I’ve been beat up by a chick I once l “dated” because when she told me she was pre-op trans on the second date and while trying to hold back a panic attack, very calmly said “I have issues with male genitalia. Is it ok if we don’t get intimate genital-wise until you’re post-op?” and she went off on me, yelling at me saying I should enjoy her penis because its a part of her. I told her I understood that and explained that it’s only our second date. I explained that I’m a rape survivor and that I was raped simply because I turned a man down for a date, saying that I like girls, and ever since, male genitals make me have panic attacks. She didn’t like this, yelled some more, hit me, then threatened to ruin me. Thankfully I never heard from her again. Im sorry I don’t like your current genitalia, it’s nothing personal. All lesbians have a right to this mindset, rape survivors or not, because guess what lesbians like? Women. Biological women. I’m sure you can find someone that doesn’t mind and can look past it, but if someone can’t, it doesn’t mean she’s transphobic, it doesn’t mean she hates you, it doesn’t mean she needs to die, it doesn’t mean you need to harass her.
Ok, I agree with all of this and I’m reblogging here because not respecting people’s boundaries and/or trying to force people to push beyond their boundaries is ALWAYS terrible and this is definitely a rape culture thing. Screaming at someone and beating them up because they have panic attacks over penises is appallingly awful and expecting someone to just get over trauma like that because you want them to is a serious rape culture issue that needs to not be happening. Harassing people is never ok and nobody ever deserves to be harassed for any reason. Beyond that, abusing a trauma victim/survivor when ze has just revealed this incredibly personal bit of information is atrocious beyond words.
This is where this response should have stopped. Right here. Everything rapeculturerealities wrote past this point is victim blaming. Yes, yes, I know you say you just wanted to point out that the trans woman was probably triggered by the victim’s phrasing. But by doing it here - after the OP has explained that she is triggered by male genitalia, that she was having a panic attack, was trying to set a boundary (she was willing to continue the relationship, she wasn’t rejecting the trans woman), and that the other woman’s reaction was to PHYSICALLY ASSAULT HER - explicitly excuses the violent reaction by the date.
I was told the same thing, when my ex used to beat me up. He would scream that I was a transphobic bitch, a horrible person, a bigot and a shit, if I wasn’t enthusiastic enough about how he looked in his binder or happy about the changes the hormones were creating in his genitals. He blamed me when people assumed we were a lesbian (rather than heterosexual) couple because I wasn’t being “feminine” enough to support his presentation. And he backed up his shouting with his fists and feet.
When I went to my friends about this, confided that I was being abused, I was told that it was my fault. Because I wasn’t being supportive enough. Because I still thought of myself a lesbian. Because I struggled to remain attracted to his changing body as he became more and more masculine. Because I found his masculinity in intimate situations incredibly disturbing - dare I even say it, triggering. And I was told, by both my friends and his therapist, that if I tried to say I didn’t want something, I would be damaging him and his progress. I would be showing how bigoted and transphobic I was. Let alone leaving him - how could I reject someone “just for being trans?” I was a douche, I was a bigot, I was a bitch, I was a terrible human being and every time my ex hit me, I must have done something to deserve it.
I want to note that I didn’t start dating a trans man. When I got together with my ex, she was a butch lesbian. She used “she” pronouns and her birth name. She told me she was transitioning three months in to our relationship, and I later learned she’d already been in the process for over a year when we met. See what this relationship, and the reactions of the community around us, did to me? Years later, I still feel like I have to excuse myself. I still feel like I deserved it, that if I had been a better or nicer or more accepting person he wouldn’t have beaten me. I still believe at some level that it was my fault.
I wasn’t allowed to set my own boundaries, and this was backed up by medical professionals and my community. The only thing that mattered, apparently, was what my ex wanted. The only thing that mattered was how he identified. And so I, in order to be a “good person,” was expected to dress the way he wanted me to, to act the way he wanted me to, to have sex the way he wanted me to, and to identify the way he wanted me to. He was a straight man, so I had to become a straight woman. Never mind how hard I’d fought for my identity as a lesbian.
And when I eventually got up the courage to leave him, he put me in the hospital. That’s what I got, for trying to set my boundaries. For finally being able to say “I am a lesbian and I do not want to be with a man.”
And so all of the rest of what you said, rapeculturerealities, is something I’ve heard before. It’s victim-blaming, guilt-inducing rhetoric. In your eyes and in the eyes of so many trans activists on Tumblr, lesbians particularly and women in general are not allowed to define ourselves. We are not allowed to set our boundaries because it might make a trans person upset. When we say no, we’re told we’re bigots. When we say no, we’re told we need to get over ourselves. When we say no, we are ignored.
This is rape culture. And it needs to stop.
(rapeculturerealities original victim-blaming lecture is below the cut.)