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On the men who fancy us

Many continue not to be accepting of the love between transgender women and their men. Sass Rogando Sasot takes a closer – and personal – look.

Let the people who never find true love
keep saying that there’s no such thing.
Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.”
Wizlawa Szymborska

I’ve been meaning to write this article for a long time. The first itch to pen this came in 2002. I was in Sydney to participate in the Global Human Rights Conference organized by Amnesty International-Australia for the Sydney Gay Games.

Together with the guy I was dating at that time, I was interviewed for a documentary by one of the media covering the Sydney Gay Games. We were interviewed separately. After the interview, my date and I found out that we were asked a common question, which was about his attraction to transsexual women. He was asked to explain what made him attracted to transsexual women and whether he was gay, while I was asked a more prying one.

“Is the attraction of men towards transsexual women just an effect of the influx of ‘shemale porns’? Is this attraction just an expression of hypersexuality?”

“Maybe,” I answered. “But it’s hard to pinpoint a particular cause because attraction and desire are very complex processes. The question shouldn’t be why these men are attracted to us, but why is society forcing us to justify this attraction in the first place. I feel the question arises because people have already pre-judged that being sexually or romantically attracted to people like me is perverted and immoral. The motive is not to understand but to find feed for the initial judgment.”

Then the itch to pen this article came again last year.

On August 11, 2009, a nasty comment was posted by someone named “Tranny Chaser” on a blog entry at It was specifically addressed to Naomi Fontanos, the current chair of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), and to me, with a specific instruction that the administrators of this blog should make it sure that we would be able to read this:

To Sass Sasot and Pau Fontanos:

Please be sure they read the following:

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No matter how you put it you still men, When are you going to understand? You are nothing but a sex fantasy, nothing but an excuse for those men who are afraid to accept they are gay, they feel better fucking a man with makeup and tits, somehow inside their mind it makes them feel less guilty. GET IT? you are nothing but a fantasy, a toy. A way to deal with homosexuality without feeling 100% guilty, nothing but whores looking for acceptance, you dont believe it? just ask yourselves how many men actually talk to you just because of who you are? The truth is they talk to you because they want to fuck something like you, because they are curious how you look naked and how you suck dick and fuck, they are curious how your tits grow, look and feel (“are those real”?) sounds familiar? they want to have a fantasy they saw in a movie, Those are just a few of the real reasons and not the ones you tell yourselves. Some of us will tell you, you are beautiful and many other crap because we know that will take you to bed with us maybe not right away but one thing for sure, it will be fast enough, and lets be honest, when bullshit is fed to you, you will give away your ass fast, that’s why here we call you “the easy bullshit one nightstand whores” because that’s what you are. No matter how you put it, you can keep telling yourselves lies, at the end just look in a mirror and look down. What you see? a dick you stupid whores. I know a couple of you, I wont tell if is in person or via internet, lets just say soon I’ll be getting closer or more friendly to one of them so we can become “friends” and then “intimate”, why? well is typical within the Philippine transgenders when they meet some one they like to give their ass fast, I guess not having self-respect and been a whore is a part of your culture, thats why us western guys love to make “friends” with asian transgenders, so easy to fuck when you tell them what they want to hear, so I’m telling you, you so damn easy to fool when bullshit is fed to you and a a nice picture is given, so now I’m among you and I’ll keep my eyes on you. My objective is to show others how whores you all are, activists, divas or not and that you shouldn’t go around pretending to be what you are not. I’ll be around my dear friends. At the end we both are going to have what we want, you will have the best sex of your lives and I’ll have the proof I want.


This emotional-assault came at my most vulnerable time: I was at the most fragile stage of nursing a broken heart. The threat in this comment made me somewhat paranoid for some time. It made me distrustful of any man who tried to befriend me or even showed interest in me. But in the end, my relentless faith in the benevolence of life and in the eternal presence of love in our hearts stood triumphant.

This article is an expression of that faith and a way of exorcising myself of my own fears.

