Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shemales: Desiring Transgender through the Porn Industry

#TransLivesMatter, best of both worlds, chicks with dicks, Gender, ladyboy, nsfw, pegging, porn, Queer, Sex, Shemale, strap on, Tranny, Trans Theory, Transgender, transsexual, Transvestite, ts

"Is he gay!? Or courious!? 
Or just a freak!?"

Topix.com
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Defining Tranny-Chasers

“We’re the taboo, and where does taboo usually happen?" asks Wendy Williams, a trans performer. "Behind closed doors.” This is the reason, says Williams, that most of the consumption of Shemale porn and sex toys happens online. The viewers want that disconnect. They want the fantasy, not the reality. Ironically, Williams goes on, this separation is asserted by gay men as well as straight men. “Even if you go into the [gay] clubs, transsexuals and drag queens are primarily there for entertainment... It’s not really inclusive. We’re kind of in limbo, we’re in between both worlds.” In the end, gay and straight men work together to secure the patriarchy from trans bodies that they want to enjoy and discard. As such, they want Shemales to embody "the Best of Both Worlds," which is another way of the audience saying, they don't want trans women in either world. They want them to be an exception to the rules they set so they can do what they want without answering either to their homophobia or sexism - in their place, transphobia consumes them both. While in part 1 of "Shemales" I examined the way the Porn Industry Defines Transgender, in part 2, I will examine how the Porn Industry Defines Attraction to Transgender. As in the prior case, where the term Shemale functions as an understanding of transgender defined largely by the fantasies of straight cisgender men, here the attraction to trans persons is not structured through the loving (bisexual, pansexual, queer, gay, lesbian, straight) partners in the trans community but by those who define themselves as ardently outside the community and constitute their attraction as a form of fetishizing based in subjugation and shame.

Under names such as "Tranny Chasers," the consumers of Shemale Porn define themselves as separate from the partners of trans persons in ways that pathologize their own attraction yet displace this corruptions of desire by establishing trans persons as hyper-sexual and predatory in their entrapment of innocent straight cisgender men. This self-definition often occurs online. An illustrative example comes from the Encyclopedia Dramatica, which at once pokes fun at the online arguments around Shemales at the same time as it reports and imitates the genuine backlash the community receives. The Encyclopedia explains the focus on shaming or degrading trans women more than trans men as stemming from patriarchal sexism. According to such a definition, "Shemales" are "the inferior type of transsexual. Unlike their FTM counterparts who seek self improvement through means of masculinity, MTFs degrade themselves and all mankind by lowering themselves to the disgraceful level of a woman." This line of argument is unfortunately neither fictive nor new. Christian theology running back to Augustine's City of God testify that "hermaphrodites" or other person existing in a gender non-binary state should be assigned masculine because it is closer to human perfection. This follows an Aristotelian understanding of human generation wherein men were the Platonic ideal of humanity and females were males who were underdeveloped in the womb. As such, Shemales or trans women are doubly shameful. "It is popular opinion," continues the Encyclopedia, "that God made these people for the lulz of all mankind, as there is no bigger joke than wasting half your life as an emo faggot, only to some day, after a shitload of agonizing surgery, look vaguely girlish and have a fake pussy." Invoking divine as well as natural authority, the patriarchy positions trans women as existing outside even the subjugated position of women, put in a state of exception outside of human dignity and respect. In the end, the Encyclopedia concludes, "MTFs that are attracted to men are most likely just gays in total denial, and they are willing to go through all that surgery and change as their warped way to justify the fact that they crave hot cock." Thus both by nature and by an exemption from nature, Shemales both deserve and want subjugation by men. This puts the patriarchy in the position not of fulfilling their own taboo desires by executing the desires of Shemales, nature, and God. 

