Q&A: “…why are lesbians who don’t want to have sex with women with gentalia that repulses them considered transphobic?”
Different anon but I have a q about something u said in the last anon q you answered. If it is okay for people to be repulsed by certain genitalia than why do lesbians who don’t want to have sex with women with gentalia that repulses them considered transphobic? This is something I’ve seen in a lot of places on tumblr. Can you speak more about being repulsed by certain genitalia being okay?
[this is in reference to this post]
*takes a deep breath, steadying themself for potential backlash from this post*
…the following is my opinion, but there is a difference between:
- defining your orientation based solely on the genitalia you do or do not find repulsive.* (ie. saying that you’re a lesbian or gynosexual because you’re repulsed by penises.)
- defining your orientation based on your attraction to X (Y, Z) gender(s) and then adding a “except trans X (Y, Z)” because you’re repulsed by A (B, C) genitalia. (ie. saying you’re attracted to men except for trans men due to vagina repulsion.)
- defining your orientation based on your attraction to X (Y, Z) gender(s) and then adding a “and pre-op/post-op trans X (Y, Z)” because you’re repulsed by A (B, C) genitalia. (ie. saying you’re attracted to men and pre-op trans women.)
- defining your orientation based on your attraction to X (Y, Z) gender(s), dating someone of that gender who just so happens to be trans and then on the Xth date finding out that that person has genitalia that you cannot help but be repulsed by and consequentially losing the sexual attraction you felt towards that person.
#1*, #2 and #3 are transphobic, imho. #4 is not.
in #1, the fact that the person experiences repulsion toward certain genitalia isn’t the problem. the problem is that the person is defining their attraction based on genitalia– something that its impossible to even know about a person upon initially being attracted to them without making assumptions. they’re also equating gender with genitalia. this is not only transphobic, it’s cissexist and dyadist. it erases or ignores the fact that not all women have vaginas. people who assume or believe this are liable to also erase a trans women’s identity as a woman based on her genitalia– or rather, the genitalia that that person assumes that trans woman has.
in #2, once again, the fact that the person experiences repulsion towards certain genitalia isn’t the problem. the problem is that that person is blanketly excluding certain trans people because of assumptions about their genitalia (and, consequentially, assumptions about a cis person’s genitalia). furthermore, in saying that you are attracted to men but not trans men, for example, that person is essentially othering trans men, treating them as if they aren’t in fact men– the very same gender that the person claims to be attracted to.
in #3, yet again, the fact that the person experiences repulsion towards certain genitalia isn’t the problem. the problem is that not only is the person grouping trans people with a gender that they in fact are not based solely on their genitalia (ie. grouping pre-op trans women with men), they’re also calling into question a person’s medical transition status and using it as if it’s part of an application process for whether that person can be attracted to them or not. not only is this transphobic and cissexist as hell, the trans person’s medical status is none of that person’s business. if you’re not attracted to certain genitalia fine, but do not expect a trans person to disclose their status to you as if submitting an application for your approval.
in #4, the person has recognized the trans person for the gender that they are and is not singling them out or othering them for being trans. they are acting upon the attraction that they feel towards that gender as they would with anyone else of that gender. it’s only upon becoming aware of the genitalia that that person has that attraction is lost. no assumptions about the trans person’s genitalia were made beforehand and the trans person was not expected to disclose their status before they were ready to do so. in this instance, genitalia repulsion did truly make the person stop being sexually attracted to the trans person, but it was not because of the person’s trans status. it was because of the genitalia and only the genitalia, something that is beyond either persons’ control and this is 100% okay, imho.
as i’ve tried to make clear, genitalia repulsion in and of itself is 100% okay. genitalia repulsion is not inherently transphobic, repulsion towards anything is something that a person cannot control; it is wrong to shame or guilt a person for something that they have no control over, be it genitalia repulsion or what gender(s) a person is attracted to. the problem occurs when assumptions are made about a trans person’s genitalia, when a trans person’s gender is ignored to instead focus on (assumed) genitalia, when a trans person is expected to disclose their status, etc etc.
i am all for people who experience repulsion taking measures to avoid whatever they find triggering or repulsive, but that does not have to come at the expense of being a decent human being towards trans people. as i’ve said, sexual attraction (at least initially) has nothing to do with genitalia in the first place. people do not have the ability to see through a person’s clothing in order to know what genitalia they have before attraction naturally happens on its own. people are responsible for being transphobic, genital repulsion is not.
*someone who defines their identity as asexual based on the fact that they find genitalia in general repulsive, to the point of identifying as asexual because they are uncomfortable with acting on any sexual attraction they may or may not feel or they lose what sexual attraction that they may have felt at the thought/sight of genitalia would not be transphobic or problematic, imho. in this instance, a wouldbe partner’s trans status and assumptions about genitalia are irrelevant.