Attraction to transgender people

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Romantic and/or sexual attraction to transgender people can be toward trans men, trans women, non-binary people, or a combination of these. This attraction can be a person's occasional, or exclusive interest.

Like transgender people, individuals attracted to transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, queer, or with none of these categories; they may identify as transgender or cisgender.


There are a variety of terms, inside both the transgender and academic communities, for people who are attracted to transgender people. These terms include admirer, transfan, trans* catcher, trans* erotic, transsensual, transoriented,[1] tranny chaser, tranny hawk,[2] though the final two may be considered offensive because the term tranny is considered a slur by many.[3][4]

The term tranny chaser was originally (and still predominantly) used to describe men sexually interested in visibly trans women, but it is now used by some trans men as well. Transgender people often use the term in a pejorative sense, because they consider chasers to value them for their trans status alone, rather than being attracted to them as a person.[5] However, some claim this term in an affirming manner.[6]

Less pejorative terms such as transamorous and transsensual have also emerged, but they have not seen much usage.[5]

The term skoliosexual has been used to describe attraction to non-binary people.[7][8]

Academic terms[edit]

In 1984, John Money and Malgorzata Lamacz used gynemimesis to refer to when "a person with male anatomy and morphology lives in society as a woman" and gynemimetophilia to refer to the sexual interest in such people. They analogously proposed andromimesis to describe people with female anatomy living as men and andromimetophilia, the sexual interest in them.[9]

In 1993, Ray Blanchard and Peter Collins conducted an analysis of 119 profiles in voicemail-based personal ad system of people seeking romantic or sexual partners and indicating an interest in cross-dressing or cross-dressers. The analyses revealed three groups: gynandromorphophiles, gynandromorphophilic cross-dressers, and residual cross-dressers.[10]

Martin S. Weinberg and Colin J. Williams proposed the term men sexually interested in transwomen (MSTW) to describe the phenomenon among men.[11]

Scientific study[edit]

In surveys of men who engage in sex with trans women, 73%[12] to 92%[13] identified their sexual identity as straight or bisexual.

A 2015 study used the penile plethysmograph to measure bloodflow to the penis of men who self-report attraction to trans women, and concluded that arousal patterns, genital and subjective, of men who self-report attraction to trans women are similar to those of straight men, and different from those of gay men. They differ from both straight and gay men, however, in displaying strong arousal to stimuli featuring trans women, which in this group was as arousing as the stimuli featuring cisgender women. The study also concluded that such men are more likely to have autogynephilia (to "eroticize the idea of being a woman").[14]

Scientists classify having a sexual preference for transgender people as a paraphilia,[15] but it is not diagnosable as a mental illness or paraphilic disorder.[16]

Social views[edit]

According to Jeffrey Escoffier of the Centre for Gay and Lesbian Studies of CUNY, sexual interest in trans women first emerged in 1953, associated with the then famous transition of Christine Jorgensen.[17] It was after sex reassignment surgery became more feasible over the 1960s that sexual orientation came to be re-conceptualized as distinct from gender identity and cross-dressing.

In an article in the Journal of Homosexuality, Tompkins argued that a sex-positive trans politics cannot emerge if terms such as “tranny chaser” informed discussion of attraction to transgender people.[5]

Erotic materials created for people attracted to trans men have become more visible, especially due to pornographic actor Buck Angel,[18] the majority of whose fans are gay men.[19] Trans activist Jamison Green writes that cisgender gay men who are partnered with trans men "are often surprised to find that a penis is not what defines a man, that the lack of a penis does not mean a lack of masculinity, manliness, or male sexuality."[20] Gay author Andrew Sullivan has criticized the idea that gay men should necessarily be attracted to trans men, arguing that sexual orientation is based on biological sex, not gender identity.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Description of Transoriented Guys -". Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  2. ^ Baker, Paul (2004). Fantabulosa: A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang. Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-7343-1
  3. ^ Staff report (4 January 2010). Paper guilty of transsexual slur. BBC News
  4. ^ Lennard, Natasha (7 April 2010). Transgender Film Draws Protests at Festival Site. The New York Times
  5. ^ a b c Tompkins, Avery Brooks (2 December 2013). ""There's No Chasing Involved": Cis/Trans Relationships, "Tranny Chasers," and the Future of a Sex-Positive Trans Politics". Journal of Homosexuality. 61 (5): 766–780. doi:10.1080/00918369.2014.870448. PMID 24294827.
  6. ^ Green, Eli; Eric Peterson. "LGBTTSQI Terminology & Definitions". Trans academics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  7. ^ Michelson, Noah (16 October 2015). "What's a Skoliosexual?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  8. ^ Anderson-Minshall, Jacob (18 May 2017). "Is Fetishizing Trans Bodies Offensive?". The Advocate. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  9. ^ Money, J; M. Lamacz (1984). "Gynemimesis and gynemimetophilia: Individual and cross-cultural manifestations of a gender-coping strategy hitherto unnamed". Comprehensive Psychiatry. 25 (4): 392–403. doi:10.1016/0010-440x(84)90074-9. PMID 6467919.
  10. ^ Blanchard, R.; Collins, P. I. (1993). "Men with sexual interest in transvestites, transsexuals, and she-males". Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 181 (9): 570–575. doi:10.1097/00005053-199309000-00008. PMID 8245926.
  11. ^ Weinberg, M. S.; Williams, C. J. (2010). "Men Sexually Interested in Transwomen (MSTW): Gendered Embodiment and the Construction of Sexual Desire". Journal of Sex Research. 47 (4): 374–383. doi:10.1080/00224490903050568. PMID 19544216.
  12. ^ Operario, D.; Burton, J.; Underhill, K.; Sevelius, J. (2008). "Men who have sex with transgender women: Challenges to category-based HIV prevention". AIDS and Behavior. 12 (1): 18–26. doi:10.1007/s10461-007-9303-y. PMID 17705095.
  13. ^ Tracy Clark-Flory (23 October 2011). "What's Behind Transsexual Attraction?".
  14. ^ Kevin J Hsu; David Miller; J. Michael Bailey (2015). "Who are gynandromorphophilic men? Characterizing men with sexual interest in transgender women". Psychological Medicine. 46 (4): 819–27. doi:10.1017/S0033291715002317. PMID 26498424.
  15. ^ Richard Laws, D; O'Donohue, William T (7 January 2008). Sexual Deviance, Second Edition: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment. ISBN 9781593856052.
  16. ^ American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC.
  17. ^ Escoffier, J (2011). "Imagining the she/male: Pornography and the transsexualization of the heterosexual male". Studies in Gender and Sexuality. 12 (4): 268–281. doi:10.1080/15240657.2011.610230.
  18. ^ Richardson, Niall (2010). Transgressive Bodies: Representations in Film and Popular Culture. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 9780754676225
  19. ^ "The Many Sides of Buck Angel". GayCalgary. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  20. ^ Green, Jamison (2004). Becoming a Visible Man. Nashville, Tennessee: Vanderbilt University Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-826-51456-1. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  21. ^ "The Nature of Sex". New York Magazine Intelligencer. Retrieved 8 August 2019.

Further reading[edit]