Can sexual preference= transphobia? Im a cis woman, almost exclusively attracted to AFAB ppl (incl women + NB ppl) So Im attracted to women, but since Im generally not attracted to AMAB bodies, this cld mean that I wouldnt be attracted to transwomen. (1/2)

q cont: "I see transwomen as women (which they are!) however I cant help having a sexual preference which favours + excludes certain different types of bodies. Therefore, is it transphobic to say 'I can be attracted to cis-women but generally not transwomen' ? (2/2)"
Firstly: you're assuming you know what a trans woman's body will look like. You assume you know what body parts she may or may not have. You need to have a serious think about why this is.
What is it about "AMAB bodies" that you aren't attracted to? Not all amab or afab people have the same bodies. There exist so many variations in people's physical characteristics that lumping bodies into those two categories is obsolete anyway. To assume that all amab or afab people will have certain characteristics, rather than just defining the characteristics you're attracted to, is kind of a weird way to go about it. It's inherently cissexist, transphobic, and buys into the concept of an infallible sex binary that just doesn't exist.
(Also: "cis women" with a space, but "transwomen" without one - why? "Trans" is an adjective just like "cis" is.)
I'm going to take a not-too-far leap and assume you're talking about being attracted, or not attracted, to certain genitalia. If so, examine your thought processes. When you see someone presenting feminine, does your mind immediately jump to what genitals they have before you consider whether or not you find them attractive? Or do you simply presume, based on other physical characteristics (what might be termed 'secondary sex characteristics')? If the latter, that's a cissexist presumption. Sure, we all do it. But we need to make sure we think twice.
Wanting to engage in certain sex acts, or interact with certain body parts, is a preference of sexual behaviour. It's not the same as attraction. If you met a cis woman who didn't want anyone to interact with her vagina, but loved anal sex, and you weren't into that, would you define yourself as not attracted to cis women because of that? You’re allowed to have preferences about what sex acts you want to indulge in and which ones you don’t, but don't conflate that with attraction.
Also: I'm sure you personally aren't violently transmisogynistic, but the same things that lead you to ask these questions are the things that lead to trans women's deaths. This sexuality related disgust is shared by men who treat trans women (especially trans women of colour) as sex objects. This disgust is by far the most common cause of their brutal murders.
I feel like you asked this question to be reassured that you're not transphobic/transmisogynistic. I'm not going to do that here. We /all/ are. We can't be uncritical about our assumptions and attractions. We all need to deconstruct the societal cissexism we've internalised.
Think about people, not bodies. Don't generalise physical characteristics to groups of people. And thanks for asking this question and being open to interrogating your own sexuality.
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Latest answers from Make No Assumptions

Any thoughts on the rediculousness that is the Drop the T petition?

Heya! this article is a good'un: http://getrealcambridge.com/2015/11/14/support-the-t-solidarity/
Basically the whole "gender and sexuality are different separate things!!!" concept is relatively very very recent and very white-western-specific. There are also, even specifically within US/UK history, pinpointable moments - eg depathologisation of homosexuality - where cis LGB people deliberately made the decision to leave trans people behind in the queer rights movement (which was often, until the 80s/90s, just called "gay rights" - this didn't just refer to cis gay people but used to apply to a whole nebula of identities/expressions/behaviours/principles!) and therefore this whole petition thing and the ideas surrounding it are just playing back into those same trans exclusionary ideas.

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OK thanks. It's just that I am unable to attend events in certain circumstanes, e.g. where people will be bringing their own food, due to sensory issues, and am not sure whether this would constitute an access requirement or is just something I should "get over"!

Ah no that's definitely definitely an access issue! As an autistic person I feel you v much on that (eg where there are overwhelming food smells and stuff!). That's definitely a valid thing to bring up as part of access, and if you have any suggestions as to how we can address this re access statements other than stating whether there will or will not be food/drink, do let me know!

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Hi, I'm not sure how much control you have over this, but as you've been talking quite a lot about accessibility for the TAM events on facebook, I wondered whether you were talking mainly or exclusively about physical/hearing/sight?

