Attraction to transgender people
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Romantic and/or sexual attraction to transgender people can be toward trans men, trans women, non-binary people, or a combination of these. This attraction can be a person's occasional, or exclusive interest.
Like transgender people, individuals attracted to transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or with none of these categories; they may identify as transgender or cisgender.
There are a variety of terms, inside both the transgender and academic communities, for people who are attracted to transgender people. These terms include admirer, transfan, trans* catcher, trans* erotic, transsensual, transoriented, tranny chaser, tranny hawk, though the final two may be considered offensive as they contain a slur.
The term tranny chaser was originally (and still predominantly) used to describe men sexually interested in visibly trans women, but it is now used by some trans men as well. Transgender people often use the term in a pejorative sense, because they consider chasers to value them for their trans status alone, rather than being attracted to them as a person. However, some claim this term in an affirming manner. The term tranny (or trannie) is itself considered a slur in many circles.
Less pejorative terms such as transamorous and transsensual have also emerged, but they have not seen much usage.
Sexologists have created numerous terms for preferential attraction to transgender people. John Money and Malgorzata Lamacz proposed the term gynemimetophilia to refer to a sexual preference for male-assigned people who look like, act like, or are women, including crossdressed men and trans women. They also proposed the term andromimetophilia to describe a sexual attraction to female-assigned people who look like, act like, or are men.
Ray Blanchard and Peter Collins proposed the term gynandromorphophilia, while Martin S. Weinberg and Colin J. Williams proposed the term men sexually interested in transwomen (MSTW) to describe the phenomenon among men.
People who are attracted to trans women, trans men, or non-binary people describe being attracted to individuals rather than to transgender people overall. Other tendencies are reported descriptions of being attracted to what transgender people represent (a challenge to the traditional male/female dichotomy) and the explicit focus on the transgender body and appearance.
According to Jeffrey Escoffier of the Centre for Gay and Lesbian Studies of CUNY, sexual interest in trans women first emerged in 1953, associated with the then famous transition of Christine Jorgensen. It was after sex reassignment surgery became more feasible over the 1960s that sexual orientation came to be re-conceptualized as distinct from gender identity and cross-dressing. In survey of men who engage in sex with trans women, 73% to 92% identified their sexual identity as straight or bisexual.
A study employing the penile plethysmograph demonstrated that the arousal patterns, genital and subjective, of men who self-report attraction to trans women are similar to those of straight men, and different from those of gay men. The study showed that those men, also known in literature as gynandromorphophiles, are much more strongly aroused to female than to male stimuli. They differ from both straight and gay men, however, in displaying strong arousal to stimuli featuring trans women, which in this group was as arousing as the female stimuli. The study also found that autogynephilia is common in this group: 42% of the study group scored above 1 point on a questionnaire measuring autogynephilic arousal, compared to 12% of straight men and 0% of gay men. In the sample, 41.7% of men attracted to trans women identified as bisexual, with the remainder identifying as straight. The bisexuals among them did not display significantly more arousal to male stimuli than their heterosexual counterparts, however, they had a high number of male sex partners and they had higher levels of self-reported autogynephilic arousal than their straight counterparts.
Erotic materials created for people attracted to trans men have become more visible in recent years, largely due to pornographic actor Buck Angel, the majority of whose fans are gay men. Jamison Green writes that some cisgender gay men often enjoy sexual relations with trans men. Green writes, "Plenty of penis-less transmen ... engage in sex with penis-equipped gay men ... and these non-trans partners are often surprised to find that a penis is not what defines a man, that the lack of a penis does not mean a lack of masculinity, manliness, or male sexuality." The gay journalist Daniel Villarreal has criticized trans men's exclusion from gay male pornography and gay male spaces and urged cis gay men to consider trans men as partners, writing that "On its face, the answer is obvious: Many gay men don't sexualize trans men because many trans men still have vaginas, and gay men aren't always interested in that equipment...But considering the fact that trans men are men, it's time to reconsider welcoming them into gay spaces, and that means welcoming them into our bedroom fantasies as well." Gay author Jaime Woo has written that cis gay men often show a "fundamental resistance to accept trans men as partners", claiming that the problem is partly because cis gay men are invested in sexual orientation without including gender identity, thus "the privileged role of the penis" in male homosexuality excludes and desexualizes gay trans men without penises. Woo claims that it is important to challenge the anachronistic idea that "gay trans men are not men" and that "vagina is verboten". Luke Hudson, the face on the gay FTM porn studio "JockPussy.com", has claimed that gay trans men are often excluded as potential partners by cis gay men and that many cis gay men don't even know what a transgender man is, arguing that as awareness of transgender issues increases more gay men will enjoy the company of trans men.
Some academics characterize attraction to transgender people as a medical diagnosis to be managed or a type of paraphilia. Others state that stigma against attractions to transgender people can invalidate transgender identities and deny transgender sexualities, and argue that such attractions should be destigmatized.
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