Question: About Tranny Chasers

Chris asks…

I despise the term “tranny chaser” because I am scared of being labeled as one. If I’m only (usually) attracted to people outside of the gender binary, does that make me a tranny chaser? Can I even BE a tranny chaser if I’m genderqueer myself?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on February 10th, 2010 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 26 comments »

26 Responses to “Question: About Tranny Chasers”

  1. Andy

    I guess I’m curious about the same thing… I know I’m trans, and most of the people I’ve been attracted to whether I knew it or not when I first started liking them (the only one that hasn’t been true for as far as I know was an extremely feminine gay man)… But the idea of being labeled as exclusively attracted to trans freaks me out.

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  2. Anonymous

    I think that being labeled a ‘tranny chaser’ in a pejorative way is yet another way to use humiliation to keep people separated from each other and from themselves.

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  3. Anonymous

    It’s my experience as a gay cis boy who has dated several trans guys that when a lot of trans people talk about “tranny chasers,” they don’t really mean people who are sometimes, or even frequently, attracted to trans or genderqueer people as such, but rather people who are attracted to trans people in a dehumanizing way that treats the trans person not as a real live human but as a freak show or exotic sex doll for their enjoyment.

    I think someone who simply happens to be attracted to particular features that may be overrepresented in the trans community is not a chaser. I think the question I ask myself is always, “Would I still be attracted to him if he had all the features I like about him, but he were cis?” So far the answer is always yes.

    (The only complicating factor I can think of is that sometimes, due to transphobia/cissexism and resulting life problems, some trans people can develop self esteem problems as a result of which they may react with suspicion to anyone who is attracted to them. I’ve had this problem with certain boyfriends — “you’re attracted to me, but I’m so undesirable that nobody could possibly be attracted to me, therefore you must have some creepy ulterior motive.” This can be very painful and difficult to deal with and calls for a lot of patience and supportiveness.)

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  4. Magpie

    In my head, a “tranny chaser” isn’t somebody who is attracted to people who are out of the gender binary, it’s somebody who is attracted in a perverse way to the gender subversion itself, like a fetish for the idea instead of attraction for the person involved.

    I guess I don’t even think that being genderqueer even enters into the equation, although it may lead to a predisposition towards being attracted to people who are expressing themselves in a similar way.

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  5. Dharma Kelleher

    I agree with Magpie. I apply the term “tranny chaser” to those who objectivize or fetishize trans people as sex objects rather than being attracted to them as people.

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  6. kypri

    I tend to avoid terms like that, although I did use it today to refer to people who don’t seem to have very much respect or understanding for individuals outside the gender binary and treat them as fetish objects rather than their attraction to transpeople being a “legitimate” category of sexuality.

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  7. Renee

    It’s my experience as a gay cis boy who has dated several trans guys that when a lot of trans people talk about “tranny chasers,” they don’t really mean people who are sometimes, or even frequently, attracted to trans or genderqueer people as such, but rather people who are attracted to trans people in a dehumanizing way that treats the trans person not as a real live human but as a freak show or exotic sex doll for their enjoyment.

    I think someone who simply happens to be attracted to particular features that may be overrepresented in the trans community is not a chaser. I think the question I ask myself is always, “Would I still be attracted to him if he had all the features I like about him, but he were cis?” So far the answer is always yes.

    (The only complicating factor I can think of is that sometimes, due to transphobia/cissexism and resulting life problems, some trans people can develop self esteem problems as a result of which they may react with suspicion to anyone who is attracted to them. I’ve had this problem with certain boyfriends — “you’re attracted to me, but I’m so undesirable that nobody could possibly be attracted to me, therefore you must have some creepy ulterior motive.” This can be very painful and difficult to deal with and calls for a lot of patience and supportiveness.)

    Emphatic yes to all of this. That is how the term “tranny chaser” is used. And yes, we do (or at least I do) regard men who show in interest with a healthy dose of initial suspicion…I’ve had some really bad, even dangerous, interactions in dating situations and while I consider myself strong and confident, there’s definitely some negative reinforcement going on. Hopefully I’m smart enough and aware enough to sidestep it, but who knows?