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The DSC use a definition of disability that does mean anything, physical/mental/both, that might lead someone to self-define as disabled. As such we've paid attention to physical accessibility (wheelchair/level access, hearing loops, etc) but also to accessibility in terms of mental health, e.g. whether there is a quiet space available at events. We also try and use trigger warnings during our events where they are necessary.
We're totally open to suggestions of how we can do accessibility better/more holistically, so if you have any, or think there's stuff we're missing, please do let us know!

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"I'm pretty sure I can't be romantically attracted to men" - what I really meant was, how can that be possible, given that men have literally nothing in common but being men? As in, if you manage to view people as their true gender, then why would anyone be attracted to just some genders?

I don't understand this question. I've had relationships/interactions of various kinds with men who are trans and cis, men who are gay and straight and bi and pan and questioning, and what links them all is that they identify as men.
I see them as men because they are men, and I personally am not romantically attracted to them. I can't guarantee whether that will change or not, of course, but it's the one thing they share so far.
"Nothing in common but being men" is, actually, a Thing. It's somewhat hard to describe or explain in abstraction, and the only way I can really give to experience what I'm saying about seeing others' genders - and this NOT actually then making gender seem unimportant or irrelevant at all - is to keep deconstructing your ideas of gender and your own cissexism, as I'm still doing.
But I don't see how romantic attraction orientation is particularly linked with anything other than gender? Apart from, like, personality? Which is the same whether you see someone's actual gender or not.
Sexual attraction is a slightly different question, of course. Lots of the cissexism that arises from discussions of sexual orientation is attraction to/preferences for certain body types, body parts, etc. That isn't so much true with romantic orientation (in cases where they can be separated, which isn't for everyone).
I don't know. Why is anything a 'turn-on' or a 'turn-off', whether romantically or sexually or platonically or otherwise? Some things can be explained by an actual *dislike* of certain traits or whatever, but not all things, by any means. Gender is one of those. I'd guess the vast majority of people "see" gender in some form, whether they're seeing it "wrong" or "right" (or "sort of a bit ok" - I doubt many people see it perfectly "right" including me!), and that perception informs our attractions, or lack of them. I still "see" gender as much as I always have, I just see it differently, with different parameters and different norms, informed by people's own self-identification. And it still informs how and whether I'm attracted, or not, to people.
Sorry that this is a really rambly/confused answer - I don't know if my autism is making this a trickier question to answer :')

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just ordered a binder for the first time after months of thinking about it. I really really want one and can't wait to experiment with it but as soon as I ordered it I felt sick/ guilty/ like I've done something wrong. also I'm not sure what my gender is- I openly ID as cis but think I'm genderfluid

The reason it took me so long to ID as non binary was guilt. I was scared of appropriating an identity or oppression that wasn't mine. I STILL get self doubt thoughts where I tell myself I'm not "really trans" - everyone does. The world gives us this incredibly powerful impetus to be "normal" and make us feel like imposters if we seek anything outside of that. It's bullshit. I promise you don't ever have to feel guilty - the ONLY thing that defines you is you. You can choose how to ID, or not to at all, and it's still all valid and presenting in any way at all doesn't invalidate that (nor does being open or otherwise). There is nothing to appropriate or feel guilty for. <3

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How does being "heterosexual" or "homosexual" or having any other preference for particular genders make any sense? I thought that literally the only thing that all people of one gender have in common was identifying as that gender, which to me seems a very strange reason to be attracted to someone.

