We are not objects to have secret sex with, to discard and to laugh at on the radio or the gossip blogosphere.We are worthy of being seen and are not dirty or shameful.

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Thousands of words have been dedicated to analyzing whether such and such famous man is now suspect, merely because he took a photo with a fan who happened to be a trans woman.

This questioning has led many well-known men to adamantly defend their heterosexuality and has tarnished the reputation and careers of others.

A virgin, therefore, is the ultimate expression of virtue and goodness (and thus priceless) and any woman who has an excessive number of sex partners (for a suitably subjective value of “excessive”) is degraded.

(Which admittedly brings up the question of just who these studs are supposed to be racking up all these lays with, but that’s a matter for another time.) Even in this day and age when women are closer to social and sexual equity than they have ever been before, the double-standard still exists; the ultimate insults to label a woman are “slut” and “prude”.

Those questions regarding Aaron’s sexuality are constant and fraught with assumptions that this essay can’t begin to unpack, and for a man less secure it can be difficult navigating these questions, especially if you also perceive the women you’re attracted to as shameful, as less-than-human objects you must keep secret at all costs.

It’s important that we begin truly accepting trans women as who they are, women.

For a man to be associated with a trans women, in effect, is to say that he is no longer a “real” man (as if such a thing exists) because he sleeps with “fake” women (as if such a thing exists). As there are many kinds of women, there are many kinds of men, and many men desire many kinds of women, trans women are amongst these women. The shame that society attaches to these men, specifically attacking their sexuality and shaming their attraction, directly affects trans women. It amplifies our body-image issues, our self-esteem, our sense of possibility, of daring for greatness, of aiming for something or somewhere greater.

RELATED VIDEO: MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry quotes this piece in her “Letter of Week” The comments and conversations surrounding hip-hop DJ Mister Cee’s sex scandal-turned-resignation has been appalling, and has led me to this essay, which isn’t about him soliciting sex from someone he perceived as a trans woman. If a young trans woman believes that the only way she can share intimate space with a man is through secret hookups, bootycalls or transaction, she will be led to engage in risky sexual behaviors that make her more vulnerable to criminalization, disease and violence; she will be led to coddle a man who takes out his frustrations about his sexuality on her with his fists; she will be led to question whether she’s worthy enough to protect herself with a condom when a man tells her he loves her; she will be led to believe that she is not worthy of being seen, that being seen heightens her risk of violence therefore she must hide who she is at all costs in order to survive.

In effect, we’re telling trans women that they are only deserving of secret interactions with men, further demeaning and stigmatizing trans women.