    Like any marginalized group, the first step to being understood is to find a voice, and admirers of trans men/women currently don’t have that. The world at large sees trans individuals as being unworthy of love; that isn’t going to change until those who do love us step forward and prove otherwise.

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  8. Renee

    Sorry, the first three paragraphs above were supposed to be a quote from a previous commenter…no love for the HTML. :-(

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  9. William

    My ex boyfriend was accused of “fetishing” me just because we were in a sexual relationship and I’m trans. He wasn’t.

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  10. Anna

    there are nicer words like trans-sensual.

    sometimes I am coded as the trans* person and sometimes I am coded as the cis person, being a cis-lesbian and a trans*-fag.

    a yeah I like being attracted to trans* people and like people being attracted to me.

    :)

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  11. :)

    My boyfriend is an FTM genderqueer, and my ciswomen friends have joked that I’m a tranny chaser because I find two other trans friends attractive. I always felt the term was negative. I love my boyfriend for who he is. I also find many people attractive, so pointing out three instances out of how many seems ridiculous to me. I love people, and would never fetishize a group that way. So I viewed the term negatively.

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    Anonymous replied:

    It sounds like you are Pansexual rather than A tranny chaser, there was a natal female who used to go to gay clubs and was totally obsessed with Trans people, when I told her I was trans she was all over me, until I told her I was winding her up, she didn’t seem so interested in me after that

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  12. Britt

    My boyfriend is an FTM and I’m a trans/genderqueer that loves the trans community. I often get labeled as a tranny chaser, and while I joke about the phrase in silliness, I think it’s postivity/negativity really depends on how you see it. Words only have as much power as we’re willing to give them. Though I must admit, it seems like a negative statement when used in certain circumstances (but isn’t everything like that, really?

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  13. Oliver

    My partner has a slight preference for men, and one for vulvas/vaginas. Treats me like the male human being I am. Not a chaser.

    I’ve slept with a guy who generally slept with women and had had little experience with men, wanted to sleep with men, and found men with “familiar” parts was a less nerve-wracking way to start. He treated me like the male human being I am. Not a chaser.

    So I’ve no problem with some situations that could gross other guys out. But when *several* cis men, who generally/always date women, say something like “You’re an attractive man, *and* you’ve got a female body, so that’s great!!” Then… dude, chaser-y as all hell, I’m getting giant waves of dysphoria just typing that out. Emphasising the nonexistent “femaleness” of a trans male person while commenting on their hotness? A great way for you to get them to avoid you forever.

    I can completely see why some folk might react positively to shit like that, and even much worse :-( I probably would if I hadn’t had a supportive partner to give me strength. But I still won’t accept it!

    In conclusion, the OP is completely not a tranny chaser. After a while, I’ve gained a sense of what my parts “mean” for people, and that sense governs my sexual dysphoria. If the OP is genderqueer themselves, then assigning meaning to someone’s body different to the person is surely less likely :-)

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  14. Anonymous

    Ooh, parts are an entire other problem! That was one thing that wigged out the one fellow I referred to in the parenthesis in post #3 — the fact that I was capable of enjoying his bits. As far as he was concerned, all gay cis boys are grossed out of existence by concave parts, so if I wasn’t there was something Really Wrong.

    Once we were having sex, and he was asking me worriedly if I wasn’t disgusted by his body, and I finally had to tell him, “Look! You’re a guy! I like guys! I like guys’ bodies! That means I like your body! Got it?!”

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  15. Oliver

    I wish there were more gay cis guys like you! :-/ (My relationship is open and I have a pubescent sex drive, so if there *were* more I would probably do nothing else :-D) But by that I don’t mean gay cis guys who aren’t disgusted by our genitals, because I bet most would enjoy them if there was no transphobia.

    I liked sleeping with a guy recently, the kind of person who only speaks when he has something interesting to say, and who thus made no comment about my genitals at all, acting like he sees fifty trans male parts every day and wouldn’t be surprised whatever someone had in their pants. That was relaxing… and his actions were pretty much the opposite of chaser-y ones, I imagine.

