Thursday, December 10, 2015

First Televised Marriage of a Trans Woman and Why It's Important to our Community

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

Last night on VH1's 'Couples Therapy', reality star and model Carmen Carrera became the first trans person to marry on a major national television show. Carrera, explained in a People magazine article, how important this moment is for all trans people. "This wedding has given us a sense of freedom to be proud of what we have and who we are", she said. "Celebrating our love and what we call our 'modern, modern family', lets us know that we belong here and that we also have a place to raise a family of our own on our terms. We feel truly blessed."

Recently last month, MSNBC TV host, and activist Janet Mock married her long time fiancé, Aaron Tredwell, in a beautiful ceremony in Hawaii. Mock wrote of her new marriage, "Last night, I married the love of my life, my partner, my best friend, near the ocean, under the stars that navigated my ancestors to Hawaii, surrounded by the people we love the most." She has been very outspoken against the shaming of our sisters, and the shaming of the men who date them. She once said of the situation, "I am a trans woman. My sisters are trans women. We are not shameful. We are worthy of respect, desire, and love. As there are many kinds of women, and many men desire many kinds of women, trans women are amongst these women. And let's be clear: Trans women are women."

These recent marriages, are like any other marriage between two people in love, that have made a commitment to walk through life together. Yet, they also make a major impact not only on the general population and their perceptions of trans people, but for trans people themselves. This year we have lost 271 trans people, and more shockingly; a trans person has been sexually assaulted or murdered every 31 hours world wide. Most, but not all, have been transgender women; and of those women, a majority have been women of color (African and Latin descent). Why then, do these public proclamations of love mean so much for our community?

Women in general throughout history, whether cis or trans, have had their value tied dependent upon a man. For centuries women were often viewed as property or assets. For many years, a woman who lived her life without a husband or children were viewed as old maids, or worse. A woman that was sexually promiscuous, without a husband, was often viewed as a whore. Cis women have had millenniums being groomed to be worthy for marriage, and increasing a family's influence, or wealth. Typically a young woman in the Victorian era would be educated on everything, excluding sex, to please a man. She was expected to be a good house wife, take care of the finances, and raise the children. She was also expected to be a virgin.

Those women who weren't virgins were called whores. Over time this distinction between women who were raised chaste, vs. the woman that gave into sexual impulses, lead to what is called in psychoanalytical literature, as the 'Madonna-Whore Complex'. First identified by Sigmund Freud  under the rubric psychic impotence , this psychological complex is said to develop in men who either see women as the saintly Madonna or as debased prostitutes. Men with this complex desire a sexual partner who they believe is used to being degraded like a whore, thus they cannot desire a respected partner like the Madonna.

So how does this affect transgender women? Obviously society's standard on women for centuries, period, has played a role. Through our media, and it's belief that sex sells, has contributed to this complex. These are the women that men are programmed to fantasize about, and desire on the most basic, animalistic nature. A woman that dares express her sexuality, and dares spark the interest of a man, whether wanted or not, is often labeled a whore. Even we women have sometimes given in to the hype by belittling and berating other women that are secure in their sexuality.

For far too long trans women have been pushed, by no fault of their own, by the stigma, and bigotry of society to earn a living in prostitution. Because of this view of us, men who have desired trans
women have for decades only seen us as a sexual fantasy. Placing us in the whore category, and never the chaste homemaker you'd like raising your children. She also wouldn't be seen as someone to take home and meet the family. Despite every trans woman on Earth being able to easily testify of the countless propositions they receive from cis men on a daily basis, men who are genuinely interested in relationships and marriage to trans women are often shamed. These men are ridiculed just as often as the women themselves, and made to feel that it is some rare, unnatural attraction to love a trans woman. Not only would a man be teased by fellow men for wanting to marry 'the whore', but given the added stigma, and bigotry of being trans itself, he could totally be ostracized by family, friends, and co-workers.

This great shame that society has perpetrated against the trans feminine, has roots in all the murders of transgender women across the globe. It is why rappers like Tyga, with known trans lovers, are often ridiculed and made fun of in magazines. It's the root cause why certain cis-men may feel it's ok to approach trans women in sexually disrespectful ways. It is why so many trans women are alone without a cis partner of the opposite sex. It is behind this sad reason we even have to proclaim that 'Trans Lives Matter'. Our society has such a degrading view of trans people. Outside of not knowing what it means to be transgender, and their bigotry towards trans people in general, it's the cis ideal of the hypersexualized trans woman that leads to such disrespect for trans women's lives.

It is why these moments are as precious as gold, not only to trans women, but to all trans people. People need to see that we are capable, and worthy of love. It is vital that every trans person knows that they themselves are worthy of love. It gives hope to the countless trans people who are longing, not just for the sake of love, but to one day have that special someone to walk through life together, just as any human being would desire.

We as a community celebrate Carmen Carrera as she becomes Mrs. Adrian Torres, after the couple being together for several years. The couple had been separated, then joined the cast of season six of VH1's 'Couples Therapy'. They wed on the season finale, which airs December 9th, 2015. Carmen said of her husband, "Adrian has been there for me through so many important moments in my life and our loves has forever kept us together. We realize we are so lucky to have found one another. He has shown me that unconditional love transcends gender and other exterior appearance."

These marriages show overwhelmingly that trans people are worthy of love. It also sends a clear signal to the countless cis-gender men and women that they can openly, and honestly, love without fear.

Below is a clip of a scene from last night episode. OR watch the series without having VH1 Here Free.


          A Pictorial Celebration of Transgender Relationships

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