Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Controversial Orientation?

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Controversial Orientation?

Article excerpt

CAN A SEXUAL ORIENTATION-or the word used to describe it-be offensive to those who are the object of that attraction? Maybe so, when it comes to those attracted to people who are transgender. They may be called (or call themselves) trans am, transamorous, transsensual, or trans chasers-and their attentions may be welcomed. Or not. When is being seen as sexually attractive-but only because the viewer sees you as different from other men or women-a turn on and when is it a turn off?

When a straight-identified man fetishizes trans women and watches porn with offensive titles, it can be easy to vilify them. But what about the gay man who prefers sex with trans men who haven't had bottom surgery? Or the trans individual who finds themselves only attracted to others with a trans experience?

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health suggests that terms like transamorous are problematic because they are "mostly used in conjunction with cis men who chase trans folks, especially trans fem(me)s." Instead, they recommend skoliosexual which their site defines as, "a little known term for folks who are attracted to genderqueer or non-binary individuals." But they clarify, "the term does not imply a preference for a specific set of genitalia, gender assignment at birth, or sex reassignment surgery status."

Some advocates argue skoliosexual sounds clinical, more like a disease or syndrome than monikers like gay or lesbian. And the definition seems to exclude attractions to gender-normative trans people

Other activists have wanted to see cisgender men who date, love, or have sex with transgender women "come forward and speak the truth of those attractions, encounters, experiences and relationships," says Orange is the Black star, Laverne Cox,

Into this dialogue comes Trans*Am: Cis Men and Trans Women in Love, a new book by Joseph McClellan-a professor at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh-in support of trans ams. …

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