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  16. Chris

    Thanks for your replies everyone. I forgot I even asked you all this :D

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  17. TaunTastic

    i find it ridiculous that preferences are held against us.

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  18. Heretofore Anonymous

    First, I will assume that you want me to be honest.

    Labeling yourself “genderqueer” (whatever that is supposed to actually mean…) does NOT give you a free pass on the tranny chaser issue.

    Despising the term, and feeling afraid of it, also do NOT give you a free pass.

    Some TS women, including myself, have had very negative experiences with chasers.

    Including chasers who adamantly denied that they were chasers, and insisted that they just “accepted” us out of the kindness of their hearts. You know, like, when practically making a full-time job of seeking pre-op TS women, and talking about it non-stop.

    Also including chasers who had serious “gender” issues of their own. Like trying to vicariously live out their own desire to be shemales. While adamantly denying it, whenever any direct discussion is attempted. No matter how obvious their motivations are.

    My medical history is NOT a contract agreeing to provide free services to fetishists, or anyone else. It does NOT obligate me to sympathise with someone merely because they call themselves “genderqueer” (whatever that is supposed to actually mean…) It does NOT obligate me to respond with gratitude merely because someone claimed attraction to me specifically, or to TS women in general.

    And, very importantly here… My medical history does NOT obligate me to trust anyone.

    I am not in the market for a partner, but, if I were, I would never even consider getting involved with someone who thought it would be cool and radical and hip to have sex with trannies. Including as an expression of their own “genderqueer” (whatever that is supposed to actually mean…) trip.

    OTOH, if you don’t like hearing the truth, there are professional “t-girls” who will tell you anything you want to hear, for a reasonable hourly rate.

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    Kasumi replied:

    Wow, Heretofore Anonymous, it looks like Chris’s question touched a nerve. I didn’t see anything in the question to suggest that Chris feels that trans folks ought to be grateful for the interest, or that Chris is somehow entitled. So the beginning and end of your comment about the “truth” seems to be more about you and the crummy experiences you’ve had than the question itself. I hope your future experiences are better, should you ever find yourself looking for a partner.

    I don’t see how we can say that anyone’s feelings of attraction are, a priori, out of line. Objectifying or fetishizing others is not cool, but feeling attracted to a beautiful transwoman or handsome transguy or fetching genderqueer person or nice-looking cis guy or cis woman–or whatever–can’t be bad in and of itself. It’s not as if we can really control our attractions and desires anyway, though we do have a responsibility to act on them in a way that doesn’t hurt or demean others.

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  19. rivkele

    If I prefer a transmale over a cismale in terms of finding a life partner, is that chasing? Can it be seen as an ’emotional’ preference?

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  20. Anonymous

    I don’t think it’s okay, no matter who you are to say “genderqueer (whatever that is actually supposed to mean…)”. That is rude and not accepting at all. I think that there is a difference between automatically being emotionally attracted to trans* and gender-variant people more than cis people and wanting to be with them because of their parts. People can call me a tranny chaser if they want to because I am automatically drawn to people who are androgynous or genderqueer. I have been attracted to MTFs and MTFS, as well as cis people too. My preference is for soft masculine people, no matter their gender or sex, so it’s more about gender expression/presentation than their gender/sex itself. However, the fact that my boyfriend is trans and I find a few of my trans friends to be attractive, does not make me a tranny chaser. It means that I am attracted to their gender presentation. If my boyfriend was super masculine or super feminine, I would not be as attracted to him, same with cis people. It just happens that gender variant and trans people (usually FTMS over MTFs) fit the type of people I am attracted to. I am typically attracted on a mostly-emotional level though.
    I think having real attraction and relationships is one thing. I think fetishizing people and reducing them to parts is another. I also think that if someone is FTM or MTF (affirmed male/affirmed female) the partner should know they are NOT anything else – they are not genderqueer or something in between, they are men and they are women. Period.

