weinie-shrinker for guys looking to bring their unrealistic fantasies to fruition. I’ll post it here for your judgement.

This ad is aimed at all of you trannychasers and bisexual men out here cruising for a: “ladyboy,” “shemale,” “tranny,” or whatever word you use to describe a transgender woman, crossdresser, or transvestite.

That’s some weak sh!t, probably coming from watching too much porn. Here’s a hint for you: transwomen (and transmen) are people, not fleshlights, cum-dumpsters, or inflatable toys. We are real, and not all of us come from Brazil and have huge silicone-injected booties, and live only to give you a hard time *ahem*.

If you’re looking for a sex worker to help you with a fantasy, be a little more clear on that. Due to the staggering rates of unemployment and few legal protections from discrimination in the workplace (except in Bloomington proper and Indy), there are transwomen who work in the sex trades to make ends meet and for the medical costs of transition. They would probably love to help you out, as long as you are respectful and generous.

If you are honestly looking for a long-term relationship with someone who is navigating transition, get a f^cking clue, please. By putting into the body of your ad any of the aforementioned words, you are showing your ignorance of your target audience. So, heregoes:

Transwomen are women. For whatever biological reason, here we are with female-wired brains and male bodies that many are seeking to fit our identities. This is true for the group known as transsexuals. Intersex people are also born in-between sexes, but this term refers to those with other physical conditions and could be chromosomal, developmental, or metabolic in nature. It is possible to be both intersex and transgender, it’s not twice the fun, however.
Crossdressers and transvestites are different groups, they are men who dress in traditionally female clothes for various reasons of their own. I cannot speak of their experience because it is not my own. Gay men are men, if you want a gay man, you are probably bisexual or gay, and can stop reading this now and just go to the M4M section. Still here? Good, let’s proceed…

Calling us by the epithets we most often hear before someone is going to attack or belittle us doesn’t make transwomen get all hot and bothered for you, just like calling us b!tch or ho or stupid or garbage would be a huge turn off. Who knew? All those porn movies would suggest otherwise. I would posit that a person who uses such language is too immature to enter into a relationship with anyone, let alone a member of a marginalised and often victimised subset of the population. But maybe all of you are scary creepers who just want to pick on a vulnerable population.

It’s 2012, do your homework before it’s too late! There is this thing out there called Google, it’s big, and can be really misleading, but after some time spent navigating it, you will come to realise that Google is a modern day Library of Alexandria. Pretty cool. Now, once you’ve found it, type in “transgender,” and don’t go to the photo section, that way be monsters. Then, look for anything that looks boring (like this) and may lead you to form new appreciation for people. That’s what you’re looking for. Read. Lots of these sites have pictures, too.

Really, guys, I know you’ve fallen to cruising CraigsList for some action, but you still need game if you want to succeed here, otherwise it’s back to the booths in the “bookstore” for ya. Get off of 4chan and redtube and hottrannies4u or whatever and join the real world. Your hands will thank you for the rest, and you might actually learn to form fulfilling relationships with some decent people.

BTW, as an added bonus for sticking with this so long, I just want you to know that most transsexual women who are on hormone therapy have a MUCH reduced sex drive, and probably are unable to get or maintain an erection. Also, blocking the testosterone usually means that there is little to no ejaculate should you be suave enough to elicit an orgasm in her. You will not be bathing in trannybatter, most likely.

I did get a couple of “right on”s from men before it was taken down, and I was also solicited for two rim-jobs, oral sex, and a right good fucking. I’m so flattered! And people ask why I am not into dating or hooking-up. This is the festering, weed-choked pool from which to select a frog, and interested women haven’t been much better. Meh, I have a child, and I do not want her to be exposed to that kind of person and I’m not interested in that kind of relationship.

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