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This happens almost every time a prominent transgender woman tries to have a nuanced public conversation about sex and dating.
Over the summer, transgender activist Zinnia Jones tweeted: “I don’t see a problem with telling straight guys who are exclusionary of trans women partners that they should try to work through that.” That’s a different sentiment than what Cox was expressing—and probably a more radical one—but Jones followed that tweet up with ten more, beginning by saying that “nobody has to be with anyone they don’t want.”Jones added that while there may be some “baseline rate” of people who have an “actual true preference” for a non-transgender partner, the fact that “incredible numbers of straight men” secretly date us suggests that “touching a trans woman’s body or genitals is probably way less of an issue than most people think it is.”Jones was not commanding anyone to sleep with transgender women, but she was suggesting that people could probably stand to examine their aversion to us as viable romantic options.
So it was sadly unsurprising when that Laverne Cox interview got quoted on another news site beneath the headline: “Laverne Cox says men who are ashamed of dating trans women are ‘insecure as f*ck.’”If you scroll through the many disgusting responses to that article on social media—which I won’t dignify by reprinting here—you’ll find dozens of people reacting as if the actress had been talking about all straight men, not just the subset of straight men who are already interested in dating transgender women.
I met a cisgender (i.e., non-transgender) woman in 2013—before I underwent sex reassignment surgery—and we have been exclusively together ever since.
She was attracted to me—woman to woman—before I had a vagina and she’s still attracted to me now that I have one.
Cox had to clarify on Twitter this week that the headline was “taken a bit out of context.” “To be clear,” she continued, “I am referring to men who seek out and have sex with trans women but choose to keep us a secret.
I am not saying men not attracted to trans women should be.”This isn’t an isolated incident, either.