AI: Trans Issues 101
(I know you're all probably still trying to stop watching George Takei's Happy Dance – thanks, Rachel – so I'll just jump right to it.)
Yesterday, a friend of mine was driving me to the bus stop because it was late and people were afraid I’d be eaten by bears if I walked there, when we passed by a transvestite prostitute (it was a very nice neighborhood, aside from the bears). Then, the following conversation happened:
Friend 1: Are men who have sex with trans people gay?
Me: Not necessarily.
Friend 2: Yes, obviously! If a guy has sex with another dude he’s gay and that’s it!
Me: But trans women are women. So they’re having sex with women.
Friend 2: There’s no turning into a woman. You were a guy, you’re a guy. Dressed as a girl or not.
Friend 3: Now there’s the bus stop.
So I had to leave the car, and the conversation, unfinished. And though I’m probably never talk about that with that specific friend again, trans issues are very new to my life, and I realize I may not always be the best at advocating for them. So I thought I might ask:
What approach do you recommend when trying to educate people about trans issues? How do you argue with the claim that trans women are really gay men in an informal, conversational way (especially when you’re somewhere you know trans awareness approaches zero)? Is there a better way to deal with this kind of situation?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.