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  21. self confessed chaser

    I am a tranny chaser and proud. Im also a lesbian who just cannot help being attracted to transwomen, it all began when i was 22.
    At an lgbt event i met this really hot woman, when i saw her i had to ask if she was a model or something, as i had never met a woman like her before. Up to that point all the transwomen i had met were overdressed, she was not, so i did not think of her as trans. No one else was talking to her much, i thought it was because they were put off with her being so hot. She spent a lot of time sat in a side room on her own, except of course when i was chatting to her.

    She diod tell me that she was trans, and she also told me a lot of interesting things about her anatomy i.e about dilation. Oh and i did not ask, as in those days i would not have known what to ask. Infact in those days i thought all transwomen were into men anyway so would not have bothered talking to her if she had not passed so well. Just like i would not have bothered talking to a streight woman either.

    I assumed she was streight when she said she is trans. I did take the opportunity to tell her she is attractive, that she would not have any problems getting a man.

    She looked suprised and spent the rest of the evening smiling at me everytime i looked at her. There was something very charming about her, and we got on so well, if circumstances had of been different i think i would have still known her now.

    I am with a transwoman now, as i educated myself in recient years, i know that transwomen can be lesbian. Also my current girlfriend does look a bit like the woman i met that night, it not her though.

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  22. s.p.

    I am a pre-op, pre-T transman and I am very attracted to gay bio men at this time. But I’m concerned that finding a boyfriend who would actually want to have sex with me is nearly impossible because I don’t have any boy parts yet! A transman friend has told me that there are plenty of bio guys that like transguys in the San Francisco Bay Area, but how on earth will I find the right guy who is good to me, good for me, and a guy who isn’t wanting to fuck me because of a fetish thing?

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  23. Elijah

    Tranny chaser tends to refer to people who are attracted to binary-identified trans people but persist in thinking of them as some kind of magical inbetween to fetishize.

    If you’re only attracted to genderqueer people, whatever, go for it. That’s their gender, it’s cool. But if you’re attracted to trans men when you wouldn’t be attracted to cis men, or trans women versus cis women – that’s when it gets tricky.

    There’s the body issue. Some chasers fetishize “men with vaginas” or “women with penises” which fails to take into account trans people who have had bottom surgery as well as trans people who hate and despise those parts of their bodies.

    Then there’s the emotional issue, usually used towards trans men: that trans men are somehow more in tune with women because they’ve lived as a woman. Firstly, many trans men are misogynistic, homophobic, etcetera etcetera. Many others don’t want to be seen as trans. They see their trans history as a medical history and nothing more, not a part of their identity.

    Generalizing, like saying that trans people are more likely to be androgynous/feminist/good at cooking/fuckall whatever, isn’t a good idea. If you’re attracted to androgynous people, say androgynous people. If you’re attracted to feminist men, say feminist men. If you’re attracted to men whose female history has shaped their identity in ways that they themselves acknowledge and accept, please say that. It’s not as easy as just rattling off “oh I like trans men” but it’ll save you the trouble of having trans men who do not identify with their trans history getting pissed at you.

    It’s a good idea to note that there are people who have aversions to certain body parts, such as women who have had traumatic experiences with people with penises and as such don’t want to enter a relationship with someone with a penis. That’s a different animal entirely.

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    rivkele replied:

    “It’s a good idea to note that there are people who have aversions to certain body parts, such as women who have had traumatic experiences with people with penises and as such don’t want to enter a relationship with someone with a penis. That’s a different animal entirely.”

    This really resonates with me, and I think it’s the main reason I seek out trans guys.

    The other reason is that my gender is Femme, not female, and more often than not trans guys seem to understand that. Obviously not all of them do, and I’ve certainly done my time with guys who were just as douchy and chauvinistic as guys with no trans history to speak of.

    In fact, in my experience, most cis folk of any gender seem to have a hard time grasping that Femme is my gender and will often say things like, “well, isn’t femme french for female? So you must be female.” or, “Isn’t Femme a variation of female? Are you sure you’re not female?”

    Yeah. Annoying.

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