If you follow beauty vlogger Nikita Dragun, you know that she’s transgender and proud of it. Recently, she shared a personal story on her YouTube channel about an unfortunate incident which happened over a year ago. I know what you’re thinking: Why now? Nikita revealed she did not speak about before because she thought she could move on from the incident. But now, she said a year has passed, and she found that she still had to deal with the repercussions of that one crazy night.
Basically, she was attending a party at a rapper’s mansion with a friend, who’s also a trans woman, when all of a sudden, a guy kicks them out and humiliates them, saying they don’t belong there—only to find out it was all a ploy to get them out of there so the rapper, who was actually into trans women, can check them out in secret. And when I say check out, I mean, they—her friend, specifically—was literally felt up by a bodyguard and asked offensive questions like “Is your ass real?” And after that, given specific
instructions commands to meet up secretly. You can watch Nikita’s full story below.
Sadly, a lot of transgender women are familiar with this type of story. Being fetishized is something they have had to deal with regularly. Is fetishizing okay? We acknowledge other people have their own kinks and fetishes, and they might be kept on the down-low, but ultimately, they’re accepted. But fetishisizing trans women is entirely another story. It’s wrong because, as Huffington Post stressed, for so long, the trans community have fought for their identity and recognition as human beings equal to everyone else, but being fetishized reduces them to nothing more than a “thing” desired merely for sexual pleasure. “Those who fetishize transgender bodies are participating in a culture of transphobia that deems [their] bodies as important solely when they’re sexualized.”
Huffington Post also makes a point in saying “When cisgender male celebrities like rapper Tyga and NFL player Hank Baskett have been “caught” with trans people, it’s been treated as a “scandal,” with the media and public assuming it must be because they have a “thing” for trans bodies.” For instance, in the aftermath of the Tyga “scandal,” Mia Isabella, the trans woman whom he allegedly had a three-year relationship with, said: “It’s very sad that the idea of a man loving a trans person has to be considered a scandal when all people are equal.” Adding that “If a celebrated man loves a transgender woman or possibly did—that’s news? It shouldn’t be news, it should be normal for anyone and everyone to be allowed to love who they choose.” Following this scandal, transgender activist Janet Mock told Advocate that the public shaming in which the affair was treated made trans women “who are kept in the dark, made to feel they are unworthy of love and acknowledgement; who are made to feel as if they are only deserving of ridicule and violence.”
Indeed, this kind of relationship is generally treated as something sick or sinister by society. Eva Reign of them wrote: “Many straight cisgender men struggle with their attraction to trans women and nonbinary femmes, so their relationships with us often happen behind closed doors.” This then results to the sad fetishization of the trans community. “Cis men’s curiosity for transfeminine bodies subjects trans women to intense objectification. Instead of becoming a significant other, trans women are treated as cis men’s easily dispensable toys,” Eva noted.
In a series of interviews by the outlet, other trans women shared their experience of being fetishized. One university student revealed, “It sucks because it feels like all of the attraction they had for me somehow just gets blurred by this one thing. I feel like they mostly relate my body to theirs, and how they get pleasure—not thinking that I could experience pleasure in so many other ways—which ultimately makes me dysphoric.” Another shared,”It’s frustrating to feel that my only role in the lives of men is to fulfill their sexual fantasy when I have needs and desires of my own.”
Moreover, another affirms this, while relating the dangers of rejecting men’s sexual advances. “They were ‘curious’ about what it was like to be with a trans girl. Any trans girl. I felt more like a circus freak than a person. And when I expressed that I wasn’t interested in being someone’s experiment, men would get really aggressive and violent.”
This is especially alarming. We have established the state of discrimination and violence with impunity transgenders are subjected to. Them noted, “Whether catcalled on the street, approached in the club, or pursued on a dating app, trans women are immediately presented with cis men wanting sexual favors. When their requests are denied, these disgruntled men’s requests transform into life-threatening demands.”
This was also something Nikita mentioned in her video. “As a trans person, I am extra precautious in everyday life,” she admits. “Things that trans girls have to go through is so next level and so wild. Imagine being a girl and on top of that going through trans issues. What if someone clocks me and attacks me just because I’m a transgender?” But she asserts that while she’s aware of the dangers, “At the same time, I don’t want to live my life in fear. I think that I should have an amazing life just as any other person and live crazy as any other person.”
We agree—of course, she deserves to live her life the way she wants to—just like any of us do. But sadly, until we stop treating trans men and women as “things” instead of our equals, I guarantee this won’t be the last horror story we’d hear from Nikita, Mia, and other trans people.
Art by Marian Hukom
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