STRAP2Bashing men is such a seductive activity, specially after an encounter with a man who was born out of the anus. Moreover, the meme that “All men are pigs!” is a strong reinforcing factor for us to engage in this activity. Having three brothers, having studied in an all-boys schools, having guy friends, and having played the field for a while makes me confident to say that I’m adequately familiar with men. If there’s anything I can definitely say about men, it is the fact that men, just like other people of any gender, are very diverse. An encounter with “a particular man” cannot be used as an overarching statement about “all men.” And the same can be said for those men who fancy transwomen.

There are three persistent memes about men who fancy transwomen. First, is the view of transwomen about the men who fancy them: “These men are just using us to fulfill a sexual fantasy.” Second, the view of general society about these men: “These men are perverts.” And third: “These men are ‘really’ gay men who can’t accept they are gay.”


What is sexual fantasy? In their paper “Sexual Fantasy”, Harold Leintenberg and Kris Henning defined sexual fantasy as “almost any mental imagery that is sexually arousing or erotic to an individual.”

As sexual beings gifted with the faculty of imagination, we all have sexual fantasies; and most of the time, fulfilling a sexual fantasy includes another person. If we all have sexual fantasies, and if we all fulfill some, if not all, of them with another person (or persons, if you will), what then do transwomen find objectionable about the men who fancy them, who transwomen say are “just” fulfilling a sexual fantasy? In order to have a meaningful exploration of this question, we need to know the context from which this view of transwomen comes.

Perhaps it’s safe to say that in all parts of the world, we, transwomen didn’t grow up in societies that positively accept us for who we are. In our growing years, we transwomen experienced rejection from all social institutions (e.g. the family, school, church) that are supposed to be there to serve as nurturing and nourishing agents to the flourishing of our beings. Furthermore, the rejection that transwomen face is not just the typical rejection that starts and ends with a “No”. Each door that closes to us bears a sign: “You should be ashamed of yourselves.” We get so insecure of ourselves: our bodies, our abilities, our existence…

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Everyone, of course, has experienced what it means to be rejected. Indeed, being rejected can strengthen our fortitude. But if rejection is such a recurring and persistent and systematic loop of events in your life, healing becomes more difficult, leading you to easily build walls of suspicion around yourself. This type of rejection is what deeply breeds fear.

In this state of being rejected and shamed, cynicism becomes an addictive escape. In the comforts of our solitude, our tears carry the dolorous melody of the most mind-boggling question: “Why?” But deep inside our hearts is the ancient longing for the exquisite joy and pain of loving and being loved by someone; however, the ghosts of being rejected and shamed turn love into a Sisyphean task.


Suddenly, we are desired for “what we are.” Porn, dating sites, chat rooms, bars where men can go to meet us sprang like mushrooms. Our hungry egos suddenly got its food: Attention. From being untouchables, we become “desirables.” To be lavished with this kind of attention provides such a great pull out of our “untouchable status.” Being rejected and shamed almost all of our lives, we find this attention as an irresistible novelty in our lives, which is so refreshing, so fascinating, so addicting, so ego-inflating! In the TS women’s dating/hook-up scene, two terms are being used to describe these men: Tranny Chaser and Tranny Admirer (My view about these terms will be discussed later).

At first, we became so captivated by the novelty of this attention. Remember how a gazillion of men replied the first time you ever posted an ad on a dating site? How at least 10 private windows popped in your screen after you entered a chat room? How men go gaga over the girls in those TS bars? And of course, we find it intriguing that one of the fastest growing and in-demand genre of porn is those that feature us (well, most specially those that feature pre-op and non-op TS women).

But sooner or later, comes a rude awakening. The attention becomes a tiring cycle, a suffocating prison, a source of suspicion. And in our solitude, the whispers of our need for a more meaningful relationship flutter from our depths to beat on the palm of our reflection.

We ask: “What do these men want from us?” We take a survey of what’s happening around us. We see BS after BS thrown to us by men after men. We see everywhere an extravagant objectification of our bodies and over-sexualization of our being transgender. It seems that it is “only” through sex these men want to connect with us, that every eye gazing at us just seeks to undress us rather than dive into the depths of our being. Just how many men we’ve encountered treated us like an exciting dirty secret that they are so afraid to be discovered by their friends, family, colleagues, and, ehem, wives?

