Natural Law

Are Your Sexual Preferences Transphobic?

(Pixabay)
Some people think so.

Last year, a study exploring “transgender exclusion from the world of dating” was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Of nearly 1,000 participants, the overwhelming majority, 87.5 percent, irrespective of their sexual preference, said they would not consider dating a trans person, “with cisgender heterosexual men and women being most likely to exclude trans persons from their potential dating pool.”

Of course, there is, to anyone not yet blinded by ideology, a very obvious explanation for this. One of endlessly fascinating sociological interest. However, the study’s authors aren’t interested in exploring this. They are interested, instead, in speculating about social ills such as “transprejudice,” “transmisogyny,” “masculine privileging,” “transgender exclusion,” and, one presumes, transphobia. From the study:

Even among those willing to date trans persons, a pattern of masculine privileging and transfeminine exclusion appeared, such that participants were disproportionately willing to date trans men, but not trans women, even if doing so was counter to their self-identified sexual and gender identity (e.g., a lesbian dating a trans man but not a trans woman).

Once one stumbles past the clunky writing and ideological jargon, what’s actually being noted here is the not-so-groundbreaking revelation that lesbians aren’t attracted to male bodies. In other words, that sexuality is tied up with the biology of sex.

Who knew?

Having missed this, presumably owing to her intense concern at unearthing latent bigotry, one of the study’s authors — Karen L. Blair, an assistant professor in psychology at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia — decided to expand on her findings in a blog for Cambridge University Press. (Blair, I might add for your interest, is also the author of “The Intimate Relationships of Sexual and Gender Minorities,” a chapter in The Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships.) She wrote:

While the study did not ask participants about their reasons for including or excluding trans persons, the authors speculated that exclusion was likely the result of factors ranging from explicit transprejudice, such as viewing trans persons as unfit, mentally ill, or subhuman, to a lack of understanding or knowledge about what it means to be a transgender man or woman, and therefore, what it would mean to date a trans person.

If the authors had bothered asking participants, however, they might have been surprised to learn that this is not generally the case. The authors might have discovered that, in fact, asking a lesbian “and why won’t you date a person with a penis?” is like asking a vegetarian “and why won’t you eat a formerly sentient creature?” Instead, though, Blair comes back with a prescription for what she assumes to be the root cause of trans dating woes. She writes:

Examining and following the overall societal patterns of including or excluding trans people within the intimate realm of dating can be used as an indicator of overall acceptance and social inclusion of trans people. In other words, it is one thing to make space for trans people within our workplaces, schools, washrooms, and public spaces, but it is another to see them included within our families and most intimate of spaces, our romantic relationships. We won’t be able to say, as a society, that we are accepting of trans citizens until they are also included within our prospective dating pools; at the very least, on a hypothetical basis.

So the solution to the problem is that we, “as a society,” spontaneously start fancying the sex that we don’t actually fancy. So, if you’re lesbian, that means men who identify as women. And if you’re a heterosexual woman, that means women who identify as men. In other words, the solution to one minority group’s personal problems is to politicize the bedroom at the macro level, to emotionally blackmail the culture, and to tell men and women, far and wide, whom they should and shouldn’t sleep with.

Okay, then. And what about during those intimate, private moments with our new romantic partners (whom we’re not actually attracted to)? Are we permitted, then, to broach the subject of biological sex? Absolutely not. On its website, Planned Parenthood explains that a crucial way to stamp out transphobia is to never “ask personal questions about a transgender’s person’s genital, surgery, or sex life.” Right. What could possibly go wrong?

Madeleine Kearns is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute. She is from Glasgow, Scotland, and is a trained singer.

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