A Political Trans-lesbian Manifesto
When a friend asked about my orientation recently, I said “I think I’m a trans dyke these days, but mostly out of spite!” I was joking, but it rubbed up against something super real. I am actually bi/pan sexual, but at the moment and for the foreseeable future I choose not to fuck men. In practice, I fuck almost no one. So it’s a bit academic :) But, despite this, I have a manifesto on why I don’t fuck men I’d like you to read:
Trans dyke to this day is a highly misunderstood identity. We’ve been doing gender != sexuality trainings since the 90’s but my honest feeling is the straight world and parts of the trans world don’t get it. Why would anyone assigned male and attracted to women ever want to change their gender? (apart from a sexual fantasy) Some days even I’m not even sure why I need to be this way. What I can tell you is that 2001 I watched But I’m A Cheerleader and I suddenly saw a relationship that felt like what I wanted, that I wasn’t sure even existed. It was about cis women. I was trans. I didn’t care. It was confirmation of an intuition I didn’t understand and very much would have liked to get rid of but couldn’t. At 23, I decided I would manifest a trans version of that into reality on the strength of my willpower. Being a trans dyke has been my north star ever since.
The most visible trans dyke in the world is a racist, misogynist, homophobic right wing piece of shit who pretends not to be gay. You know who I’m talking about. My particular ire towards Caitlyn stems from the fact that we know she’s gay, yet she’s in the spotlight being shitty while passing herself off as hetero. If the most visible trans dyke is a creepy sexual predator, no fucking wonder people don’t get us.
As a trans dyke I’ve engaged in a life long project of self-modification to make myself palatable to others. There are upsides to this. I approach every social space or romantic encounter on the assumption people might experience me as a dude. So I try to do every single thing one should do to not be creepy. That’s made me a better person. I have darn good rules around consent, direct communication, respect, and friendship. I’ve remade my body and my mannerisms (though not my voice — haha) to project a person people might want to be with. That’s made me a lot happier cause I like that person too. And in the process of trying to blend in with the straight girls, I’ve discovered I’m actually quite attracted to men.
BUT sometimes it’s gone too far. That’s why I choose not to fuck men for now. 8 years ago, I began a toxic relationship with a man partly (though not wholly) in an effort to help the world “get me”. I lost much of my thirties to this relationship. And it felt just as much like trying to force myself into a box as the hetero relationships I’d been in before transition. In those first few months, when I was genuinely happy in that relationship, the added plus was how delighted everyone seemed that I was more easily digestible. Even queer people were like that, since my partner was a trans guy. Cause of this man I had way more cache in lesbian spaces (!). Without getting into specifics, that relationship turned out utterly terrible. The burn of that cemented my decision
So yea, I’m a goddamn trans dyke and I don’t fuck men, even though I’m attracted to them. I wish I could get as excited about fucking men as other bi trans women do, but the flame is gone. I’ve had all the validation I can get there. Dudes still get me hot and bothered occasionally, but I want what I’ve always wanted. Which is to be unapologetically a trans lesbian.
Hat tip to Jade Matinez Phoenix for the hashtag