And outside porn, are there any visual representations of what it means to be with a transwoman? You can easily count the movies, television shows, or documentaries that are charming, re-assuring, love-affirming, non-sensationalizing, non-sexualized depiction of relationships between a transwoman and a man. This context is such a fertile ground for the paranoia that “We are just sex objects.”

Now add into this the social-rejection burden that we carry on our shoulders and – Voila! – we resort to playing the role of a victim who escapes into the hell of cynicism, indulging in self-pity and, worse, self-sabotage. We then unconsciously project this cynicism, self-pity, and self-sabotage in every relationship that we enter into.

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It takes tremendous depth of emotional intelligence, an integrated sense of self-awareness, and courage to rise above this unconsciousness. It can be such a tall order to transcend the pain that we carry, but it is necessary if we want to invite serenity and stability to enter into our lives and our relationships.

So are these men “just” there to fulfill a sexual fantasy? Some of them are, but not all of them. Truth is, you haven’t met the proverbial “all men”; you’ve only met and dated the men you have attracted. Resorting to any kind of over-generalization is a lazy way of reflecting on things. Making “men-are-just-after-us-to-fulfill-a-sexual-fantasy” as your mantra is to invite a self-fulfilling prophecy. Attracting the same kind of man over and over again is a wake up call that you need to look deeper into yourself. You need to engage in an honest assessment of yourself: “What are the things, inside and outside of your self, that make you a magnet to these men you find disgusting?”

In order to have a relationship that is empowered and dignified by love, care, affection, and meaning, you have to empower yourself first with love, care, affection, and meaning. Magnets cannot ever attract what they are not capable of attracting.

Moreover, we have to remind ourselves that being treated as a sex object is not peculiar to transwomen. Every one gets sexually objectified: children, cisgendered women (women who were assigned female at birth), and yes, even men. This is not a consolation but a statement of fact that we don’t have a monopoly of this experience. Our sexual objectification is not caused by our being transgender but caused by that human practice of reducing the totality of another human being into their sexual value.

Another thing about us being “just” used as a sexual fantasy: Keep in mind that humans are erotic and emotional creatures. Our biological make-up just makes us so. We connect with people in both ways. If a man just connects with you erotically, perhaps it’s because that’s what they are capable of feeling at that moment – do not make a problem out of it, this is what makes those good-old casual sex possible. If he just wants to connect with you erotically, and you want to be connected with him in an emotional level as well, and there’s no sign that he wants to, then just close that chapter in your book, and move on.

If the only thing that binds you to a guy is that “you-are-a-transwoman-and-he-is-turned-on-by-transwomen”, chances are your relationship will be nothing but sexual, and forcing it to progress into something more magical and meaningful is to invite unnecessary suffering in your life. If you encounter this type of man, do not invoke the mantra that “these men are just using us to fulfill a sexual fantasy”. That will only invite self-pity. Instead of it, have the courage to tell yourself that life-saving sentence: “He is just not into me.” Just like everybody else, we have to accept that not every one who enters our lives would be so into us. If we encounter someone who is just not into us, it doesn’t mean that no one will be, unless of course there’s so much defects in your character that living with you becomes mission impossible. So close the chapter, cry if you will, and move on to the next adventure of your life.

But before venturing on to your next adventure, ask yourself whether you yourself have reduced the totality of your humanity into just one dimension: Your being a transwoman. If you do, you will just keep on attracting people who are only interested in you because you’re a transwoman. You are more than that and you are definitely more interesting than that, and you should live your life more than that! Be interesting and engaging enough so that you can attract someone who is interesting and engaging enough as well. Dig deeper into yourself. Exorcise your own demons and live with a sense of self-possession. People who bring out the best in them, inspires other people to do the same. Explore the multi-dimensionality of your being; do not just stop at the sexual dimension. Nurture and enrich other aspects of your self such as your spiritual and intellectual dimensions. Relationships are not built on and they don’t certainly last with two cardboards. When a relationship fails to work out, leave it at that. It’s a relationship that didn’t work out and it doesn’t mean that all relationships will never work out. And as you go on in your heart’s journey, remember to appreciate what comes your way and be compassionate enough to understand those who you feel have caused you hurt.

Every relationship that you enter into, whatever they are and whatever they are based on, provides a lesson that, if learned, cherished, and applied, will transform you into a much more integrated, more stable, and self-aware person.


