I’m polyamorous and bisexual. I’m in two serious relationships right now, one with a woman in the early stages of MTF transition, one with a man who has recently discovered that he is a transvestic fetishist.
His discovery has led me to realize that I’m attracted to non-gender-conforming people. I think androgyny and genderfuckery are hot.
That kind of worries me. Partly, I’m worried that if I tell my girlfriend about this, she’ll think that I’m attracted to her because I see her as between genders somehow, and not as a woman. I do see her as a woman, but maybe I wouldn’t be as attracted to her if I wasn’t attracted to gender nonconformity, and that makes me feel guilty.
I also feel guilty about the attraction in general; am I “othering” or “exoticising” non-gender-conforming people? That’s bad, right? –Gender Guilt
Okay, Gender Guilt, I have a question for you: what are your three favorite things about each of your partners? That is, what would you say are the primary reasons you are in relationships with these people?
I’m guessing that “Their gender nonconformity makes me happy in the pantsal region!” is not on either of those lists. If your attraction to either of them were just sexual, I suspect that you wouldn’t feel nearly so bad about it. Either way, though, I think you are being too hard on yourself, and here is why.
Human sexuality is, as the esteemed Dr. Sweets would say, a gem with innumerable facets. If genderfuckery turns you on, and you treat your partners with consideration and respect, how could that possibly be a bad thing? Do you think your partners would prefer that you didn’t find them hot?
Several months ago, a friend linked me to a post on a fat acceptance blog where a writer tackled a similar issue. Fat people, and fat women in particular, are conditioned to view their bodies as objects of ridicule and disgust. But there is some pretty uncomfortable tension between that conditioning and the blanket messaging concerning sexual objectification that all women constantly receive. Consequently, when a fat lady finds a dude who’s totally into her, she may worry that he is “just a chubby chaser” or what have you. Internalized misogyny and fatphobia can make it really difficult for them to accept their partners’ attraction as valid and validating.
That is some kind of bullshit, right there.
For the average self-aware human, there is no reason whatsoever that one’s sexual choices or paradigms of attraction deserve higher scrutiny just because they tend to fall a little ways away from what is conventional or “proper.” It is fine and healthy and commendable to worry about whether or not you are treating your partners right. But worrying about whether your attraction to them is “appropriate” is, almost paradoxically, an expression of internalized cissexism. I know it’s way easy for me to say this, but you and your partners will all be much happier if you can learn to let that go. Your girlfriend especially needs your love and support right now much more than she needs for you to worry about the political implications of your attraction to her.
TL;DR version: Your kink is okay, I promise.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look for more cosplay photos of Loki as a lady.
Featured image found at http://www.wet-llc.org