A key problem for the treatment of trans persons and the defaulting on the taboo treatment that accompanies Shemale pornography is a lack of terminology and critical thought on the attraction to trans persons. Broad surveys turn up a variety of affirmative language, such as pansexual, transsenual, transamorous, and trans* erotic. Then there are the technical terminology proposed by the sciences, such as gynemimetophilia and andromimetophilia. Here the language reflects an attempt to categorize trans persons as woman-like or man-like and the attraction to them to be the desire for artifice. For this reason, it has not caught on among either those in the trans community, their fans, or their partners. Other terms stress a commercial and media appreciation, such as transfan, admirer, and tammyfan. Others reflect the often aggressive mode of relations that many men assert when encountering trans persons, such as trans catcher, tranny chaser, and tranny hawk. The aggressive way that tranny chasers (those attracted to the fetish of trans bodies) has been well recounted in the trans and cross-dressing community. Helen Boyd attests to the social and political problems that tranny chasers cause for the trans community. "Tranny chasers are the big bugaboo in the crossdressing community, because their very existence suggests that crossdressers are not all as straight as they claim to be," attests Boyd. This relationship, however, can breed cooperation as the trans community is often in need of the social and financial capital the straight men offer. "Chasers are willing to give crossdressed men the kind of attention they desire, and that attention (a drink, a compliment) validates the crossdresser's experience, and completes the fantasy of feeling like a woman." These gifts come at a price. These real life bribes reflect the cultural work of Shemale Porn: trans persons are given a place in the patriarchy but only if they are willing to be defined by the fantasies, shame, and subjugating power of straight cisgender men.

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#TransLivesMatter, best of both worlds, chicks with dicks, Gender, ladyboy, nsfw, pegging, porn, Queer, Sex, Shemale, strap on, Tranny, Trans Theory, Transgender, transsexual, Transvestite, ts
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(Un)Desiring Transgender


To understand how "Tranny Chasers" fetishize and pathologize their own behavior and excuse it by pinning the blame on predatory hyper-sexual trans persons, it is helpful to close read the narratives that such Chasers and Reformed-Chasers tell themselves. Accounts of straight cisgender men living out their fantasy and then pathologizing trans women as well as their own attraction to them are common on the internet. A representative example of such a narrative comes from Reddit.com, where one user, "a 21 year old straight male," recounts having Been free from shemale porn for two years. Using the language of medicine, the goal of such narratives is openly to mark the attraction to Shemales (Trans women) as an illness that can be cured. "I've decided to do a post aimed at those who's recovering from watching / abusing transsexual /shemale / ladyboy porn," writes the author, promising to walk others through the ways he "rewired" his brain so that he no longer desired trans women. "[A] recovery towards your real sexuality is possible" he claims, appropriating the Trevor Project anti-LGBT bullying slogan, "it it gets better. Oh boy, it does." In fact, he comes close to affirming trans-orientation as a form of sexual identity. "I also want you to learn to accept yourself no matter what your true feelings are," he says. But he adds that these feelings should be abandoned as hopeless and kept in the past. "[F]eel no shame in the past. You're here for a reason, and that is because you've learned from the it" he concludes. "There's no shame in yesterday. There's only the hope of tomorrow." The structure of the reform story testifies to a narrative that imagines the attraction to transgender as an unnatural disease that is not inherent in straight men but imposed on them by Shemales must be overcome by shamefully eschewing the trans community after they have been thoroughly used and exploited. 

True to the cure-narrative form, this story begins by admitting (as if to a doctor or rehab discussion group) that the man not only desired trans women, but the porn revealed that he desired to become a trans woman. "Somewhere along the line I began to dabble in porn featuring transsexual women," he writes. "I won't go into too much detail, but I didn't really find it interesting to imagine myself being the one who does the penetrating - I imagined myself being the 'girl." He characterizes the shift to an open desire for and identification with trans women a dangerous "form of escalation." Over time, he began to admit to himself what was going on inside himself around 2010. Yet the author does not pin the trans-orientation as stemming from natural or social causes, but because of an illness and overuse of mind affecting drugs. "I doubted my sexuality very heavily towards the end of 2010, and as luck would have it , due to consuming various illegal substances I fell into a drug psychosis," he writes. As a result of his psychosis, he writes,"I believed myself to be gay, and I lost any form of sexual drive towards women." Eventually, he says, the psychosis gave him a new disorder, "transsexual feelings." The author would eventually transition. He lived "my fantasy of being a 'woman'" for three months (he stresses that he did this "in public") before being assigned to a "psychiatric hospital." As a result of the counseling, he believes he was cured of the attraction to men and blamed Shemale porn and trans women for screwing up his life.