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A pervert is someone considered to be engaging in an abnormal, immoral, and repulsive sexual behavior by a majority of people. Let’s call this the deviant-model of perversion. The role of religion and psychiatric institutions in determining what a perversion is cannot be discounted. These two institutions have a long history of repressing, regulating, and controlling sexual behavior. They prescribe and proscribe sexual practices, and create a system of punishment for those who fail to follow them.

Labels are one of the means of taking control of sexual behavior. Packed in these labels are the value judgments assigned to them by the powers-that-be. These value judgments then trickle down to and get entrenched in the thinking patterns of every one else.

Trans-Santacruzan2Let’s take for example the term “homosexual”. Any one labeled as a homosexual bears the cross of being judged as abnormal, immoral, and repulsive. Prior to its delisting from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder of the American Psychiatric Association in 1973, homosexuality is considered a psychiatric disorder. To be diagnosed as a homosexual is a sure ticket to a psychiatric ward. One is “cured” of one’s “perversion” by being forced to become a heterosexual because heterosexuality (i.e. someone with a dick should only be erotically/romantically attracted to someone with a vagina, and vice versa) is mandated to be as the “natural” order of things, everything else shouldn’t be allowed to exist. And according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA), 76 countries still criminalize “consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent,” five of which have death penalty as punishment.

This way of thinking confuses laws of nature with laws of men. If something exists that “violates” the laws of nature, that thing will not exist at all! When we encounter something that exists that violates laws of nature, let’s say law of gravity, we re-think the law of gravity; we don’t go on eliminating or changing or punishing the thing so that it fits and obey our existing thinking about gravity. On the other hand, when someone violates the laws of men, we punish and rehabilitate the person so that she/he will become a law-abiding citizen – that or we just get rid of them.

Oftentimes what we consider as “natural” is influenced by whatever we observe in the world of animals (as if humans are not part of nature!). There is a growing amount of evidence that diversity of sexual expression exists in nature: heterosexuality does not have a monopoly of being natural. Yet one must be careful of thinking that “Natural equals good.” That is the caveat offered by Joan Roughgarden in her groundbreaking book, Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People. She goes on saying that “…this fallacy…confuses fact with value…[The] goodness of a natural trait is the province of ethical reasoning not science.”

Consider rape. Rape or coercive sex has been observed in the animal kingdom. Yet rape or any form of sexual assault is something that we don’t consider “good”. Rape is something that I, and perhaps every one, can consider as sexual perversion. My basis in judging it as such is not because it’s a sexual expression that deviates from the norm but because it strips someone of their autonomy, violates someone’s personal integrity, thereby inflicting suffering and indignity to other people. This is an example of one of the definitions of perversion that I find more helpful than the deviant-model one: to pervert is to bring someone or something into a bad or worse condition. Harm – in whichever form whether physical, psychological, emotional, et cetera – is central to this definition of perversion.

Using this conceptualization of perversion, we have to ask: What harm then do guys who fancy transwomen have caused just because they are attracted erotically or romantically to transwomen?

I find three reasons, why people think these men are perverts.

First, if there’s any harm that these men have done, it’s not towards people but towards the belief system of those who think that being erotically/romantically attracted to transwomen (specially those transwomen who are pre-op or non-op) is perverted. This belief system is largely genital-centric: Two penises or two vaginas cannot sleep in the same bed. Any violation of this genital-centricism is automatically called a perversion. Isn’t it that this genital-centric belief is what is truly perverted? After all, this belief makes us see people not as human beings but as body parts: penises, vaginas, ovaries, breasts… No meaningful relationship is possible between body parts. Relationships are forged by people who just happened to have these body parts and not the other way around.

Second, these men are judged as perverted because the object of their attraction/affection is considered a pervert in society. The logic goes this way: transwomen are perverts and only perverts can be attracted to them. And again, what harm do transwomen do to anyone just because they are transwomen?

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And third, the view that these men are perverts are also largely-influenced by the view that they are “really gay men”. Of course, this is a view brought by the belief that homosexuality or any semblance of it is a perversion. Perhaps when homosexuality has been more understood as just another sexual expression, which is not inherently bad in itself, these men would not bear the stigma of being perverts. Nonetheless, the question remains: Are these men ‘really’ gay men who can’t accept they are gay?

