Each year, Transgender Awareness Week serves as a time of reflection and celebration to raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people to shed light on issues the community faces. This year, TAW takes place November 13 through November 19, culminating with the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Wednesday, November 20 to observe and honor the memory of those whose lives have been lost to anti-trans violence.
Follow along on social media to learn more about what you can do to advocate for the visibility, protection, and human rights of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive people both near to you and around the world.
The road to becoming comfortable in one’s sexuality can be complex. We, as a culture, are taught from a young age that penetrative sex is the end-all, be-all of sex. This could not be farther from the truth. Sexuality includes all forms of sexual intimacy you participate in, the feelings you have towards others, and even the way you feel about yourself.
Embracing one’s authentic sexuality is particularly difficult for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Anyone who lives outside of our heteronormative culture is oftentimes met with shame, uncertainty, and misinformation when it comes to sexuality. It’s time for that to end. This PRIDE, and always, we’re here to support our LGBTQ+ community and share their stories with the world. Our good friend and trans activist, Alexandra Chandra is here to educate us all on Trans pleasure and what it truly means to be your truest, sexual self.
Disclaimer: This article is based on the writer’s personal and lived experiences and is not meant to replace medical advice or care. See footnotes at the bottom for term definitions and explanations.
Words by: Alexandra Chandra (she/her) @iamlexchandra
My sexuality as a transgender woman has been informed by depictions of women in media and in society at large.
Women are by default considered to be receivers, not providers, and oftentimes take on receptive roles in sex. I have been performing that role for so long. Sex and intimacy are sources of anxiety for me as a transgender person because of how present my body feels in that space. Dysphoria has been a part of my life long enough and my relationship with my body dysphoria is complex.
I define gender dysphoria to be the misalignment between how I feel about myself on the inside and how I present on the outside.
Transitioning is a reality for many trans folks and is a dire need for many of us. The journey of my body is never wrong and I have transitioned in the ways *I* needed to - physically, socially, spiritually, and expressively. This has been enough for me. Cisgender and heterosexual pressure on transitioning and transgender bodies makes it difficult for many of us to thrive in our authentic identities.
I define cisgender as relating to a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender bodies are constantly medicalized, cosmeticized, and commodified by our cisgender society. Transgender bodies are also scrutinized to see if we “pass.”
Passing here refers to whether someone is perceived as female, male, or another gender.
I have often fallen for this trap, to dress, talk, and look a way men find appealing to mold my femininity to satiate male pleasure. The patriarchy also fetishizes trans women and leaves us stripped of our heart and soul putting us in constant competition with other women to attain the most desirable body.
As an out and proud transgender woman I think it’s about time we finally abolish the idea that only cisgender men have a penis.
As a trans woman I enjoy topping and being with another woman was the introduction to topping that I needed.
Topping here is defined as the person who penetrates, gives oral sex, or does other sexual acts.
For people with penises, this can mean wanting to be the person penetrating rather than receiving. I never felt comfortable holding both dominance and vulnerability as a top until I could fully understand that through my lesbian identity (penetrating a woman as a transgender woman). I am appreciating my femininity when I top as a lesbian. I'm a strong and supportive woman.
I’m holding my femininity, not suppressing it.
Many transgender women who favor bottoming can still find pleasure in topping. I want my partner to feel good. This type of service-topping can transform an act that is otherwise characterized by anxious refusal into one of mutual pleasure—even if the person topping is motivated more by generosity than by sexual desire. When I top I am showing my partner a part of me that I don’t usually like. Ignoring the vulnerability that comes with topping cements the idea that a receiving partner is passive. When I top, I definitely feel like I'm not only being vulnerable, but even pushing the boundaries of my own comfort enough to finally own and enjoy my Swiss Army Knife pussy, otherwise known as a penis.
Topping and bottoming are bound up in relations of power. That’s why dominant and submissive roles, which are explicitly concerned with intentional exchanges of power, are often conflated with topping and bottoming, respectively. I don’t top because of the power that topping promises, like physical control or interpersonal dominance, but top from a place of deep vulnerability with my partner.
Sex beginning with penetration and ending in ejaculation is a reality for many women and queer folks, cis and trans alike.
*Dysphoria - A feeling of general unease or unhappiness with certain aspects of one’s life or identity. Can include any or all aspects of an individuals identity. Gender dysphoria, specifically, refers to a person whose sex assigned at birth does not match their gender identity.
*Topping - A 'top' is someone who tends to have a more dominant role during sex and intimacy. Oftentimes referred to as a 'giver' or 'dominant.' Topping can exist in both heteronormative and queer relationships.
*Passing - (within the LGBTQ+ community) Seeking or allowing yourself to be identified with a certain sexual orientation, gender, or another social group. Normally brought on by pressure to fit into heteronormative culture.
Happy Pride to our beautiful LGBTQ+ community. We love you.
| Alexandra Chandra (she/her) is a trans writer, editor, content strategist, and public speaker in New York. She is the first trans woman to lead socials for model Munroe Bergdorf and the @Feminst platform on Instagram. She began her career with her own virtual platform, @iamlexchandra, where she brought a daily dose of much-needed realness to the world of social media by sharing vital pieces of information for the transgender and queer communities.
Momotaro Apotheca and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Momotaro Apotheca is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition.