“Is it discriminatory to refuse to date a trans woman?” the BBC has asked, in a piece for the British broadcaster’s ‘Trending’ platform.
The BBC article followed the recent Celebrity Big Brother row — a reality television programme in which minor public figures are filmed 24/7 as they live together in a TV studio — in which U.S. former singer ‘Ginuwine’ turned down a kiss from fellow contestant India Willoughby, a TV journalist who recently “transitioned” from male to female.
Asked by the 51-year-old ITV Border reporter whether he would “go out with a transexual woman”, Ginuwine replied: “I believe it’s your choice… I would choose not to.”
Britain’s public service broadcaster quotes Liadh Timmins, a research associate at King’s College London who objects to being referred to as either ‘him’ or ‘her’, who argues that it is “transphobic” to not want sexual contact with a transgender person.
“Sexual attraction is a response to stimuli – that can be based on any number of things for example waist to hip ratio, certain behaviours, or breast size,” said the psychology researcher, who argued it is possible that transgender individuals who swap gender “very early on” may look “physically identical to a [woman born female] at a surface level”.
Asserting that it is a question of philosophy rather than science, Dr. Timmins said: “So being unwilling to date on the basis of someone being trans, rather than on the basis of individual stimuli is something I would personally call transphobic.”
To present the other side of the debate, the BBC went to Nigerian transgender awareness activist Miss Sahhara, who said Ginuwine’s comments did not seem to be motivated by prejudice as he had looked to be engaged in “a very comfortable conversation with India”, but was tricked into ‘transphobia’ by a biased media.
“I do not want to call it transphobic. When someone is transphobic they don’t sit next to them,” said the UK-based beauty pageant-winner, adding that the singer’s comments were characteristic of “an ignorant person who has not been with a trans woman before”.
“It was more of an ignorance, fed by a media that often depicts trans women in a sensationalized way, with strong bone structure and husky low-baritone voices,” the Nigerian said, blasting a so-called “toxic masculinity” which makes people “violent and rude” about sexual attraction to “trans women”.
Catholic Universe columnist Caroline Farrow, however, said she believes Willoughby’s assertion of womanhood is merely a “license to bully women”, accusing the TV journalist of ‘browbeating’ and ‘intimidating’ anyone neglecting to embrace the ITV presenter as 100 per cent female.
In a piece for the Conservative Woman, Farrow rejected the premise that women should welcome men who identify as women into a virtual “sisterhood”.
If he thinks or says he’s a woman, you have to suck it up, sister. Not only that, but you need to accept that you can no longer use words such as ‘mother’ or refer to breast-feeding and menstruation as being female functions. You must educate your daughters that their feminine duty is compassionate silence and acquiescence when faced with men who want to wear your clothes, buy your eggs, rent your womb or better still have you donate it to them, trample all over your boundaries, and disregard your lived experience.