The basis of sexual orientation labels like heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual is the “sex” of the object of our lust or love. Sex has so many determinants (e.g. chromosomes, hormonal level, internal and external genitalia, brain sex, ability to produce sperm, ability to produce eggs). Which one of these is the most valid reference point to determine the sex of the people we are attracted? These sex determinants aren’t always in harmony with each other and they do not remain the same all throughout a person’s life.

Let’s take for example the ability to produce eggs. The sex that has this ability is called the “female sex”. So if someone who has the ability to produce sperm (male sex), gets attracted to someone who has the ability to produce eggs, he is considered heterosexual. Now, how do you know if someone has the ability to produce eggs or ability to produce sperm? What happens then to your sexual orientation if your partner loses this ability? Now, do this with other sex determinants, and tell me how ridiculous it can be. Do you want the government to keep a publicly accessible list of people and their “sex determinants” so that you can be “sure” that the person you are attracted to has the sex you “really” want to be attracted to? Does your process of attraction work this way? Are you that so obsessive about defining your sexual orientation for you to bother at all? Am I giving you a headache, yet? We are so taking these terms for granted, accepting them like the infallible “Word of God”. But what exactly is the same in same-sex attraction (homosexuality) and opposite in opposite-sex attraction (heterosexuality)?

For most people, it’s the genital. This is because of the genital-centric view of sex that considers the external genitalia as the locus of sex, and therefore of gender (if you have a penis you’re a man; if you don’t, you’re a woman). Yet gender, no matter how it is associated with the genitals, is simply not the genitals.

Since gender is both identity and expression, I have good reasons to assume that gender is where our sense of identity resides and from where our expressions spring: The BRAIN. But gender is also a role imposed by society. Brains have cultural contexts from which they receive instructions on how they can express gender. Brain and culture function in an endless feedback-loop system. Both are influenced by each other, forever undergoing an intrinsic dance of negotiation and reconciliation. Pardon my long digression…

Going back: The view that men who fancy transwomen are “really” gay men is brought by the belief that transwomen are “really” men. But if one accepts that transwomen are women, then it follows that these men are not gay men; hence, the attraction is hetero-erotic: they are heterosexuals. If these men are also attracted to men, they may be called bisexuals. But why bother at all in defining this attraction? Well, the psychiatric establishment is obsessed with this.

The tongue-twisting “gynandromorphophilia” was coined by Drs. Richard Blanchard and Peter Collins to describe attraction to trans people (specifically to transwomen who have not had vaginoplasty). The “philia” in this term points that this attraction is a form of “paraphilia”. Paraphilia is defined as “description of sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and that may cause distress or serious problems for the paraphiliac or persons associated with him or her.”

Dr. Blanchard and his like-minded peers are actually proposing that gynandromorphophilia, as well as other “atypical” sexual attraction, be included in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Pyschiatric Association, which is considered as one of the authoritative manuals of what can be counted as a mental illness.

In her essay “Why feminists should be concerned with the impending revision of the DSM”, Julia Serano invites us to think and be vigilant about this proposal of Dr. Blanchard:

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“Blanchard and other like-minded sex researchers have coined words like Gynandromorphophilia (attraction to trans women), Andromimetophilia (attraction to trans men), Abasiophilia (attraction to people who are physically disabled), Acrotomophilia (attraction to amputees), Gerontophilia (attraction to elderly people), Fat Fetishism (attraction to fat people), etc., and have forwarded them in the medical literature to denote the presumed ‘paraphilic’ nature of such attractions. This tendency reinforces the cultural belief that young, thin, able-bodied cisgender women and men are the only legitimate objects of sexual desire, and that you must be mentally disordered in some way if you are attracted to someone who falls outside of this ideal. It’s bad enough that such cultural norms exist in the first place, but to codify them in the DSM is a truly terrifying prospect.

