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07-Sep-2015 19:30

It sounds like silliness on the surface, but often times when gossip blogs are the public’s only exposure to trans women, it spreads misinformation, validates stereotypes and causes irreparable damage.When a man can be shamed merely for interacting with a trans women – whether it be through a photograph, a sex tape or correspondences — what does this say about how society views trans women? This pervasive ideology says that trans women are shameful, that trans women are not worthy of being seen and that trans women must remain a secret — invisible and disposable.If a man dares to be seen with a trans woman, he will likely lose social capital so he must adamantly deny, vehemently demean, trash and/or exterminate the woman in question.He must do this to maintain his standing in our patriarchal society.A man’s desire for my body, my brain, my brilliance and my existence is not a laughing matter because I am not a joke.

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In effect, we’re telling trans women that they are only deserving of secret interactions with men, further demeaning and stigmatizing trans women.

I’ve stood witness to many so-called scandals, mostly published on gossip blogs, where passing interactions with trans women spawn hundreds of headlines, particularly for a man with fame and social capital.

Instead, we shame men who have this desire, from the boyfriends, cheaters and “chasers” to the “trade,” clients, and pornography admirers.

We tell men to keep their attraction to trans women secret, to limit it to the internet, frame it as a passing fetish or transaction.

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The Mister Cee “scandal” sheds light on society’s ignorance, similarly exhibited when Chris Brown, Chingy and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson took photos with trans women; similarly exhibited when folks gender-policed Joseline Hernandez to the point where she Tweeted a nude photo to prove her cis-ness; similarly exhibited when Eddie Murphy, LL Cool J and a list of other powerful men were accused of being “caught” seeking trans women. When I was a girl finding myself, I was met with similar questions and believed I would never find someone to love me.This anti-trans woman ideology is harmful, misogynistic and pervasive and travels way beyond the comments section of gossip blogs, and as Sylvia Rivera once said, “I will no longer put up with this shit.” I am a trans woman. I had learned that I was unworthy and undeserving, and it took me years to release myself from the shame and stigma society had forced upon me as a young woman.



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