Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Can The Rick and Maya B&B Relationship Lead To An Enlightened Attitude Toward Trans Relationships?

Yesterday Maya Avant told her boyfriend Rick Forrester on the CBS soap 'The Bold and the Beautiful that she is trans.

Rick didn't take the news well initially, but when Maya was about to walk out of the door of that Big Bear cabin and out of his life forever with her heart breaking in the process, Rick once again declared his love for her.

We'll see how the rest of their relationship transpires, especially as media mogul Bill Spencer is about to blast Maya's trans business all over the tabloids in upcoming episodes along with the various reactions of the B&B characters to that news..

But the happy tears I was shedding as this episode transpired led to me doing some hard solid thinking in the wake of it.   I know that many relationships in which a cis man dates a trans woman don't survive her telling her partner, and in far too many instances, the trans woman faces the risk of intimate partner violence when she does disclose her status.

But the other question I pondered in the wake of this broadcast is will the broadcast of the Maya and Rick romance finally lead to a honest discussion about the stigma and attacks on their masculinity that cis men like Rick endure for dating a trans woman they love and the attacks on the femininity of the trans women that are the objects of their affection?

While we have instances in our community in which you have couples like Myles and Precious who are trans masculine and trans feminine people who love each other enough they are engaged to be married, far more prevalent are hetero normative relationships in which a trans man is coupled with a cis feminine partner and a cis man is coupled with a trans feminine partner.

It's been happening ever since Christine Jorgensen stepped off the airplane from Denmark in 1953 and Cupid's arrows stared targeting their hearts.  

Pioneering French trans woman Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy married her first husband at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral in 1960.

But that was in an era before the TERF's started attacking the femininity of trans women in the early 70's, and the rise of the gay rights movement led to a social conservative backlash and attack on the human rights of LGBT people.

The bottom line is that trans men are MEN, and trans women are WOMEN, but for far too long cis men who love us enough to pursue us and put a ring on our fingers have had their masculinity questioned.  

Some of those cis men have even experienced the discrimination their trans partners get as the trans women, especially if their trans partner was low or no disclosure until yanked into the spotlight.   And as Mister Cee discovered, your masculinity, especially when it is revealed that you like trans women, is rigidly and at times viciously policed.

That scrutiny and hostility is magnified if you are a cis man who admits that you like and prefer dating trans women as my brother Troy has pointed out to me in numerous conversations over the years.

Even Hollywood has demonized trans women and the men who love us.  The movie Ted 2 has a scene in which derogatory comments are made by the teddy bear when he finds out his friend has trans porn on his computer.

We need to have an ongoing conversation about our relationships in which the baseline for having it is that our femininity as trans women is not erased and the cis men who prefer us as their partners are not demonized for doing so. 

The cis men who love us are going to have to step up and meet us trans women halfway.  They are going to have to come out of the shadows and say in no uncertain terms they love us, we are the women they want to marry, and to kiss their behinds if you don't like it.  

If a soap opera storyline can lead to an enlightened conversation about a real world issue, then by all means lets get that conversation started.

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