“Another frightening aspect of Blanchard’s proposal is that any sexual interest other than ‘genital stimulation or preparatory fondling’ is now, by definition, a paraphilia. In his presentation, he claimed that paraphilias should include all ‘erotic interests that are not focused on copulatory or precopulatory behaviors, or the equivalent behaviors in same-sex adult partners.’ Copulatory is defined as related to coitus or sexual intercourse (i.e., penetration sex). So, essentially, all forms of sexual arousal and expression that are not centered around penetration sex may now be considered paraphilias.

“So, do you and your partner occasionally role-play or talk dirty to one another over the phone? Or engage in arousing play that is not intended to necessarily lead to ‘doing the deed’? Do you masturbate? Do you get a sexual charge from wearing a particularly sexy outfit or performing any act that falls outside of ‘genital stimulation or preparatory fondling’? Well, then congratulations, you can be diagnosed with a paraphilia!”


One of the storylines in the television series Dirty, Sexy, Money revolved around the love story between Patrick Darling IV (played by William Baldwin), a member of the richest family in New York who was set to run for the senate, and his mistress, Carmelita Rainer (played by real-life transwoman Candis Cayne), a transwoman studying cosmetology. At first, it seemed that this storyline was just following the commonly-heard story in the trans-dating scene: a married man having a transwoman as a “dirty” secret affair. His family, except his wife, was well-aware of this “dirty” secret as it was suggested that he had several transwomen lovers prior to Carmelita. Of course, his family was against it.

In the first episode, Patrick asked their family lawyer to go to the hotel where Carmelita was waiting and tell her it was over between them. A short discussion between Patrick and the family lawyer revealed how Patrick valued Carmelita. When the lawyer said that Carmelita was Patrick’s “dirty sex”, Patrick defended her relationship with Carmelita by saying, “It’s not dirty. It’s just different”. Patrick’s family attempted to stop the affair because it might cost him the election. But every time his family tried to separate him from Carmelita, Patrick became depressed.

The next episodes revealed that Patrick’s relationship with his wife was not really based on love but “wealth and power”. Actually, the relationship between Patrick and Carmelita was one of the most charming and genuine relationships in this show.

Later on, the wife of Patrick died because of an accident after a heated argument between them. Then Patrick won as senator. During his inauguration, against the will of his father, he invited Carmelita to be there with him because he wanted to be public about his relationship with Carmelita. Unfortunately, Carmelita was killed by a stray shot.

To be in a relationship with a transwoman can be very stigmatizing, as society tends to view this kind of relationship as perverted. Dirty, Sexy, Money offered us a possibility where a man is not ashamed of his relationship with a transwoman. Given that the man is a man of extreme affluence and influence, this seems to be a far-fetched idea (But who knows, before Barack Obama, the US having a black president was just something that happened in the movies). Nonetheless, in reality, there are men who are not ashamed of being in a relationship with a transwoman. Though stories about them are scant, we know they exist. Perhaps it’s safe to say that every transwoman knows at least one friend who is in this kind of relationship.

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But the other side of the coin of reality says that there are also men who are afraid to be public about their relationship with a transwoman. Well, It’s not easy to be stigmatized, and it takes tremendous courage and fortitude to face this stigma. Whenever a man goes public about his relationship with a transwoman, he is often barraged by invasive, irritating, harassing, and stigmatizing questions such as: “Does she still have a dick?”, “How do you have sex?”, “Are you gay?”, “Are you a pervert?”, “Are you so lonely that you would settle for a freak?”, “Don’t you want to have a biological child of your own?”, “What is wrong with you?” – or just plain “Yuck! Faggot!”.

Not only that, the stigma attached to men who fancy transwomen can sometimes snowball into something disturbingly fatal. Remember the film Soldier Girl, the true story of Calpernia Adams and Barry Winchell? Barry Winchell was an infantry soldier in the US Army. He fell in love and had a relationship with Calpernia Adams, who Barry met in a transgender cabaret club. When rumors about his relationship started to circulate, his peers subjected Barry to harassment. This harassment ended in the murder of Barry by one of his peers. He was stricken several times in the head with a baseball bat while he was sleeping.

Besides this, there’s also a fear that their future relationships might be jeopardized by their past relationships with transwomen. A guy once told me that if he wanted to be honest with his future wife (he plans to get married with a cisgender woman) about his past, he fears that the girl he would like to marry might consider him a pervert, and thereby not marry him. I told him that if that happens, it tells something about the maturity level of his future wife. I also told him that perhaps deep inside him, he considers it as a perversion. There was a long pause before he uttered his reply: “Can I call you when that time comes, so you can explain to my wife that it is not?” And I willingly said yes.

