Anonymous asked: So I just found out about this thing called the "Cotton Ceiling" and I'm curious as to your thoughts about it and the people who are pro and con.
I think, as I generally do, that people need to calm the fuck down.
For any of my readers not familiar with the term, the “cotton ceiling” means that some people believe that cisgendered lesbians, as a general class, won’t sleep with transgendered ladies, as a general class. Let me make this clear: any time you start making sweeping generalisations about whole groups of people, you’re treading on thin ice over a pond full of peculiarly cold-immune alligators.
I can only speak from my own experience, here. I know lesbians who would not sleep with trans ladies who were still, well, let’s call it “factory equipped.”* That’s their prerogative, not everyone is obliged to want to sleep with everyone else. On the other hand, I know trans women who’ve had no difficulty attracting cis lesbians. When it comes to formal membership in queer groups, I only sign on to organisations that enthusiastically accept trans people of all types. I have met trans women through said organisations, and have indeed slept with them. That last is not really indicative of anything vis-a-vis the cotton ceiling; I sleep with lots of people. All I’m saying is, I’ve never had any personal experience with the cotton ceiling.
That having been said, I am pretty sure that there are some radical “feminists” who would be as appalled to hook up with a “trap” as any given homophobe (I seeeee you, Janice Raymond). Hint, radical left: any time you start finding yourself on the same side as the radical right, YOUR DOIN IT RONG. See the anti-porn crusades of the 1980s. If you’re sitting next to Phyllis Schafly, get up and leave. More moderate leftists: if you’re sitting next to someone who agrees with Phyllis Schafly, get up and leave.
And, THAT having been said, loneliness and the fear of loneliness is a big issue for trans people. About every trans person I’ve talked to is afraid that people won’t “get” us, that we’ll be ostracised, that we’ll die alone. I don’t think that codifying this fear of rejection in terms of “the cotton ceiling” is gonna help, though. We don’t want the stigma of being too freakish to love, but it’s no good to go stigmatising others. We can’t blame people for not wanting to sleep with us, it’s nobody’s responsibility to have the hots for us. All we can do is try to be good people, be calm, be kind, be active in our communities, and trust that others will accept those as indicators of our true nature, not our physical shape or our chromosome counts. Nothing guarantees we won’t be lonely, but if it’s any help, nothing guarantees that to anyone else, either.
Long story short, as Hedwig said: I don’t think that rejection of trans women is universal in the female-shaped-queer community, I don’t see how anyone could be “pro” cotton ceiling, but I really don’t think that the phrase “cotton ceiling” is helping anyone.
*The terms “pre-op” and “non-op” both make the presumption that The Operation is the be-all and end-all of trans experience.