At this point, the author began his campaign to undesire transgender and to help others reject the trans-orientations connected with Shemale porn as well. "Upon finding NoFap," writes the author, "I said something to myself: "Never again." This referred to all and any pornography concerning trangenderism." In line with the mission of such websites, the author promises that it is possible to "rewire" the brain to undo the effects of transgender. This is a process, he warns, that may take time but will be effective if readers embrace the unnaturalness of trans-orientation. "You have to understand that arousal at transgender pornography is a form of fetischism - an acquired taste that is originally not part of nature" he writes. Transgender and the attraction to trans bodies he says is "something that was not originally part of human evolution" because certain transition technologies developed to their current state only recently in the 20th century. As a result, "[i]t is then impossible to assume that mankind as a whole has adopted to these inventions and that arousal from transsexuals is a sexuality you are born with." Based on this belief that trans bodies are only possible with modern technology, it is in essence artificial, the author argues that attraction or identification with transgender is unnatural. This rhetorically positions trans bodies are outside of natural affections and justifies why innocent straight men would be interested in them: "it makes sense that the curious mind would check it out and eventually escalate to masturbating to it." This, he continues, does not mean that he wants to have sex with trans people in real life. He admits that there are those who date trans people and express genuine affection but that does not describe most of the audience of Shemale porn, "It is rare in the grand scheme of things." In fact, he claims, 90% of people who watch Shemale porn claims they would not have relations with real trans people.

The author works hard to re-narrate his life to excuse his identification as a trans woman and his personal (not merely virtual) attraction to trans women. He admits that he had two "close-up encounters with transsexuals" but claims that both were "purely accidental," he was "drunk" and was effectively "trapped" by the overly sexual trans women who (like characters in a porn) were brutishly desiring of his straight cis-gender attention. Indeed, his narratives work hard to dehumanize trans women in order to divest the stories of any sense of real attraction. The first trans woman he met in a club. He calls her "fairly unattractive,"  but adds that he "drunk and we somehow maked out," as though it was her sexuality and not his that instigated the encounter. How could he desire such a woman. "Her lips felt very strange; very dull," he claims. "The kiss was very... lacking." Not only does she lack true womanhood or manhood, his body somehow seemed to affirm his belief that trans women are unnatural. He admits that "I did get some blood pumping in my member, but I didn't even get a semi-boner... It was nothing like the kisses I've had with a biological woman. It just felt wrong." The second story is nearly identical. It also happened in "a club" suggesting that the author in fact frequented locations that featured trans women and that he knowingly sought them out. Nonetheless, he claims it was not him who instigated this encounter either. "A "girl" came on to me. We talked. I got a reaction down there, as one would while being touched by somebody who looks like a female" he defends. As if sensing a momentary break in his revisionist history, he adds that he "later found out what she was" and "Lost any attraction that I had for her in that instant." Now that he has rejected his past, he claims that he has returned to a natural disgust of trans people. "While it makes me feel uncomfortable, I feel neither lust nor need for me to seek out pornography or get in touch with a transperson in real life," he claims, completing his cure narrative as a reformed tranny chaser. Having used and abused the trans community, the straight male wipes his hands clean and leaves trans women to wallow in the pathological and marginalized place imagined for transgender in the patriarchy.