Inside the trans-dating scene, transwomen have a way of attaching a stigmatizing label to the men who fancy them: Tranny Chaser. As we use it, Tranny Chaser describes those men who are only after a quick sexual relationship with a transwoman (usually pre-op or non-op transwoman) and who consider transwomen as a “fetish”. We transwomen always guard ourselves against these men. We look for any sign that a man is just a tranny chaser. Sometimes we may be right about our perception, but there are also times that we are not. Hastily labeling someone as a “tranny chaser” can be a source of suffering to the person being labeled as such, and just promotes a narrow-minded view of people.

This is a very tricky subject for sometimes it’s hard to sift those who are sincere from those who just want to play in the trans-dating field. That goes for both transwomen and the men who fancy them. However, the trans-dating scene doesn’t have a monopoly of hearts being broken, unfulfilled promises, and BS. These things happen in all dating scenes, don’t they? And don’t we transwomen engage in “men chasing” as well? Don’t we also fetishize men? Don’t we have sex with men who fulfill our sexual fantasies? Don’t we also get afraid of commitment that we would just rather have quick sexual relationships than long-term ones? Don’t we also play the field before we meet someone who we are both erotically and emotionally attracted to? We do. And for every transwoman who fears that her heart is going to be broken, there is a man whose heart has already been broken.

No matter who or what you are, finding true love can be difficult. Some say it only comes once in a long while. The journey can be tiring: all the walking, the talking, the running, the thinking, the fucking, the lying, the forgiving, the hurting, the deceiving, the listening, the hearing, the believing, the forgetting, the remembering, the falling, the blabbering, the crying, the smiling, and all the progressive verbs that you can certainly think of can certainly wear us out.

Being tired can dim the glow of our inner capacity to love, our capacity to recognize true love when it’s already there, and our passion to fight for the love we have. This glow is at its peak when we were still children – though unfortunately a lot of children in this world has never experienced glowing at all. At an early age, some have experienced this glow extinguished by those who are envious of someone’s flame gently, innocently yet bravely flickering in the darkness and misery of this world. And sometimes, we accidentally or deliberately choose paths that dim this glow.

But every now and then we try to fan the flames of this glow. Humanity has devised a lot of things to bring back the joy and sheer rupture of it. We do whatever we can do to relive once again that same glow – you can call it being children once again. Some even try to compensate their lack of glow with material pursuits, hoping that if they can’t make it flicker they can at least fool themselves that they are glowing as soon as they turn on the neon lights of their lives.

Somewhere along the way we meet people that enflame our glow. They make us aware that we still have this glow – it is just dimmed. Sometimes they will walk with us in this journey for just a moment. Sometimes they walk with us long distance until the end. The duration is not what matters. What matters is the quality of the journey shared. Love!

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Since 2001, as she was about to turn 19, Sass has dedicated herself to the LGBT Rights movement in the Philippines, most specifically to issues of gender identity and freedom of gender expression. James Green, an international transgender rights activist, served as her mentor via email. She started giving discussions on transgender rights and issues in Luneta Park in Manila. In December 2002, she co-founded the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP). In 2003 & 2004, together with Drs Sam Winter and Mark King of the University of Hong Kong, she did the first comprehensive study on transgender women in the Philippines. The study has been published in the International Journal of Transgenderism. In 2009, she was one of the LGBT activists invited to speak in a historic United Nations General Assembly side-event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. In 2013, she received the ECHO Award, given annually to excellent and promising migrant students in the Netherlands. In 2014, she received the Harry Benjamin Distinguished Education and Advocacy Award from the World Profession Association for Transgender Health. A nomadic spirit, Sass loves to write, walk, read, cycle, and cook. Together with the love of her life, Sass is currently based in The Hague, The Netherlands. She graduated with a Combined major in World Politics & Global Justice, minor in International Development (Magna cum Laude) at Leiden University College, which bestowed her the 2014 Global Citizenship Award. She is a contributing writer on TG issues for the mag, through The Activist.


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