Sometimes I wonder if the people who invented the internet ever considered the consequences of their life-changing, history-making endeavor. It has provided people with the opportunity to type their hottest takes and post them for all the world to see. Surely, this can't always be good.
It has given way to hate speech, misinformation, and just plain old ignorance. In recent years, the transgender community has been at the center of the conversation in a way not previously seen. While not perfect, enough progress has been made for the L, G, and B part of the acronym to make room for trans people to be focused on. Many people are ignorant to trans identity and still learning about what it all means.
Whenever something unfamiliar is introduced to people, you get a lot of hate. It's to be expected, because new ideas provoke fear of the unknown. This is where the hatred comes from. However, when it comes to transphobia, the L, G, and B part of the acronym are the last places you would expect it to come from.
Unfortunately, that isn't the way the world works. It's understandable why one would make this assumption. After all, the acronym includes T with the other letters. Gender and sexuality are often discussed in the same conversations. Unconventional expression of one's gender is a running theme in the community. Therefore, while transphobia runs rampant in the community, the closed-mindedness from its members is shocking all the same.
Davey Wavey is a YouTuber who runs a gay erotic website called HimEros. He's been making YouTube videos for many years and I've been a long-time subscriber. Most of his content deals with gay male sexuality, since Davey is a gay man himself. In recent years, his content has become more diverse. He's collaborated with more models of color and has started working with FTM models as well.
FTM stands for female-to-male and it's a common way to refer to a transgender man. Davey recently published a video that I saw pop up in my subscriptions on YouTube. The video featured Davey with Haskell Holland, one of the trans models from his website. In the video, Holland provided tips to cisgender gay men on how to give oral sex to trans men.
After the video, I scrolled down to the comments. This is a regular practice of mine which has become more of a reflex at this point. Many people say comment sections are full of hate. And while I expected some discomfort among Davey's target audience, I still wasn't prepared for the outrage I saw.
The majority of the comments called the video homophobic and insulting to gay men. Some even went so far as to call it a form of conversion therapy. These were apparently written by fellow gay men. Some even said they cancelled their subscription to HimEros, claiming it no longer catered to gay men. People took personal offense and acted as if they were being told to change who they are.
It should be noted that nowhere in the video does Holland or Davey ever say that cis gay men need to have sex with a trans man. Nowhere in the video do either of them say a cis gay man is transphobic if he doesn't want to be with a trans man. This video didn't appear to be built as a requirement for the community, but rather an informative journey for those who were interested.
Yet, people still felt otherwise. I had a hard time understanding their perspective. I can understand how gay men in particular would be sensitive to the issue of others trying to change their sexuality. It caused me to wonder when the line crosses from innocent ignorance to unapologetic hate. After all, gay men aren't the only ones guilty of making these comments. It exists among lesbians (another YouTuber who I used to like, Arielle Scarcella, has made similar comments about trans women), bisexuals, and even heterosexuals.
Seriously, Google "super straight" and give yourself some good laughs.
So are these commenters truly ignorant to trans identity, sexuality, and the intentions behind the video? Or are they hateful transphobic bigots who are just looking for an excuse to unleash their venom on others?
I think the answer might lie somewhere in the middle. As easy as it would be, I don't think the world is that black and white. I think this way of thinking starts with ignorance and it morphs into hatred. This is usually preceded by anger and there was a lot of it in those comments.
Many people were excluding the T from the acronym altogether. Apparently, there's a whole movement looking to remove trans people from the community. They call it the "LGB community."
First of all, sexuality exists on a spectrum for many people. I, personally, feel that I am all the way on the gay end of that spectrum. However, one can still be gay and enjoy sex with trans men. In fact, this a point that Holland himself makes in Davey's video. Yes, the genitalia of a trans man is different from that of a cis man. However, that genitalia is still attached to a man.
For a lot of people, it's not about the genitalia, but who it's attached to.
Let's look at the anus, for instance (not literally). For many gay men, anal sex is a regular act we engage in. Whether it's rimming or penetrative sex, this is something many cis gay men enjoy. This part of the body turns many cis gay men on... when it's attached to a man.
Women also have an anus. They also have anal sex. However, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that gay men wouldn't be turned on by this. Why? Because it's attached to a woman. Yet, the same act with another man would most likely give them an erection.
Again, it's not about the genitalia, but who it's attached to.
Why should it be any different for a gay man to get turned on by a trans man's genitalia? After all, it's attached to a man. As I said, trans identity is something many people are still learning about.
I can't make this point any clearer: trans men are men. Trans women are women. I don't believe the trans community should be othered in such a way. Are there differences between trans people and cis people? Absolutely. However, many people seem to use those differences as a justification for transphobia.
We see it in manifesting itself in many other ways. We see it in the way trans athletes are treated in schools. We see it in dangerous TERF ideology popularized by the likes of J.K. Rowling. We even see it with the horrifying rates of murder among Black trans women every year.
Differences in people shouldn't be an excuse to dish out transphobia. What people should do is attempt to learn about trans identity. Learn about gender dysphoria, watch trans YouTubers, seek out LGBTQ+ support groups in your community. These would all be productive ways to transform that ignorance and hatred into understanding.
Now, this understanding doesn't mean you have to start having sex with trans people. People's sexual leanings are theirs and theirs alone. A person shouldn't attempt to change that and the majority of people aren't trying to. There are a lot of trans people who don't believe genital preferences are transphobic.
This understanding just means you're not judgmental of trans people or those who are attracted to them. It means that you don't tell cis gay men they aren't gay if they like trans men. It means you can watch a video like the one uploaded by Davey Wavey and not feel personally attacked. It means that we can eventually move closer to trans people being treated just like everyone else.
So, while the internet can be a breeding ground for hatred and ignorance, it can also be used for good. In order to gain much-needed understanding, I implore the commenters of Davey's video and those who agree with them to educate themselves. Seek out educational material and be open to receiving that education. Trans people are valid, they aren't going anywhere, and they deserve to be included.