No one is entitled to intimacy.
Let me reiterate: No. One. Is. Entitled. To. Intimacy. Of. Any. Sort. Nor. Are. They. Obligated. To. Provide. It.
Even during a relationship, there should never be an obligation to provide intimacy. Every person should have the right to determine what they are comfortable with both inside and outside of a relationship at any point in time. Humans on the whole are not static, after all, and even within the span of a few minutes a mind can go from being a-okay to stormy which is something a person truly interested in the company of another should be considerate of. After all, all types of relationships should be based upon the compassion for the other being. Otherwise, it’s a selfish endeavor by a person unworthy of attention.
Why even discuss this? It’s a common tactic of reactionaries which appropriate the label of “feminist” to dismiss trans people as perverted violators of consent. The first claim is that trans people are forcefully erasing other identities based on sexual activity (think: lesbian and gay) because trans people do not have the “right equipment” to be either:
Lesbian, if they are a trans woman (whether they be a dyke or a femme).
Gay, if they are a trans man (whether they are masculine or feminine).
Second, it’s claimed that trans people decry “transphobia” at anyone who is not interested in being intimate with them. As someone that’s had her fair share of propositions for dates or sex, I find this hard to believe. I find it even harder to believe when I consider the experience of friends dealing with similar situations. I will not say I have never met a transgender individual that didn’t handle rejection well and went too far. Such instances are few and far between, however. It’s hardly a representative sample of transgender people, very much unlike the pervasive nature of consent violations by cisgender males. In fact, it could be argued that all transgender people are as acutely aware of rape culture as cisgender women as rape is often used as a “corrective” tool against people LGBTQIA+. Not only that, but the rift between a trans person’s assigned gender and their natural identity forms very early on in their life leaving them exposed to two different sides:
1) The side they are forcefully made to identify with and act out.
2) The side they are internally comfortable with which they are forced to observe and absorb from a distance.
In the case of trans women, this means being involuntarily subjected to misogyny as any other woman, but from men that think you agree all while one’s brain is screaming about being the target of their aggression. Many trans women find themselves in the predicament between standing up for themselves and other women directly to people that are often more powerful than them (testosterone levels are often lower for trans women) or staying silent and being complicit with the violence being spewed. Is it the fault of the woman for being caught between a rock and a hard place? Or is it the fault of patriarchal ideals which tell men it’s okay to denigrate and humiliate women? To fantasize about committing violence and doing so? In my opinion, which is worth little in this world, it is the latter that is the problem, but often these reactionaries place the blame on the trans woman for finding herself in such a situation.
I know that, for myself, I found solace only in friendships with other women. The men I befriended were few and far between, and they were almost exclusively liberal leaning despite my conservative Republican nature at the time. They were the only men I felt safe being around, and I vetted such friendships like a hawk as anyone else would. I was never one to be a welcome mat for such hatred against people I was a part of, and I experienced the gamut of all the ways the men still clinging to misogyny would show you not to speak up or act out, but I digress.
What I have found in my many years of studying human anatomy all the way from the Planck scale to the atomic to the cellular to the macroscopic is that there is no one way to be a particular sex. There is no one way to be a particular gender. There are often no indicators of what outcome a conscious being will end up with, as well. Thus, there is no right or wrong way to be a lesbian or gay. Despite the argument that “there’s only penis and vagina and that determines who you are,” nature simply does not agree with such black-and-white view. This false dichotomy would decide that a baby born with dual-X chromosomes (“female”) but an SRY gene within them (genetic code for phalloclitoris differentiation into a phallus) could never consider herself a lesbian if she chose to only be intimate with other women despite her genitalia. While a reactionary will argue that this is not possible because she has a penis and that “she has a genetic disorder,” that is an irrelevant moral judgment based on nothing objective. Claiming a deviation from the average is “negative” in some way is more of a reflection of the claimant’s mindset about the world, that it should be as they perceive it rather than what it truly is, more than anything else.
Thus, a woman with a larger than average clitoris which likes other women is still a lesbian once you push the moralistic view aside to embrace the diversity of nature. Claiming they are neither woman nor lesbian – or in the case of trans men claiming they are neither man nor gay – does show a lack of complete understanding regarding the possible outcomes for women and men which is very much an attempt to stereotype both types of people to fit a very narrow world view for the sole purpose of avoiding a perceived threat. No one would argue that you’re obligated or required to be intimate with them in either case, but most well-meaning individuals would argue that you should be willing to listen to more than what you were taught many years ago when science was even less experienced than present day. No one would argue that you must be intimate with trans lesbians as a cis lesbian, but everyone familiar with such information would certainly say that you should be willing to examine your own beliefs right down to the very root of it. Any compassionate and logical mind would argue that you should be willing to trace every bit of such a belief down to the core to see whether or not it has root rot or not.
How do you know if you’re being transphobic if you’ve only considered it from your own, possibly even extremely limited, perspective?
You can’t know. You don’t know. But do you care to know? Do you care to find out? Do you care enough about other people that are not exactly like you to ensure you are the best version of yourself? That’s the real question – not whether you’d have sex with a trans person.
**I do apologize that this was written in a very binary manner, but it was done so for the sake of brevity and clarity. You can chew me out in private messages if you’d like. ❤