Straight men have been treating queer men like shit since well before the year one. We have been their boogeymen, their scapegoats, and the punch line to their jokes. Besides all that, we have had the dubious honor of being their sexual outlet when they can’t attract women. For some reason, there have always been those among us willing to be treated like interchangeable fuck holes, in exchange for the perverse thrill of seducing a straight man, to have our genders ignored and our identities overlooked for the sake of quick, noncommittal sex.
There is nothing gay, as “straight” dudes have theorized for millenia, about getting your dick sucked. A hole is a hole. The real faggot is the bottom, the one who is penetrated, the one who stands in for “the woman” (who, of course, the straight man always keeps in mind!). This attitude is called the “active-passive split.” Like many of the odder tricks of human psychology, I find it endlessly fascinating and perversely hot. The idea that in a male-male sexual interaction only one of the principles is engaged in homosexual behavior is so bizarre, so irrational. What mental gymnastics are necessary to maintain it? I cannot pretend to know.
What I do know is that now straight men are discovering queer trans men as potential sexual objects, and that dynamic is even more fucked. Queer men have always been looked upon as not quite men by heterosexual society. How much more in question is the maleness of queer men who are also transgender? When you add transphobia (and misplaced sexism) to an already healthy dose of homophobia, the resultant brew is potent indeed.
On Craigslist (and elsewhere) one can find ads from cis men (mostly straight or ‘bi-curious’) seeking trans men for NSA sex. These ads frequently request that the trans man be young, slender, and clean-shaven. Some specify that he should still have “breasts.” Virtually all of them make clear that he is expected to retain his “original plumbing”– and that these parts are assumed to be available for penetration. Transgender men posting ads for cis men either seek to capitalize on meeting the criteria of being young, slender, smooth, pre-op bottoms, or else defensively specify the ways in which they do not fit these expectations (because of being hairy, muscular or fat, post-op, or tops).
The impression I gained was of a bit of a depressing scene, fueled as it often seemed to be by straight men seeking trans men to use like surrogates for women. But I don’t wish to judge the participants– well, not the trans participants, anyway. Personally I avoid the closet-y attentions of “straight” or “bi-curious” cis males who are a little too interested in my surgical status, a little too concerned that my pretty-boy face remain clean shaven. But then again, it’s been awhile since I was interested in one-time hook-ups. I prefer long-term fuck buddies these days. And the reality of tricking around is that a decent personality isn’t a requirement for a quick fuck.
For trans people, getting laid can be difficult (though not as difficult as it’s often made out to be). When so many potential partners who show promise initially turn out to be cissexist dead ends, why not skip all that heartbreak and false hope, and keep things on a cynical, casual basis? Tricking around can actually make good sense as a way to preserve dignity as a trans person, compared to the risk of taking a long-term partner who may try to control aspects of one’s transition. Sadly, with cisgender (and sometimes even transgender!) partners, such controlling relationships are rather common.
Another perverse perk of one-night stands with straight guys: that whole ungendering, “fuck me from behind and pretend I’m a girl” bit… well, it’s bizarre, oppressive and intensely screwed up for sure, but it’s also kind of hot. My personal preference, when I want to indulge in that type of dynamic, is to do so as a consensual role play with somebody who I happen to know is not a jerk in real life. But in a relationship limited to one night, wherein real life has little time to intrude on fantasy, is not so very different from that in a way.
So what does it mean that we keep on fucking these guys? Are we enabling homophobes and transphobes and collaborating in our own oppression? Or can fucking straight guys be seen as subversive, as using the dominant element to our own ends? I don’t think I can answer that question, not definitively, not across the board. I don’t really even know if the answer is important. I would rather condemn bigots and closet-cases than the men who fetishize them, though of course in a perfect world they would not exist, and neither would the fetish.
As long as there is no perfect world, I think that sex and hate will probably coincide. Maybe we should be protesting cissexism and homophobia by not fucking bigots, Lysistrata-style, but I don’t think such a boycott is imminent. For the foreseeable future, I think some of us will be bringing comfort to the enemy. And maybe that’s OK, so long as the enemy brings comfort to us, whether they want to or not.