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#TransLivesMatter, best of both worlds, chicks with dicks, Gender, ladyboy, nsfw, pegging, porn, Queer, Sex, Shemale, strap on, Tranny, Trans Theory, Transgender, transsexual, Transvestite, ts,
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Disturbing Heteronormativity

In part 1, we found that Shemales are defined by the porn industry as an impossible contradiction of hyper-femininity and an aggressive penetrating phallus. Likewise, tranny-chaser society defines its attraction to transgender as a pathological interruption, that is nonetheless sustained within heteronormative culture. Rather than embracing pansexuality or queerness, heterosexuality remains seemingly secure and separate as part of the patriarchy by making Shemale Porn a place of exception where the rules and responsibilities of sexual relations do not apply. In other words, by marketing Shemales as "the Best of Both Worlds," the Porn Industry promises the straight world that it can have its cake and eat it too. This is an operation that is nonetheless run with the tension of anxiety. For many, the very possibility that gender is not so simple offers the terrifying possibility that their straightness may not mean what be what they imagined. For women such as WorriedCatherine, "Your Brain Rebalanced" offers an outlet for heteronormative couples to play out their anxieties about transgender. In a November 2013 post, Catherine posts that "it turns out that [her husband] has been spending a lot of time (an hour or two or three) many evenings a night watching transsexual porn." This behavior causes a crisis for women such as Catherine because they fear that their control over sexuality is not complete. "[H]e possibly has desires I can never even fulfil," Catherine laments. Many like Catherine point to Shemale Porn and other trans media as infecting heteronormativity, as  Netmums  and  Topix.com  threads evidence.  These posts worry whether this challenges her boyfriend's sexuality. "Now does make him wanna know what's its like to be with another man or shemale," wonders one. "Is he gay!? Or courious!? Or just a freak!?"

The power of the Shemale's exceptionality is epitomized by online traffic but is sustained even in face to face relations by eschewing these encounters to taboo spaces in clubs and bars where drug-use is common. For Catherine's husband, as with others, the virtual trans-orientation directed and defined his lived experiences. "He was a member of BDSM and transvestite and transsexual meeting communities," she writes, "and every few months he would even pay money... to visit mistresses or, particularly in the last year or so, pre-op transsexuals and/or transvestites for anal sex." As in the case of other narratives, excuses other than sexual orientations and the attractiveness of trans bodies are invoked. "He'd combine this with drug use," she claims. "[S]o he'd arrange it all online, go and get high and then act it out." Here, as in the previous self-narrative, the use of drugs is used to explain how a supposedly straight and healthy person could possibly be attracted to a trans person. "[H]e says that he's not attracted to shemales, that he couldn't even get an erection most of the time," claims Catherine. [I]t was more a compulsive and addictive activity, a search for a high like he would get with drugs. That the anticipation involved was akin to drug use and he explains the transsexual stuff by saying he just got dragged into more and more extreme things." Catherine's story affirms a growingly popular narrative of trans-orientation being an unnatural psychosis formed by drug use. This associates one kind of artificial, taboo state with transgender. Nonetheless, the damage is done, she claims. "That this is part of his sexuality now" she writes, "and it'll always be there." In the patriarchal structuring of space, the "there" of the transgender is always already "here" in the midst of things. While eschewed to the margins, the danger of transgender is that its influences run across the sexual divisions of place like a drug in the bloodstream.

The anxiety about Shemales who are everywhere and nowhere suggests that problem that is trying to be located is in the fantasies that work to organized transgender rather in trans bodies themselves. As a result, the search for trans bodies to blame runs amuck and sees transgender everywhere. In a warped self-reflexive motion, narratives turn trans-attraction into evidence of male homosexuality or trans-identification. "I've had a very similar thing happen in the past to me," writes one response to the stories. "After lots of investigating and questions I found out my boyfriend was gay. He now lives with a cross dresser. Chances are so is your man." Another responder to the Netnum post says that her husband also shared trans identification. A few weeks into the marriage, he confessed to her, "he liked to dress in womens clothes but that he absolutely didnt want to become a woman!" This woman also worried that the presence of Shemale Porn suggested that he may be gay. Each of these responses at once repeat the conclusions of the others and extend them with their own stories. The majority of responses end up taking some form of this reasoning: given the belief that trans women, including shemales, cross-dressers, and transvestites, are men and not women, then their partners must be gay. Their responses are damning of the relationship if not the partner. Numerous suggest that if the boyfriend can be cured of his attraction to trans women, their heterosexuality may stay in tact. "[T]his guy is sick as all gays," writes one response, "get him help'put a block on pc 'they make meds for ppl like this they need to take them." As the pathological language evidences, while the tranny chase that turns back on the tranny chasers may seem like self-reflection, bringing a suspension of tension, instead it is rather a folding back in on itself. The system becomes so paranoid of transgender that it turns its own fetishistic desire for trans bodies into the proof positive that transgender is shameful.

