Transgender people: reasons for interest and embarrassment

As a rule, when encountering a transgender person, people feel uncomfortable and often look away. We did a little research to understand what makes us so uncomfortable when confronted with ambiguous sexuality.

Key insights

  • Transgender people force us to confront a reality we have a hard time accepting: there is something feminine in every man and something masculine in every woman.
  • The desire for sexual intimacy with a transsexual can mask a repressed desire for a homosexual experience.
  • Judgment and embarrassment toward transgender people are most often nothing more than a mask: we do not want to show them our sympathy.

She has long legs and a mop of red hair, clear skin and clear eyes. She’s walking down the street, and everyone she meets turns around and looks behind her. But not because she is 5’7″, but because she is a transsexual. Or rather, transsexual, as she prefers to call herself. Biologically male, psychologically female. We encounter them in ordinary life, too, these women-not-women for whom the skirt is almost always a hard-won victory: very bright makeup, flashy clothes, a husky voice, and gesticulation that deliberately emphasizes how proud he or she is of being transgender. Such encounters often make us feel uncomfortable in ways we cannot explain to ourselves: a sexuality we do not understand is attractive, irritating, contemptuous, or curiosity-inducing. Even more so when transsexuals themselves are far from showing off. They try on “normal roles,” and this overturns our beliefs, makes us doubt ourselves, creates confusion whose origins we cannot explain to ourselves.

Suppressed Reality.

“Attraction, like confusion, is born of ambiguity,” explains philosopher Antonella Lacarbonara. – In transsexuals, the masculine and feminine come together at the same point, which is impossible not to notice. This is what confronts us with a reality that we do not like very much: the awareness that in every woman there is something masculine and in every man something feminine.

To understand what the people around them think about transsexuals, the Italian Psychologies asked a question to their relatives, acquaintances, relatives. All of them answered roughly the following: “I have never had any special reason to like them or hate them, but their ambivalence does not leave me indifferent, and I cannot explain to myself the reason.” Or: “I hate to see a woman like me, often prettier and brighter than me, knowing that it is actually a man. Or: “Homosexuality does not embarrass me at all, I even know several homosexual couples. But what I feel about transsexuals is hard for me to express: some intrigue me, some annoy me, maybe because I’m a woman and I feel that there’s something about them that I don’t have. Some extra trump card.”

The dream of being 100 percent sexy

A mix of different reactions (sometimes completely opposite), which, when faced with a transgender person, can coexist in a person quite haphazardly. The psychologist Riccardo Galiani makes this situation clear: “Transsexuals seem to have the ability to transcend the boundaries of the predetermined, to transcend the difference between the sexes. It is as if they deny the eternal, immutable and rigid division between men and women. This is precisely the central point of their sexuality. “It is as if they possess an exhaustive sexuality, which is unconsciously the dream of all of us: the dream of omnipotence,” Riccardo Galiani argues. One hundred percent sexuality, physical and psychological. The transsexual is the embodiment of this, unlike us: those who are on one or the other side of the scales from the beginning, from birth. “In addition, our attitude toward transsexuals is akin to that of a curious child who is afraid of everything unknown,” Antonella Lacarbonara specifies. – At the same time, we also have the same childlike desire to peek through the keyhole to try to explore what frightens and inexorably attracts us. Evidence of this is the number of searches on search engines. Demand breeds supply, and there is plenty of it.

A form of self-defense

It could be argued that getting close to a transsexual person is fairly safe: we are not too out of touch with our own sexuality, we can continue to deny more or less consciously wanting a homosexual experience. Transsexuals, on the other hand, can be harshly resented. “I don’t want to sound like someone who condemns differences. But transgender people make me feel resentful for the entire male gender”: here’s another opinion, this time by a man. Paradoxically, though, it may not be indicative of what is being declared. “The reproach, the disgust, is most often a mask that shows that the interest (attraction) is much deeper than it seems,” explains Riccardo Galiani. Denial or disgust can actually be a form of self-protection, which allows one not to focus on uncomfortable desires/impulses/interests that conflict with an accepted and desired heterosexuality. Usually, after all, the most zealous detractors and censors turn out to be those who are most attracted to what they rebuke and censure. This is also important in relation to transsexuals, who actually bring us back to the myth that anything is possible.

Transsexual, bisexual, transgender

  • In a world of fluid sexuality, it can often be difficult to know who is who. The differences are sometimes very subtle, but they clearly define the different directions of sexual orientation. A little guide to help make sense of it.
  • Transsexual. A person who feels they belong to the opposite sex. The concept of transsexuality includes both directions: “MtF,” which is male to female, and “FtM,” which is female to male.
  • Transgender. A person who is “between the two sexes” and who has not yet made the decision to have sex reassignment surgery.
  • Transvestite. A person who feels sexual satisfaction from wearing clothing normally worn by the opposite sex; however, this person has no intention of changing sex.
  • Homosexual. A person who experiences attraction to members of his or her own sex. The term comes from the word “homos”, translated from the Greek as “the same”.
  • Bisexual. A person who is emotionally involved and has sex with both sexes. Sometimes bisexuality is interpreted as a screen with which to avoid admitting one’s homosexuality, to some degree latent.

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