This is a tricky question for me as a bisexual who has no preference other than that I'm pretty sure I can't be romantically attracted to men, but I'll give it a go.
People (cis or trans, tbh) who haven't spent that much time with trans people or in trans communities seem to always have this hangup about gender. Like, if people don't look like what we're taught from birth a person of their gender looks like, you're worried about accidentally misgendering them, or not seeing them as their gender (which is, yknow, understandable. We're all socialised into the cisnormative bullshit).
The weird thing is that people don't, like... see *beyond* this? You don't look forward and see a day where you'll have deconstructed stereotypical gender assumptions far enough to automatically see people as their actual genders once you know them. Idk, am I right? Does that just seem unreachable, or is there another reason why not?
Anyway, as a trans person who was totally in this place a little over a year ago, I can tell you that with time, your perception DOES change. You do, genuinely, learn to see women as women, men as men, and everyone else as neither +/ whatever gender they are. Never mind if they have boobs or not, long hair or not, if they have a full-ass beard or not. Stereotypically gendered parts of people's appearances lose their importance in determining how you understand someone's gender.
Obviously I'm not saying this is super smooth sailing or that I don't still make cissexist assumptions about gender (I do, especially strangers' genders) BUT it does happen, especially when you get to know someone. My brain sees no contradiction in looking at multiple people of the same gender - some of whom (I hate this word) """""pass""""" as their gender in everyday society, some of whom get double-takes or are read ambiguously, some of whom are literally never read as anything other than their gender assigned at birth - and reading them all, instinctively, as the same gender. Because they are that gender.
I'm not saying there isn't a hell of a lot of deconstruction of our cultural understandings of sexuality that *needs* to happen, but sexuality under straight/gay frameworks can and does still apply, where people want it to.

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i feel really bad about myself because if i could be interested in touching penises in a sexual context, i would. penises just kinda look like feet or potatoes, and i'm not going to be mean to someone for having an extra foot, but giving foot rubs does nothing for me. (1/2)

(2/2) like i recognize that this preference is wrong and i wanna unlearn it. i've tried hypnosis but that just gave me a migrane. any tips for making my sexual desires more open & progressive?
Firstly, thinking of your own sexual desires as "progressive" is kinda... weird? Also *preferences*, in and of themselves, are less the "wrong" thing than the assumptions everyone makes when asking the am-I-transphobic-for-this-sexual-attraction question.
I've found some really really good answers to the am-I-transphobic-for-this-sexual-attraction question, so I'm just gonna link those here:
http://tobitastic.tumblr.com/post/123904581326/on-the-topic-of-is-this-transphobic-im-ftm
http://tobitastic.tumblr.com/post/124934130446/so-am-i-wrong-if-im-attracted-to-trans-and-cis
http://tobitastic.tumblr.com/post/126347834906/using-the-vaginas-are-a-turnoff-and-depending-on
http://tobitastic.tumblr.com/post/123914624506/is-this-something-that-you-think-i-am-doing

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Sorry if this sounds TERFY but I'm confused. When someone says, "I identify as a woman" what are they identifying with, if not gender stereotypes? And if a woman is anyone who identifies as one, doesn't that mean woman is meaningless, so people are identifying with a vague abstract concept?

You'd have to ask a woman, to be honest. Not just a trans woman, for that matter - if people are ok with you asking questions about their gender (check!), ask anyone, cis or trans or neither. And yes, a woman is anyone who identifies as one, but I'd say it's arguable that the act of identifying in and of itself lends meaning to the concept or womanhood? On the flip side, would it matter if woman & man were "meaningless" words? Welcome to gender (which is also a vague abstract concept, incidentally).

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Thanks for the links regarding gender and colonialism, after reading them it seems to me that the western binary understanding's dominance in societal understanding and language make it hard to accurately portray other cultural understandings of gender. Is there a way to explain to people (cont...)

(cont) about other gender systems without reverting to language inherently linked to western understandings? Can you suggest ways that people who have grown up with and in societies with a white/western understanding of gender can adapt their language to be moremore inclusive of/sensitive to non-binary/non-western gender identities?
~
Sorry it's taken so long to answer this question - I was trying to ask around to see if anyone knows of any writing on this, but didn't find any. Basically, yeah, this is a massive massive problem with all anthropology etc ever - white people always see things from our viewpoint, always frame things in terms we understand, and in doing so violently erase and harm people of colour.
Basically, my only real suggestion (and bear in mind of course this is coming *from* a white person who's grown up in the UK, so I don't have any further insight than anyone else!) is just to listen to people, and call them what they ask to be called. I know I'm always recommending b binaohan, but they've said some great/helpful stuff relating to this.
Sorry to be super unhelpful!
Thanks for asking the question though! I'll put it into the plan for questions at our Decolonising Gender talk, so hopefully will have a better answer for you after that than I can give!

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