The attitude within our community towards 'admirers' - people who find transgender people attractive - is not always a positive one. Tales are told of evading spaghetti-armed pests in gay clubs, and of some members of our community whose pursuit of one-night-stands, we are told, demeans us all. I am aware of at least one support group that as a result has a policy of not allowing (genetic) men presenting as male to attend, something that would have prevented me from attending a year ago had the Swindon group had it and that I know caused problems for a long-time-post-op friend when she went along with her perfectly normal bloke husband.
I've encountered a few admirers myself, and none of them lived up to the stereotype. Amiable middle-aged blokes, not my kind of romantic interest at all even if I was in the market but I'm very happy for the full-time-TV of my acquaintance who's heading for a civil partnership with one of them. I had a slightly surreal in-depth conversation about Rusty Old Wrecks and other machinery with another last summer, gosh how girly I have become!
Another admirer of my acquantance is a bit different from the stereotype too. She's a vivacious and attractive twenty-something girl who very much prefers her partner to be presenting as female rather than male. I'm fully aware that my attitude towards her is completely different to that I have towards male admirers and as a result I find she has challenged some of my assumptions on the subject. Being challenged is good, so I thought I'd share.
So as someone who's grown up with a lifetime supply of testosterone and a full set of male gender conditioning classes the idea of being 'admired' by a gay bloke is a little uncomfortable, while that of being 'admired' by a heterosexual girl isn't. Do I detect some double standards and an air of repressed homophobia about it all? Perhaps, and if so it's a fleeting view of myself I don't like. The next time I hear a lurid tale of someone's narrow escape at Pink Punters, perhaps I'll ask them what on earth they expected might happen if they attended a gay nightclub wearing rather risquée clothing, and the next time I end up having a surreal chat with a harmless admirer I'll simply remind myself that this is another thing millions of women everywhere have to put up with all the time. I just hope my twenty-something self was enough of a gentleman with respect to the non-trans women of my acquaintance when I was doing something similar.