Despite the heated violence repeated throughout the culture of Tranny Chasers, at times these dialogs turn into sincere self-reflection as alternative models of gender and sexuality begin to break through the Shemale Hermeneutic with life-giving as well as dangerous possibilities. Such narratives suggest that an attraction to trans women should not be conflated with a lack of attraction to cis women, often citing personal experiences. "I have always been curious about transsexuals even to an erotic degree so long as they were passable and at least feminine," he writes, suggesting that his orientation towards the feminine was elastic enough to include a wide variety of women. "95% of men have looked at [trans porn] once," claims another response. "Doesn't mean he's gay." While these narrative do not embrace trans-attraction as legitimate, they nonetheless do not think the assumption of homosexuality needs to stem from an interest in trans porn. In this negative space, the lack of definition opens up onto a host of alternatives, some affirmative and others offering yet another way to objectify trans bodies establish a distance between the Shemale and her audience. "[P]erhaps he is just into the 'weird' factor rather than actually getting off on it," writes on post. "I mean people watch slasher/horrors without actually wanting to kill people." Such comparisons, having sex with a trans woman and murdering people reveal the shadowy background to which the patriarchy eschews all bodies and desires it pathologizes. It is the space where pathologized love looks a lot like murderous hate. It is the fantasies (evident in such games as Grand Theft Auto) where you can fuck someone, assault them, and leave without consequences. As the real life abuse and death of trans women attest, these fantasies practiced in games and pornography daily become real violences.

What then are the alternatives? As of yet, it seems as though Shemale Porn and Tranny Chaser culture cannot yet imagine in itself an arrangement where trans lives matter. From outside, people comment and educate. Rarely, the occasional voice chimes into the forums, such as one commenter who suggests that the surprised partner of the trans-oriented man openly and honestly explore these desires in the bedroom. "Buy a strap-on and surprise him," she writes. If such alternatives were ventured, straight cisgender men and heterosexual couples might begin to admit that the erotic pathology that they ascribed to trans bodies has more to do with their own violent desires rather than locatable in the trans body itself. Through these open dialogues and exploration of possibilities, hetero culture may begin to reform their own violence systems of desire and shame. This self-conscious self-attention will liberate the trans community from the shackles of having to embody the fantasies and fears of patriarchal heterosexual culture. As a result, more trans people will live safe from the violence of the Shemale Porn industry and Tranny Chasers. And in time, perhaps, there can be a reconciliation were former tranny chasers can engage trans bodies they desire with care and dignity. In this hoped for alternative, new relations can be formed and olds ones reformed. Shemales may yet be reclaimed as an affirmative gender construct and Tranny Chasing can turn into honest, safe, and respectful pansexual attraction.

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#TransLivesMatter, best of both worlds, chicks with dicks, Gender, ladyboy, nsfw, pegging, porn, Queer, Sex, Shemale, strap on, Tranny, Trans Theory, Transgender, transsexual, Transvestite, ts
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Return to Part 1:
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#TransLivesMatter, best of both worlds, chicks with dicks, Gender, ladyboy, nsfw, pegging, porn, Queer, Sex, Shemale, strap on, Tranny, Trans Theory, Transgender, transsexual, Transvestite, ts
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