CW: Liberal use of uncensored slurs, mentions and discussion of transmisogynistic violence and murder
If you?re a trans woman, trans femme or just a femme presenting trans or non-binary person who happens to pass very well for cis, chances are you?ve been called or have seen some other trans femme person be called, a trap.
A trap, for those lucky uninitated, is (by definitions that have been given to me by many-a person defending it) a term that popped up in online anime communities in the Anglo speaking world (4Chan especially), that reffers to cis men who are so extremely feminine, that people (usually cishet men who are attracted to them) cannot tell them apart from cis women.
The term is meant to invoke uncomfort for the cishet man who experiences attraction to someone they learn is a man, and comedic to onlookers who find the idea of some unsuspecting dude being unknowingly attracted to someone of the same gender because of gender presentation, to be humorous.
This sort of relationship is undoubtedly homophobic, as there shouldn?t be anything funny or strange about finding someone of the same gender attractive. The humour directly comes from the idea of same-sex attraction being abnormal and worthy of mockery and from the cis man having his masculinity and heterosexuality put into risk and questioned. Him losing face to his fellows is a comedic element.
In recent years as meme culture developed, people began to wear their attraction to ?traps? on their sleeves, no longer really feeling ashamed or disguted of it (barring the unhealthy dynamic this sprang from and the term itself).
In this way, i assume many cis men discovered latent sexual attractions, or simply grew more comfortable with the attraction to the point where they feel their heterosexuality is intact.
This isn?t really anything new. Many cishet men have always found transgender women or crossdressing men appealing. You see it throughout history, and especially well documented in recent times (the popularity of trans porn and trans sex workers for cis men etc;). Cis men in the 60?s and 70?s in the Tenderloin Dicstrict of San Francisco openly engaged trans women there and knowingly sought them out, either for dancing or sex (as many trans women and drag queens in the district were sex workers).
However, this shouldn?t be taken as a justification or that this relationship somehow became healthy in general, as such giving validity to the term.
True, some people may develop more than just a fetishistic attraction to the idea, develop their sexuality to the point where they see trans women as also people who you can date, interact with, fall in love with and not just objects of sexual urges.
But as a fetish this dynamic is still very very much alive and thriving, and constitutes the majority of transgender pornography produced and consumed.
This is one dynamic is what you see present when a transgender woman is reffered to as a trap.
Many cis guys who see a trans woman and think ?trap? either know they?re trans women and are engaging with her in the only way they know how (a disgusting and off-putting one for many), some don?t know and assume it?s a crossdressing cis man (a lot to read into that too) but many know they?re trans women and don?t care and specifically use the term to deny the trans woman her identity.
In this way, ?trap? joined the ranks of ?shemale? and ?tranny? as the go-to slur to reffer to trans women, and all three sharing a dynamic of both being a statement of power and as well as extremely sexual terms, ?shemale? and ?trap? more than ?tranny?, but nonetheless you see ?tranny? used in transgender pornography.
Yet despite all this, many people who hold the term in close regard deny the term is even adjecent to trans women or is even used on trans women at all.
This is usually followed by the caveat that, if it is, it?s either being used incorrectly by a minority of people, or the oversensitive transgender SJW cabal took the term, ignorant of it?s true context and accused the innocent anime fans of transphobia.
The truth is that wheter or not they want to admit it, trans women (trans sex workers ESPECIALLY) are routinely and commonly reffered to as traps, either by men who get off on the fetish or by men who wish to stigmatise and harm trans women by directly implying she will only ever be a man trying to trick cis men into having sex with her.
One of the largest (if not THE largest) trans erotica subreddits on reddit is called /r/traps, and the rules explicitly state that it is a subreddit for trans women to post erotic content along with crosdressing men.
Beyond that, look at the results for ?trap? on sites like PornHub, XHamster, RedTube. Many, many of the people featured in the video are not crossdressing men, but transgender women and various trans femmes.
Some transgender sex workers, actresses and camgirls market themselves using the term exactly BECAUSE they understand that a significant portion of their audience experiences trans women as ?traps? rather than as women, and as such depend upon them as an audience.
The term ?trap? and it?s application to a group of people who never consented to it, hits a chord all-too familiar for many trans women and trans femmes, a pervasive and old cultural idea that contributes to the violence we face day-to-day and dictates many of our interactions.
How and who we date, how we speak, how we present, where we go and when and where we go to the bathroom: the idea that trans women are cis gay men who?s reason for transitioning is to lure unsuspecting cishet men into sex. Thereby ?trapping? them.
The ?trans panic? defense is legal in all but two US states and it is a legal defense where a cishet man can get away with viciously murdering a transgender woman, if he claims that he panicked upon seeing her genitalia during a sexual encounter and felt he was in danger of being raped. The idea there of course is that the transgender woman explicitly lured him with her feminine wiles explicitly to rape him.
Many trans activists and just ordinary trans women sticking up for themselves, argue that a lot of what we consider to be an innate sexual attraction is really a blend of cultural traditions that influence what we?re attracted to, that ultimatley, attractions is ideology.
Unsurprisingly, they?re pilloried by both cis men and TERFs as trying to ?force? people to have sex with them out of shame, and here we see that exact same dynamic played up again.
What prompted me to make this was seeing a response to a twitter leftie talking about much of what i spoke about her, in refference to news of a trans woman who was stabbed a staggering 119 times, about why you shouldn?t call trans women ?traps? because it?s the reason many of us face violence like this.
The response accused them of exploiting a murder for political pointscoring, as according to them, ?trap? has absolutely nothing to do with trans women because ?transphobes don?t see trans women as ?traps?, just as men?.
However this makes no sense within their internal logic here. If we accept their premise that ?traps? aren?t trans women, but feminine cis men, then what is the implication of ?trap? being used to reffer to a trans woman here, if not ?you?re actually a man?? ?Traps? are understood to be male by a large portion of the men engaging with the term.
How many times have we seen this gif, when the topic is about a trans woman:
Transphobic men calling trans women ?traps? are specifically calling them that because they accept the idea that a ?trap? is male. They?re aware of what they?re doing and how they?re using the term and they use it to abuse trans women.
Even the pervasive question ?are traps gay?? is full of implications pointing directly at trans women. This question comes from an internal division, from people who seek to secure their heterosexuality by claiming that ?traps? are so feminine that their genitalia (and by their gender essentialist logic, maleness) doesn?t matter, while the other camp is firmly set in the original idea that a ?trap? will only ever be a man.
Here we see an implicit acceptance that ?femininity? and even the feminine gender is largely performative, and that a feminine cis man is effectivley abandoning his assigned gender. Thereby the person attracted to them has saved his heterosexuality.
This question if often levvied at trans women or posed whenever the topic is a cis passing trans woman by cis men who are either insecure in their sexualities or are trying to unnerve transgender women by perpetuating a negative stereotype.
The fact is, no matter how much they try to say it isn?t related to us, we on the other hand, have to live with the reality where we?re just as likely to be called ?traps? as we are ?trannies?. Where we have to sit and watch ourselves be reffered to as ?traps? in Internet forum after Internet forum and then have asswipes tell us it never happens.
Oh, and if you?re one of those who believes trans women are women but still reffer to us as ?traps, please?